Speakers at a seminar here have emphasised the importance of improving the human rights condition in the country’s marine fisheries sector as its contribution towards poverty eradication and food security is remarkable.
Ocean provides critical ecosystem services and nutrition, and support human wellbeing and livelihoods, employment and economic growth, they said at the concluding session of a two-day multi-stakeholder seminar that ended on Monday.
The seminar titled ‘The contribution of human rights to the sustainable development of coastal fisheries and poverty alleviation in Bangladesh’ was organised marking the launching of a 30-month research project, supported by the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
The project, to be jointly implemented by Manusher Jonno Foundation, Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies and COAST Trust, aims to develop good practices, tools and guidance to identify, address and monitor the human rights implications and impacts of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Bangladesh.
The project will also focus on responsible business and human rights, particularly in relation to Sustainable Development Goal 14 on Oceans.
Chaired by MJF executive director Shaheen Anam, the concluding session was addressed, among others, by full-time member of Bangladesh Human Rights Commission Nazrul Islam, director (marine) of marine fisheries office, Chattogram AKM Aminul Haque and professor of Chittagong University’s Institute of Marine Science Hossain Zamal.
‘Effective collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, including the government and non-government organisations, should be ensured to improve human rights and good governance situations for Bangladesh fisher communities,’ said Nazrul Islam.
Drawing attention to the widespread violations of women rights in the fisheries sector, Shaheen Anam urged for immediate introduction of human rights-based approaches in the sector to alleviate the sufferings of the community.
Earlier at the inaugural session on Sunday, DIHR senior advisor Sille Stidsen highlighted global perspectives on sustainable oceans.
The Bay of Bengal of Bangladesh is blessed with rich coastal and marine ecosystems and the recent solutions to longstanding maritime boundary disputes have paved the way for Bangladesh towards adopting ocean and water resource centric approaches towards pursuing economic development, she said.
Another DIHR senior advisor Tulika Bansal unpacked the concept of sector-wise impact assessment approach which will be applied in Bangladesh’s research project.
Participants from the fisher community and Fishing Boat Owners’ Associations from Cox’s Bazar and Barguna, including NGOs and CSOs, identified a number of challenges in the areas of livelihood, safety and security, labour rights, environmental and climate change, governance and trade, according to a media release.
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