Marginalised population face harassments in availing govt services: TIB
Marginalised people in the country are facing discriminatory attitudes in many cases while seeking government services and benefits, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said in a study today.
The study titled "Access of Marginalised Communities to Public Services: An Assessment of Accountability Mechanisms", released during a webinar today, said the negative mentality of local public representatives and a section of government officials also act as obstacles for the marginalised to avail different government services.
However, non-government organisations (NGOs) play a positive role in responding to the needs of marginalised people.
The main objective of the study was to assess the state of access to, and exercise of the existing institutional accountability system by the marginalised people in receiving various public services.
The data collection of the study was completed between October 2020 and September 2021.
Bangladesh is home to at least 30 million marginalised people based on religious identity, ethnicity, occupation, and different trait-based identity.
While focusing on the study, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said children of marginalised people face discriminatory attitudes in educational institutions.
Such mentality by the teachers gives institutionalisation of discriminatory behaviour towards the marginalised, he said.
The research has found that allegations of discriminatory behaviour by "mainstream" classmates and teachers in schools have not been resolved either. Even some students and parents have also been victims of negative comments from teachers in the wake of the allegations.
Also, investigating officers threatened the complainant parents that filing a complaint against a government official would not bring good results.
The study said transgender people were not allowed to stand in line for relief assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
When they wanted to complain to the elected representatives about this, the staff of the ward commissioner's office did not let them do that.
People from the ethnic minority communities filed written complaints about education, land and social security programmes by appearing in government offices. But due to their identities, there were instances of complaints not being recorded, preserved in the register and followed up.
The lack of precise data on marginalised people is a major obstacle in providing access, the study also said.
TIB made 10-point recommendations including eliminating barriers to the inclusion of marginalised people in various services and ensuring non-discriminatory and accountable services. The anti-discrimination act should be enacted quickly, it said.
It also recommended ensuring proper and regular publicity about the services and accountability system of government agencies at the field level and in all media in the language of marginalised communities.