The failure in ensuring women’s rights put into question the remarkable economic development of Bangladesh, women rights activists said on Thursday.
Speaking at the 49th foundation anniversary celebration of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, they said though country’s top positions including of prime minister, speaker and opposition leader are held by women, the state could not yet create a ‘conducive environment’ for ensuring women’s rights.
Mahila Parishad, established on 4 April 1970, celebrated its foundation anniversary at capital’s CIRDAP campus in the afternoon with raising national flag, singing national anthem and releasing clourful balloons in the air.
National Professor Anisuzzaman inaugurated the celebration.
Later, rights activist Sultana Kamal, professor Mizanur Rahman, professor Sadeka Halim, forensic expert Muzaherul Huq, rights activists Chanchana Chakma, Banani Biswas, lawyer Rana Dasgupta, among others, spoke in an exchange of views on the occasion at the CIRDAP auditorium.
Mahila Parishad president Ayesha Khanam chaired the discussion.
She said Bangladesh has achieved Himalaya-like economic growth but still we have to ask why the women’s rights are not ensured.
‘Still, why do we have to discuss women and girls being repressed, tortured and raped? Women are yet to get their rights, dignity and security of life,’ Ayesha resented.
Anisuzzaman said everyone from their personal, family and social positions must work in order to change the situation. He called for implementation of a uniform family law to ensure women’s equal right to property.
Sultana Kamal regretted that while the nation’s constitution confirms equal rights for women in public life, it does not guarantee their equal rights in the family life. She, too, called for implementing a uniform family code to ensure women’s equal rights to property.
‘Everyone keeps mum when they are asked about their position about equal rights to property of women family members,’ she said.
Sadeka Halim wondered when a conducive environment would be created for ensuring rights to women. ‘When we have a woman prime minister, a woman speaker and a woman opposition leader we are yet to have a conducive environment for women ,’ she said.
Women rights leader Chanchana Chakma from the hill tracts region said the life of women in the hills is more insecure. ‘Women in the country are insecure but women in the hills are more insecure,’ she said.
Dalit rights leader Banani Biswas urged the leaders of three organisations – Mahila Parishad, Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad and Puja Udjapan Parishad – to unite to ensure Hindu women’s rights to property.
Muzaherul Huq said Bangladesh doesn’t have a medico-legal authority to deal with the sexual abuse cases.
He said officials of four ministries – home, health, law and women affairs – are responsible for dealing with sexual abuse cases but the ministries lack coordination in collecting evidence, investigation and justice.
He also proposed for forming a national team and training the team members with forensic technology to deal with criminal cases, especially of rape and murder of women.
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