National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh and Bandhu Social Welfare Society jointly organized a consultation meeting titled ‘Draft Anti- Discrimination Act and Way Forward’ on 5th December 2016.  A total of 67 participants attended from different organizations, lawyers, judges, journalists, human rights activists and community representatives. Participants actively contributed and shared their experiences on the discussion topics.

WU_01_Consultation meeting...lawThe overall objective of this consultation was to share the draft law among the participants and formulate the strategies in fostering the process of enactment. National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh and Law Commission came up with an umbrella draft law titled ‘Anti-Discrimination Act’ where different organization (i.e Nagorik Uddyog, Manusher Jonno Foundation, BLAST, Bandhu and other civil society organizations) worked closely with a view to protect the rights of most marginalized community in the country. The draft law was shared for further recommendations and submitted to the law ministry in 2014. Since then a series of consultations took place and recommendations from these consultations were sent to the law ministry for necessary consideration. Bandhu Social Welfare Society has actively participated in all the consultations and experienced a dire need for this law to protect the rights of third gender. The Government recognition of ‘Hijra’ as third gender in 2013 has unveiled a new horizon for this community but unfortunately this community remains excluded and vulnerable to enjoy their basic rights. Therefore specific legal protection for this community becomes very essential.

Mr. Md. Nazrul Islam, Full time member of National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh, Mr. Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh, Kazi Reazul Haque, Honorable Chairman, National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh graced the event. In addition, prominent lawyers, academicians and journalists also made their remarks on needs for specific laws for this marginalized community and also stressed on implementation of the laws properly.

Agreed action items for follow up:

  • Immediate enactment and implementation of Anti Discrimination Law should be ensured
  • Conflict between personal law and draft Anti-Discrimination should be resolved
  • Enhance the capacities of NHRC by amending NHRC Act 2009 in expanding investigation power
  • Investigation related to discrimination cases should be made by NHRC
  • Make a ‘Schedule’ describing the areas of investigation
  • Investigation process under Anti-Corruption Commission can be followed where investigation is done solely by the Commission and then send the report to the magistrate
  • Establish Anti-discrimination Court in every district
  • Rules should be made immediately after enactment of the Act in order to ensure proper implementation of the law
  • Awareness program should be launched particularly among the beneficiaries on the Act including transgender and other excluded minorities