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Friday 16 December 2011

Launch social movement to end disparity

Launch social movement to end disparity
Speakers urge HR activists
Human rights activists yesterday called for a greater social movement to end all forms of discrimination and disparity that are creating a bottleneck towards establishing human rights.
Human rights violations continue to occur everywhere to date though the Universal Human Rights Declaration, adapted over 60 years ago, makes it obligatory for United Nations member states to ensure equal opportunities for all, they said.
The rights defenders must unite to end all discriminatory policies and practices, they said at the inaugural of a three-day human rights fair which began on the playground of Mohsin Hall of Dhaka University yesterday.
The fair was organised by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) with support from UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka.
Non-government organisations (NGO) working at grassroots and activists from home and abroad are attending the fair.
On the sidelines of the fair, an international conference on Dalit rights would be held at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban today and tomorrow.
Yesterday, MJF presented awards to 10 individuals for their contribution to promoting human rights.
The awardees are Arifa Begum of Kishoreganj, Sultana Shamimara Begum of Gaibandha, Shamsul Alam of Rajshahi, Rekha Parveen of Narail, Santoshito Chakma of Khagrachhari, Mariam Akhter, ASM Jahangir Alam Sabuj and Tazul Islam of Netrakona, Kalpana Begum of Kurigram and Nasima Akhtar of Faridpur.
Speaking at the inaugural programme, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said, “Our independence which was achieved 40 years ago is a milestone in establishing human rights but unfortunately we are yet to ensure the basic rights to date.”
Around fifty percent of Bangladesh's population is still illiterate while poverty and inequality remain a major concern, he said. “Education for all is a must for an equitable society. We are trying to ensure it.”
Lauding the role of individuals and NGOs in defending and promoting human rights, DFID Country Director Gwen Hines said awarding the unsung heroes will encourage them to put in more effort.
“We will never end global poverty until we begin to challenge inequality and discrimination. We must give men and women, girls and boys the same opportunities to flourish,” he said.
Norwegian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ragne Birte Lund, said the role of human rights defenders is crucial for a peaceful world.
The UN General Assembly this year unanimously adopted a draft resolution put forward by Norway on strengthening the protection of human rights defenders all over the world, she said.
Calling upon Dalits to unite and work against all forms of discrimination, a human rights activist of India, VA Ramesh Nathan, said division among the 160 million Dalits in India barred them from forming a separate nation.
Saluting the human rights defenders, MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam said these people work in silence to promote humanity. “One should never face discrimination because of his or her birth in a certain community. We condemn it.”
The awardees said they faced a lot of barriers and threats while working to defend people who had no voice to protest oppression but the recognition they received would inspire them to work more.
Nepalese lawmaker Sita Devi Baudel also spoke at the programme.

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