Combat violence against women
Economic empowerment of women can raise the voice of women which is highly essential to combat violence against women, said NHRC chief Dr. Mizanur Rahman while addressing as a chief guest in a day long national advocacy meeting on Combating violence against women organised by Odhikar.
Participants of the meeting include Human rights defenders, lawyers, Judges academician, Journalist and students who are engaged in community based work.
Dr. Rahman underscored the role of Human rights defender to break the silence and raise the voice of people against violation. Law enforcing agencies are very much reluctant to take the women's right issue into light which is tantamount to denial of justice, he added.
Saira Rahman Khan, who presented the keynote paper, echoed and said that the law enforcement agencies did not give 'enough importance' to most of the violence against women which leads to the conclusion of committing violence.
During the last forty years of development interventions and women's movement to achieve equal rights, the result has been merely fighting against different forms of violence that are emerging one after the other in different forms and magnitude, observed by rights activist Farida Akhter.
Women and men must resist violence of all forms as they are socially constructed. We argued not to remain silent against interpersonal or domestic violence, but argued to remain critically aware of how we are blinded from the systematic violence of capitalist patriarchy, she added.
Ms. Anneli Lindahl Kenny, Swedish ambassador in Dhaka noted that inequality between men and women is one of the reason of violence against women, though gender equality is treated as a tool of development globally.
Women rights issue should focus on women development policy to combat violence against women but unfortunately state has failed to do this to a large extent, she went on to say.
Ms. Ullah Anttila, executive Director, The Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights ( KIOS) gave an overview about the rights of women in Finland and said that effective implementation of laws relating to women is not up to the mark as in case of Bangladesh.
The National Press Club general secretary, Syed Abdal Ahmed, said that in the past year, 6,000 incidents of violence against women took place and more than 900 such incidents took place in the past three months.
The Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association vice-president, Fahima Nasrin Munni, called on the government to implement laws rather than enacting laws to protect women.
Speakers made several recommendations such as establishment of separate investigation agencies rather than appointment of officers-in-charge as investigation officers, enactment of a victim and witness protection act, mandatory provisions for physicians to immediately issue medical certificates, the time limit for completion of cases of violence against women and taking effective action to prevent corruption in criminal justice system.
The writer is working with Law Desk, The Daily Star.