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Linking Young Minds Together
 Volume 5 | Issue 33 | August 21, 2011 |


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Know your Rights

Shushmita Ahmed

Since the days of the Liberation War in 1971, Bangladeshi youth has been playing a significant role in our country. History says that when the youth is united, revolutions can take place. To unite themselves, they ought to know corret information. Knowing the right thing, at the right time, can open up doors in the most difficult circumstances. Right to information became an important tool to ensure human rights worldwide which also convinced the Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh to enact “Right to Information Act, 2009”.

With the hope to find a way to ensure proper execution of Right to Information (RTI), Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) inspired civil society group Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCCs), Chittagong Metropolitan, organised a capacity building workshop on the implementation of Right to Information Act, 2009 at the NGO Forum Training Center, Chadgao, Chittagong on August 10-11, 2011.

Photo: Shushmita Ahmed

This two day long event focused on the background, importance and issues relevant to the Right to Information Act, 2009. Participants were trained for the procedures and formats to file an RTI application, as well as filing an appeal to the higher authorities and the Information Commission. Selected 25 YES members of Chittagong Metropolitan, Chokoria, Potia, Khagrachori, Rangamati CCCs attended the workshop. The programme saw the presence of Advocate Akhtar Kabir Chowdhury, Convener, CCCs, Chittagong Metropolitan, while the facilitators were TIB officials Riaz Uddin Khan, Senior Programme Manager, Civic Engagement; Uzzal Bhattacharjee, Programme Manager, Civic Engagement and Gita Adhikari, Programme Manager.

Being a special facilitator, Anushka Pandey, TIB official from India, shared her experience regarding RTI Act in her country and discussed the present status of this Act. According to her, awareness among mass people is mandatory. Relating an incident, she shared how a professor in India filed an RTI application to get the information relating to the ratio of caste of the students admitted in the university. It was revealed that only higher castes like Brahmin and Khatrio get priority in case of admissions in universities. After the disclosure, the authority had to face consequences for supporting such an act of discrimination. She concluded by saying that a single piece of information can go a long way to protecting human rights.

The programme reached the closing stage with the ambition to transform thoughts into accomplishment by proper and effective implementation of Right to Information Act, 2009. It is the only tool which can make the government accountable and responsible, which is why proper understanding of this Act is essential.

(The writer is a student of Law, University of Chittagong and a YES member, Chittagong Metropolitan, CCCs, TIB.)


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