Thursday, December 17, 2009

GHRD’s partners in South Asia observe International Human Rights Day

On 10 December 2009, GHRD’s partners in South Asia organised different events to observe the International Human Rights Day under the theme of Empowerment and Civil Participation of Women and/or Children, with the aim to enhance civil society participation to empower and strengthen the identity and self-image of marginalised women in society. The activities of the partners are documented below reflecting the success of their actions and commitment in the field.
Bangladesh I. BIHR, BRCT and NHRDA
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), and Naogaon Human Rights Development Association (NHRDA), with the support of Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) celebrated International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2009, all around the country. As part of the celebrations they organised different activities in two districts, Dhaka and Naogaon. In Dhaka there was a human chain with more than 200 people from different professional backgrounds, such as NGO leaders & activists, students from different institutions, lawyers, and journalists, in front of the High Court in the Supreme Court.
They also organised a rally from the High Court of Bangladesh Supreme Court to the Dhaka Reporters Unity. Other activities included a discussion meeting on the United Nation’s theme: “ Embrace diversity and end discrimination” chaired by Mr. Shahanur Islam, Programme Manager for Legal & Human Rights of BIHR. In the afternoon a street drama was organised by the Dhaka University Natto Beth in front of Shaheed Minar. In Naogaon they held similar activities such as a human chain followed by a rally in front of Shaheed Minar. More than fifty people including women took part in the events.
II. Bangladesh Minority Watch
International Human Rights Day 2009 was observed on 10 December in Bangladesh with the collaboration of Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) and Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW). A seminar was organised with more than 200 participants where victims of violence, forceful conversion and those whose lands have been taken from them, presented their cases.
After the seminar, a huge rally consisting of two hundred participants wearing T Shirts and head-bandana’s with GHRD’s logo, marched through the streets from the venue to the Press Club of Narayanganj. Leaders from various organisations from different parts of the country took part in the seminar and rally. The events gained widespread publicity and media attention. Different local daily newspapers of Narayanganj and Dhaka-Bangladesh covered the events. After the events, BDMW also used the opportunity to distribute food to destitute women and children and to create awareness of their human rights.
III. Parittran
Parittran organised a rally, human chain and a Dalit conference on the occasion of the observation of the International Human Rights Day 2009, at the Satkhira Shilpokala Academy supported by Global Human Rights Defence, The Netherlands. After the rally, the Dalit people formed a human chain demanding consideration and respect for their rights from the Bangladesh government, local authorities, administration and policy makers.
Approximately 500 people took part in the event which included the socially excluded, Dalit communities, marginalised people (women, men and children), civil society members, and media representatives. The afternoon program included a Dalit Conference at Shilpokala Academy Auditorium, chaired by the President of the Bangladesh Dalit Parishad of Satkhira District. The day closed with an interactive popular folk song and interactive drama on the issue of caste discrimination and its implications for the Dalits performed by the Parittran Theatre team. The objective was to raise awareness on the situation of the Dalits.
India I. Jabala Action Research Organisation
Jabala Action Research Organisation observed the International Human Rights Day with support from GHRD, in The Netherlands, at Hariharpara block of Murshidabad district which is infamous for its high rates of child marriages and trafficking. The objective of the programme was to raise community awareness on trafficking of young girls and child marriages
The events included a rally by adolescent girls and survivors, a street performance on the issue of child marriage and its consequences as well as a poster exhibition. The turn out was very impressive. More than 185 girls took part in the rally covering a distance of nearly 3 kilometres. The street performance was watched by a crowd of more than 150 people, and a few hundred visited the poster exhibition. The programme lasted for about six hours.
II. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Sevabhavi Sanstha
The objective of the activities were to raise awareness on human rights, violence against women as a human rights issue, familiarising women with the Domestic Violence Act 2005 and how to get support, legal organisations, shelter, and women’s empowerment in Latur District. The event was attended by four district judges and more than 85 women. The judges discussed and gave valuable information to the participants on the Domestic Violence Act 2005. The event gained also widespread media attention.
III. Anupma Education Society, Satana & RAHI MP Chhatarpur
Anupma Education Society, Satana & RAHI MP Chhatarpur organised a campaign against the practice of Domestic (Girl) Child Labour and Child Marriage in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, and on actions against trafficking of girls for domestic work or for child marriages. The aim of this program was to increase pressure on the government and to make efforts to protect the human rights of these minor girls in the state as well as in the country. It was a protest against discrimination of girls from Dalit communities, different tribes and the poor.
More than 85 people participated in the program. The girls who took part in the programme, formed a ‘Bal Panchayat (Children’s Assembly)’ aiming to create a platform that will ensure their participation in social change.
Nepal I. PPR Nepal and Maiti Nepal
PPR Nepal and Maiti Nepal organised a street drama with the aim to raise awareness on issues of human trafficking, gender violence and sensitise the public on these issues to obtain their support. The activities included a street drama in the high risk areas of Nepal, door-to-door programmes, distributing IEC materials, and awareness raising through songs and slogans.
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