Bandhu Social Welfare Society (Bandhu), with the active involvement of UN agencies in Bangladesh particularly UNHCR, UNFPA and UN Women has formed a Working Group (WG) to mobilize, strengthen and align the humanitarian initiatives for Rohingya and affected host communities of Cox’s Bazar region. The Working Group is comprised of 15 members from different UN agencies, national and international NGOs, community and CSO/CBO representatives with diverse expertise, intellect and experience to efficiently provide technical inputs and guidance.
The purpose of forming this WG is to create safer spaces for evidence-based advocacy drives for addressing the structural discrimination and gender-based violence against the gender diverse population and also to facilitate their access to justice.
His Excellency Mr. Jeremy Bruer, High Commissioner of Australia to Bangladesh, formally inaugurated the Working Group on 10 August 2020 in an online conference. In his speech as the Chief Guest, Mr. Bruer said that Australia had long advocated for equal human rights, and an end to violence and discrimination against sex and gender diverse people. Mr. Bruer also said that Australia worked through bilateral and multilateral channels, including the Human Rights Council and other United Nations mechanisms. In its humanitarian programming, Australia prioritised protection and gender mainstreaming including people of diverse and sexual and gender minorities. Mr. Bruer thanked Bandhu for their contribution to improving the lives of the gender diverse population of Bangladesh.
Ms. Asa Torkelsson, the Country Representative of UNFPA Bangladesh, Mr. Steven Corliss, the Country Representative of UNHCR Bangladesh, Mr. Derrick Brown, Mission Director of USAID Bangladesh and Ms. Marie Sophie on behalf of Ms. Shoko Ishikawa, the Country Representative of UNWOMEN Bangladesh also spoke on the occasion.