Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BRCT & BIHR celebrates the International Women’s Day in Dhaka

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for trauma Victims (BRCT), supported by Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD), Netherlands celebrates the International Women’s Day 2010 in Dhaka. As the part of the celebration of this day it has organized a Human Chain followed by the Rally, Workshop on Health and Human Rights for Adibashi (indigenous) student and street drama “ Hanan”on the theme of equal rights; equal opportunity: progress for all to raise even more awareness about rights and opportunity for the women and to show support to those women who are breaking ground in the roles that women have in Bangladeshi society. The Human Chain and Rally took place in front of the National Press Club around at 9.00 am, the organization and more than two hundred people of different ethnic, religious, race, profession, sex, institution, age who are  its supporters assembled on one of the busiest streets in Dhaka. By doing this much attention was given to the cause and our banner was seen by more than fifty thousands of people passing by. In addition to this many photographers and other electronic and print media journalists were exposed to our cause since it was right outside of the national press club. In addition to the journalists of electronic media taking pictures and asking questions to group members, the police also took notice to our presence and had made sure that we had all the proper permissions and approvals to hold such a human chain & rally. After the group got big enough we marched down the street and blocked traffic on several roads to raise even more awareness about our cause and bring the message to the people of the Dhaka. during the Human Chain Ms. Mahfuza akram Chowdhury, Executive director of BRCT delivered her speech mentioning March 8th, 2010 is International Women’s Rights Day, sanctioned by the UN in order to raise awareness about the struggles of women around the world. In Bangladesh in particular women are just starting to exercise their rights to the fullest extent. It is becoming more common to see women in the workplace and most importantly women are seeking positions, which, have been seen traditionally as being male professions. adv. Shahanur Islam, Executive Director of BIHR also delever his speech stating that women are making in Bangladeshi society, and while this progress may seem lackluster to the western world, in Bangladesh having a female pilot or a female driver shatters the norm of this relatively conservative society. In this way women are becoming a valuable part of the labor force and are transcending their traditional roles in society.

Upon returning to the BIHR headquarters snacks were provided and a workshop was held around at 11.00 am to 1.00 pm. The workshop was mediated by Dustin Skelley, Student of Public health of Winnona University, Minosota in USA and the intern of  interns of BIHR /BRCT and the a presentation on Human Rights and Health was given by Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Executive Director of BIHR. Those who participated in the human chain & rally attended the workshop. The workshop covered several different topics but focused on the rights of women and children, the workshop was well received and very interactive. Several of the participants created group working and discussions by asking questions, by making their own comments and by sharing their own personal experiences. After the workshop lunch was given to the participants.


Following lunch around 2.30 to 4.00pm another session was held on BIHR fact-finding of the case of rape and abduction of minority girl in Bangladesh by Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot, Executive director of BIHR, and an explanation of the fact-finding process and goals was given. Later a national network has been build up with the minority community people.  The participants found this very interesting and were glad to receive some additional educational materials that were published by BIHR and its partner organizations BRCT. After the session the participants were thanked for their interest as was the staff at BIHR and BRCT for organizing such an event, and the staff at GHRD for helping fund the human chain, rally and workshop.

In the evening a street drama was held by NattoBeth at Raju Memorial Monument beside the Teacher and Student Centre (TSC) of University of Dhaka around at 5.15 pm to 6.00pm.; the event started off with a small crowd. Halfway through the drama more than five hundred people from different ethnic, religious, race, profession, sex, institution, age  had gathered to watch the skill of the actors. There was a troupe of about 10 actors who had given a drama about the difficulties that women face in Bangladeshi society. The drama highlighted the discrimination that women face in their home lives, in the workplace, and from various religious leaders as well as the various barriers they face in educational institutions. The drama ended up being a huge success, and it was a very effective way to communicate the pressures that women face in society and entertain people at the same time.

Overall the program implemented by BRCT was a huge success, media was present, and most importantly the people were present. By having events like this we continue to raise awareness about the rights of people and challenge the norms of society to make it a more fair and just place for all.
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