untitledBandhu Social Welfare Society awards the local level human rights workers who work for protecting the human rights of hijra population throughout the country. This year, ten human rights defenders were awarded in a befittingly arranged award ceremony with the financial support of USAID-Bangladesh in Seagull Restaurant, Dhaka on 13 July 2016. Each of the awardees has received a crest and prize money. In the occasion, the result of a survey conducted on socio-economic status of hijra population was also presented.

The award ceremony was started through inauguration speech of the Executive Director of Bandhu Mr. Shale Ahmed. In his speech, he thanked all invitees, stated about the objective of the ceremony and briefly mentioned the functions of Bandhu. As special guests, Mr. Abdur Razzak Hawlader, Deputy Director of Social Welfare Department as well as Director of Hijra Project, and Mr. Md. Golam Azad Khan, Additional Police Super, Dhaka were presented. The Chairman of Bandhu Social Welfare Society, Mr. Anisul Islam Hero has presided over the ceremony. The invitees of the ceremony were from different stakeholder level including NGO, legal and human rights related organizations, print media, academician, corporate sector, watchdog members and drop-in center managers of Bandhu.

Mr. Abdur Razzak Hawlader stated in his speech, ‘Sexual identity, color, height etc. could not be considered when we treat a person; rather his/her education status, intellectuality etc. should be given priority. We have to treat hijra population in that way too’. Police Super Mr. Md. Golam Azad Khan said, ‘The Government of Bangladesh acknowledged the hijra population as third gender on 11 November 2013. They have every right to enjoy all the rights and entitlement according to the constitutional declaration of Bangladesh’. Mr. Anisul Islam Hero said, ‘Unfortunately, yet we could not spread the light of education among the hijra population. We have long way ahead to go. If we could provide education and ensure all other rights and opportunities for them, they will grow as ideal citizen of the country as we already have many examples’.