IRWD Observation Committee

Dhaka, 14 October, 2017. On the occasion of the International Rural Women Day the National Committee on the observation of the International Rural Women Day organized a human chain today in front of the National Press Club. From the human chain rights based CSOs demanded strong legal actions against all forms of sexual violence against women at all level. They expressed their concern since in recent time incidences of sexual violence against women and girls have been increased and there is lack of exemplary actions against those incidences. They demanded speedy trial of these type of cases. It is to be noted that tomorrow is International Rural Women Day.

The organizers of the event mentioned that, this year the International Rural Women Day is being observed in 50 districts. As usual, this year this day will also be observed with different activities like human chain, rally, seminar, fair, award giving ceremonies to champions of protecting women right. Since 2000 Bangladeshi NGOs, CSOs has been observing this days with their own fund at national and local level under the banner of National Committee on Observation of the International Rural Women Day.

The human chain was moderated by the secretariat coordinator of the national committee Mustafa Kamal Akand while secretary of the national committee Ferdaus Ara Rumme, Md. Hasan Bangladesh Mass People Justice Party, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (JI), Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Kod Banu of Bangladsh Kishani Sobha and the President of the National Committee on Observation of the International Rural Women Day Shamima Akhter also spoke at the occasion.

Ferdaus Ara Rumee said, in our country every day incidence of two rapes are taking place. Cases are filed for half of these incidences. very few of the cases can see the light of judgement due to long and complicated processes. Most of the alleged are coming out of the court using various loopholes of laws. Rate of judgement against rape cases is 3.66%, punishment has been ensured for only 0.45% cases. According to the Ain o Shalish Kendra, during the first seven months of this year total 424 rape cases have been recorded, 88 women and children have been victim of mass rape. Bangladesh Shishu Odhikar Forum says, during the first six months of this year 294 children have been raped.

Zayed Iqbal Khan said, in many cases poor parents are forced to compromise with alleged rapist getting some compensation. In most cases parents don’t want to file any case just to avoid any further harassments. On the other hand, plaintiff often lose interest on case due to negative legal harassments of the solicitor of the accused. We have to give up our tendency to blame the victim of rape, only the ill mentality of the rapist is the cause of rape.

Badrul Alam said, to raise the issues of rural women across the globe, this day is playing a significant role. To make a meaningful society we have to eliminate all sorts of discrimination between men and women. We have to guide our children on this, it must be included in our text books.

Shamima Akhter said, if we analyze the case of rapes of children, we will find that, most of the time the accused are relative of those children. Children of 13-18 years of age are being raped being seduced of marriages.
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index_6119Dhaka, 03 December 2016. Today in a human chain and rally a group of 22 rights based organizations demanded immediate amendment of the proposed Child Marriage prevention Law 2016 which has recently been approved in the cabinet meeting.  This draft law keeps the legal marriage age for girls at 18 years but lowering it to 16 years under ‘special circumstances’.

The human chain and rally titled ‘the special provision of the law on child marriage prevention will increase the risk of child marriage. Amend the provision immediately’ was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of COAST Trust. Ferdous Ara Rumee of COAST Trust presented position of the organizers.  Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Subal Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnyan Dhara Trust and Sanat Kumar Bhowmik of COAST Trust also spoke at the occasion.

On behalf of the organizers, Ferdous Ara Rumme expressed concern that, culprits can abuse this law. Allowing marriage under 18 under special circumstances i.e. if parents are allowed to arrange marriage of girl under 18 years with the legal permission, it will definitely increase child marriage. The present law can’t prevent child marriage even after not allowing girls’ marriage under 18, if law allows marriage under 18, it will make the situation worst. This will make girls more vulnerable to child marriage for sure.

Sanat Kumar Bhowmik said, we are concerned since this proposed law could be easily abused. A rapist can legalize his crime by marring the victim adolescent girl.  We demand immediate amendment to protect our adolescent girls from these types of crimes.

Subal Sarkar said, a girl under 18 is not physically matured and thus marriage of a girl under 18 can definitely cause serious threat to her life, it creates many physical problems and it also leads birth of immature babies or malnourished babies.

Zayed Iqbal Khan said, besides many physical problems child marriage creates hindrance towards girls’ education. One of the major causes of girls’ school dropout from school is this child marriage.  We must have strong law to prevent marriage under 18 years age to protect our adolescents girls.

Aminur Rasul Babul Said, One of the major causes of children malnutrition is the early marriage. It is almost impossible to give to birth a matured and child with good health for a mother suffering from malnutrition. A mother with physical and mental immaturity can’t give to birth healthy child.      Early marriage also increases maternal and infant mortality. That is why we will have to have legal protection against early marriage. Last Edit 2 April 2017

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index_4564Dhaka, 15th October 2016: Today on the occasion of International Rural Women Day (IRWD) the National Committee on the Observation of the International Rural Women Day organized a human chain and rally in front of the National Press Club. From the human chain organizers demanded inclusion of effective education on sexual and reproductive health in school curriculum especially for the adolescent girls. They also proposed to ensure proper health care for the adolescents.  According to the organizers the committee and their members in 64 districts are observing the World Rural Women’s Day this year today through organizing rallies, seminars,  to honor to the especial rural women for their extraordinary contribution for public, drama to raise the awareness on the aforesaid issue.

The press human chain titled ‘Sexual and Reproductive health rights of the adolescents: Our Commitment ’ was moderated by national committee secretariat coordinator Mustafa Kamal Akanda.  Secretariat Coordinator Ferdous Ara Rumee presented statement on behalf of the organizers.  National Committee Chairperson Shamima Akhter, Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Sanat Kumar Bhowmik and Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST Trust also spoke at the occasion.

Ferdous Ara Rumee said, according to the World Health Organization, people of the age between 10-19 are considered as adolescents. About one fourth of total population of Bangladesh is adolescents.  Our future is dependent upon their effective education, life skills and health. During their puberty adolescents observe some physical changes. In our school books there are some lessons on puberty, but these are not enough and the enabled environment to educate adolescent girls on this issue is still to be proper enough.

Sanat Kumar Bhowmik said, getting proper sexual and reproductive health services is a right of adolescents. Unfortunately due to lack of awareness, shyness and lack of proper openness adolescent feel it quite hard to discuss and to get proper time during the puberty.  We have very inadequate facilities to ensure this health services during critical time to our adolescent girls.

Aminur Rasul Babul Said, the International Rural Women day has been observed in different countries since 1998. It is a very significant day for us to raise awareness on various challenges of our rural women. This year, Sexual and reproductive health for adolescents has been taken as the theme. It is very much important for us, since if we can ensure proper sexual and reproductive health care for our adolescent girls, it can ensure a proper nation for us.

Shamima Akhter said, maintaining secrecy regarding sexual and reproductive health has become our culture. Many people think that, adolescents should not get so much information about sexual and reproductive health and this is not a issue openly discuss with them. That is why most of the adolescent girls feel uncomfortable to seek health care even when it is very urgent.

Shawkat Ali Tutul said, our schools can play very important role in this regard by introducing education on this issue. If girls can get proper sexual and reproductive health care in schools and workplace it will help them to protect them from various sexual diseases and complexities. last edit 2 April, 2017

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img_4409Dhaka, 14th October 2016: Today in a press conference held at the National Press Club organized by the National Committee on the Observation of the International Rural Women Day, a countrywide network of civil society right groups, urge mass people, respective private and public sectors to ensure sexual and reproductive rights of the adolescents girls. According to the organizers the committee and their members in 64 districts will observe the World Rural Women’s Day this year on 15th October through organizing rallies, seminars, honor to the especial rural women for their extraordinary contribution for public, drama to raise the awareness on the aforesaid issue.

The press conference titled ‘Sexual and Reproductive health rights of the adolescents: Our Commitment ’ was presided by national committee Chairperson Shamima Akhter and it was moderated by Secretariate Coordinator Ferdous Ara Rumee. National Committee member Tamanna Rahman presented the written statement on behalf of the organizers. Among others member of the national committee Asif Iqbal, Munsiganj district committee chairperson Advocate Sohana Tahmina, national committee secretariat coordinator Mustafa Kamal Akanda.

In the written statement Tamanna Rahman said, according to the World Health Organization, people of age between 10-19 are considered as adolescents. About one fourth of total population of Bangladesh is adolescents. Our future is depended upon their effective education, life skills and health. During their puberty adolescents can realize some physical changes.

Ferdous Ara Rumee said, during this critical time education on sexual and reproductive health care is very much important. It is also a right of adolescents to get care of sexual and reproductive health, but due to lack of awareness, shyness and lack of proper openness adolescent feel it quite hard to discuss and to get proper time during the puberty.

Advocate Sohana Tahmina Said, many people think that, adolescents don’t need to know everything on this. Many doctor ask adolescents to take their parents or brothers with them for their treatment, and that is why girls don’t go for health care affected form shyness. Still, in many communities, adolescents willing to know about puberty, sexual and reproductive health care is considered as immoral. This type of culture keep girls to seek information or health care. They can’t take decision for their own.
Asif Iqbal said, investment for the sexual and reproductive health of the adolescents can repay immediately. It can ensure more school attendance, it can also increase productivity in the house and working places. Educational institutes must facilitate sexual and reproductive care for adolescent girls, so that they can be ale to protect them sexual, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. School curriculum should include this.
Mustafa Kamal Said, parents, family member can play a vital role to ensure health care and health rights of the adolescents. Not guardianship, rather friendly attitude of the family members can be effective during this time.
Shamia Akhter said, during the puberty adolescents get the reproductive ability and that is why this is the critical time to be careful and to get health care. Our schools can play very important rule in this regard by introducing education on this issue.

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indexThe second preparatory meeting of International Rural Women’s Day (IRWD) observation national committee was held on 01 October, 2016 at COAST central office as the secretariat of IRWD. Representatives from so far 20 organizations across the country participated in the meeting and shared their upcoming programs for this year.

In the 1st preparatory meeting held on 27 August, the observation committee decided to carry out countrywide campaign on Sexual and Reproductive Health Drive (SRHR) issues on the eve of 15th October International Rural Women Day (IRWD). The campaign will be held in 62 districts and possibly in 17 Community Radio stations (facilitated by BNNRC) through discussions, human chains, school and college based sessions, press briefings, and different radio programs.

As all of us know the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Issue is a hidden issue to be discussed as most people especially in rural areas feel shy to discuss about this. Due to the lack of awareness of SRHR among parents, their girl children suffer most during and affected diseases like infection after menstruation. Not only this, if they do not have the proper knowledge of menstrual health and hygiene, they might be at risk of uterus cancer. Considering this, we should aware our girl children at this moment to ensure their future safe. The committee therefore picked this issue for the year.

In the meeting, the committee prepared a simple but brave leaflet and preparing 10 simple slogan based posters / placards. The IRWD is being observed mostly without donor support in last almost one and half decades by local NGOs and CSOs.

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Index_7646Dhaka, 14th October 2015: Today in a press conference held at the National Press Club organized by the National Committee on the Observation of the International Rural Women Day, a countrywide network of civil society right groups, urge mass people to raise voice and awareness against Pesticides and their companies to save the rural public health. According to the organizers the committee and their members in 64 districts will observe the World Rural Women’s Day this year through organizing rallies, seminars, honor to the especial rural women for their extraordinary contribution for public, drama to raise voice against the pesticides and their companies and to promote alternative methods of pesticides.

The press conference titled ‘Pesticides and Health Risk: Find Alternatives and Save the lives of Rural Women’ was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand of Secretary of National Committee. Ms. Tasmin Chowfhury, chairperson of Savar District Committee; Ms. Romena Akter, and Chairperson of Manikgonj District Committee; Ms. Rehena Begum of Comilla District Committee and Mr. Badrul Alam, President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation also spoke at the occasion. Ferdaus Ara Rumee, Policy Research and Campaign Coordinator of EquityBD read out the keynote paper on behalf of the committee. The event was presided by Ms. Shamima Akhter, the Chairperson of the national committee.

In the written statement the committee says, during the period of 1954 to 2010 the use of pesticides in agriculture in Bangladesh has been increased six times than that time. One vegetable farmer uses pesticide around 150 times in one session. There are 377 pesticides in 97 groups are being used in our country and most of them are already banned in the developed countries. It is also said that, only 4% farmers are aware of how to use pesticides. 87% of the farmers hardly take any steps to keep away of the hazardous impacts of pesticides.

Romena Akter Mahin said our rural women are directly involved with handling of pesticides. From various researches it has been found that, exposure to excessive pesticides can cause miscarriages, she added.

Tasmin Chowdhury said, in a US research it is found that, women with regular exposure to pesticides give birth children with low intelligence. It can also cause birth of child with physical disabilities.

Rehena Begum said, most dangerously, 5% of the farmers intake different food and smoke during their pesticide spray and this is how they directly intake toxic chemicals in their body. Considering various health hazards we need immediate actions against pesticides.

Badrul Alam said, it is mentioned in the press conference that different studies show that, as the health impacts for using pesticides 30% farmers suffer from irritation, 28% farmers from respiratory diseases and 13% from eye diseases. There are several local alternative and indigenous methods instead of toxic chemical pesticides that could be used by the farmers in local level. They should be publicized and promoted.

Shamima Akhter said,our rural women are one of the major labour sources of the agriculture. To save their lives we should take actions on the expansion of alternatives to pesticides.

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Index_photo14 October 2014: A press Conference today in the capital declares that non government development organizations across the country is going to observe International Rural Women’s Day tomorrow, 15th October 2014. National Committee to observe Int’l Rural Women’s Day called for a press conference today at the National Press Club in Dhaka titled “No Marriage under 18 to protect Women’s Health: Stop Legitimizing Child Marriage” where the speakers said, along with Dhaka committee members in 60 districts of the country also organized separate press conferences in their locality to declare their programs to observe the day.
Ferdaus Ara Rumee, Policy Research and Campaign Coordinator of EquityBD, moderates the press conference while Ms Shamima Akhter, Vice President of the National Committee and Executive Director of ASWO Foundation, reads out the keynote paper on behalf of the committee. The other speakers are Executive Member of the committee Nazma Begum from Tangail, Executive Member of the Committee Nahid Sultana from Gazipur and Executive Member of the Committee Asif Iqbal of SPP from Dinajpur.
Shamima Akhter said while reading out position paper of the group, in Bangladesh, especially in the rural area there is a tradition of child marriage in spite of the presence of law where marriage of girls under 18 is prohibited and in spite of all the social campaign. In this situation if the minimum age of girls’ marriage is legitimized to drop to 16 it will deteriorate the situation and ultimately it will increase the rate of maternal mortality. It will be conflicting with the MDG target of reversing the mother’s mortality rate.
Nahid Sultana from Gazipur said in her speech that, to legitimize the child marriage at the age of 16, it is said that girls in our country are naturally achieves reproductive capacity at this lower ages and to stop pregnancy before marriage in these age, girls’ marriage at 16 should be legitimized. We, hereby, strongly oppose this position and demand to term all under 18 as children as it is declared by all the international law and conventions.
Nazma Begum from Tangail said, Now we have the minimum age for the girls to marry is 18 by the law and people in the villages are marrying off their daughters within 16. But if it is made 16 by law, girls of 12-13 will be married off. Nothing will be able to stop this child marriage and that will be very unfortunate for our adolescent girls. It will increase the number of child mothers in the society.
Asif Iqbal from Dinajpur said, we the non government organizations have been observing the day, 15 October as the International Rural Women’s Day since 2000 to promote the rural women who are really neglected and unrecognized for their great contribution to the society. UN declares the official recognition of this day as the International Rural Women’s Day in 2007. So, we demand, government of Bangladesh should start observing the officially from next year to recognize the contribution of rural women.
As the Moderator of the press conference Ferdaus Ara Rumee of EquityBD said, Bangladesh has ratified CEDAW, CRC and other UN conventions where all under 18 is declared as children. So setting the minimum age for girls’ marriage should not go below this level. She appreciated the Prime Minister of Bangladesh said in the Girls Summit in London that by 2041 there will be no marriage under 18 in Bangladesh. She added, we should reform our laws according to that promise.

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index_pDhaka, 9th October 2013: Today in a press conference held at the National Press Club organized by the World Rural Women’s Day Observation National Committee, a countrywide network of civil society right groups, urge mass people to raise voice and awareness against Pesticides and their companies to save the rural public health.

The committee say that, their members in 64 districts will observe the World Rural Women’s Day during 9th to 13th October 2013 by raising awareness through organizing rallies, seminars, honor to the especial rural women for there extraordinary contribution for public, drama and Potgan to raise voice against the pesticides and their companies and to promote alternative methods of pesticides.

A leaflet published with the name and address of the 64 districts committees and a flipchart depicting pesticides for awareness has been launched, presented and distributed to the press during the press conference today.

Mrs. Shamima Akhter, the Vice Chairperson of the national committee moderates the press conference while Mr. Asif Iqbal, a member of the committee reads out the written statement. Other speakers of the press conference are Mrs. Salma Akhter, the President of Faridpur Committee and Mrs Nazma Akhter, the President of Tangail Committee. Mr. Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD gives welcome and introductory speech.

In the written statement the committee says that, during the period of 1954 to 2010 the use of pesticides in agriculture in Bangladesh has been increased six times than that time. One vegetable farmer uses pesticide around 150 times in one session. There are 377 pesticides in 97 groups are being used in our country and most of them are already banned in the developed countries.

It is also said that, only 4% farmers are aware of how to use pesticides. 87% of the farmers hardly take any steps to keep away of the hazardous impacts of pesticides. Most dangerously, 5% of the farmers intake different food and smoke during their pesticide spray and this is how they directly intake toxic chemicals in their body.

It is mentioned in the press conference that different studies show that, as the health impacts for using pesticides 30% farmers suffer from irritation, 28% farmers from respiratory diseases and 13% from eye diseases.

There are several local alternative and indigenous methods instead of toxic chemical pesticides that could be used by the farmers in local level. They should be publicized and promoted.

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Today 14 October, Observing the international rural women day, the CSO leaders have urged to the government in a national seminar to ensure due share of women in climate finance addressing the climate change adaptation plan and its implementation process. They also said that, due to changing impact of climate, our country and our women are treated as most vulnerable, but government effort is being seen as very less to adapt and survive our women with this impact. The CSO also critics that the government has taken total 116 project under Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) and Bangladesh Climate Change Resilient Fund (BCCRF) where only one project got financial allocation from these funds which is gender related.

The seminar has organized at national press club under the banner of International Rural Women Day (IRWD) national celebration committee and moderated by Sawpan Guha-President of the committee and inaugural speech deliberated by Md Mostafa kamal Akand-Secretary of IRWD. Md Hasan Mehedi-Humanity Watch has presented the key note on the issue and spoken by Professor Salma Kahn-Former ambassador Indonesia and chair of CEDAW committee, professor Nazma Siddique- Jahangir Nagar University, Mrs Tasmin Rana- Former MP and Mahmuda Doli-Journalist and with different level of stakeholder at the seminar.

Presenting the key note, Hasan Mehedi mentioned that, Bangladesh is treated as most vulnerable country across the globe considering climate change, which impact on food security, water crisis and also inundate the huge coastal areas those will ultimately affect our women at the first stage. Our government has acknowledged this situation of vulnerability of women in BCCSAP (Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan) but measures is ignored coming into the reality of this acknowledgement. He demanded clear definition of women vulnerability in BCCSAP and setting gender sensitive indicators that will ensure women share and participation in climate change action and implementation.

Professor Salma khan said that, according to CEDAW (Convention of Eliminating of all Discrimination Against Women) charter, our government is responsible and liable to eliminate all discrimination against women through constitutional and development effort and report to the UN periodically, but measures is lees comparing commitment. So she urged to government to identify the problem of rural women those really exist and taking appropriate actions based on the commitment.

Mrs Tasmin Rana said that, in order to empowering our women required to demolish the existing political and social structure that is built based on former colonial and male dominated mind-set. Our women is most vulnerable in both socio-economic and climatic impact which correctly be addressed through constitutional guideline and policy.

Professor Nazma Siddique said that, more than 70% of global poor are women and they are playing vital role for human survival and socio-economic development. Without looking these women, desired development wouldn’t be possible. So government must take necessary measures to develop and empowering women and ensure their rights accessing the resources.

Among the other participants Mr Badrul Alam- Bangaldesh Krishak Federation, Jayanta-Surakhha Foundation, Aminu Rasul Babul-Unnayan Dhara, and Prodip Kumar Roy has also spoke at the seminar.

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The International Rural Women Day will be observed in 58 districts this year. Today in a press conference the national committee on observation of the International Rural Women Day has declared this plan. The conference was held in the National Press Club, Dhaka. It has been informed that, the theme of the day for this year is `Claim the rights of women participation in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. The organizers stated that, from all sorts of activities of the celebration of the day, demand for ensuring participation of women, specially rural women in the plan and implementation level of climate adaptation or mitigation will be upheld.
Mustafa Kamal Akanda, Coordinator of the national committee moderated the program while Chairman of the organization Swapan Guho was in the chair. Among others Vice-chairman Shamima Akhter and three Members Firoza Begum, Asif Iqbal and Nahida Sultana were present.
Mustafa Kamal Akanda said, Bangladeshi CSOs and NGOs have been observing this day since 2000 with their own fund. Under the National Committee there are district committees who are implementing the district level activities. In 2011 the day was observed in 56 districts. Rally, discussion along with special recognitions for the contribution to uphold women rights were in the list of activities.
Shamima Akhter said, the problems of Climate change in Bangladesh are visible now. Women are the most vulnerable to all sorts of disaster. During any disaster women think of their children first and then there are responsibilities of the father and mother in laws. They cannot think of their safety first. Thus women, especially the rural women become most vulnerable to all sorts of disaster.
Firoza Begum said, scarcity of drinking water is increasing in various part of Bangladesh. Since rural women are mainly engaged in collecting drinking water, their sufferings are being increased due to climate change and other natural impacts. One research shows that, a rural woman is to walk 10-14 kilometers daily for collecting drinking water.
Asif Iqbal said, if we analyze the types of the victims of natural disaster we will find that the biggest number are women. In 1991 cyclone 71% of the dead were women of the 20-44 years.
Nahida Sultana said, the number of climate forced migrants in Bangladesh is increasing. Migration of any male member creates huge suffering for many female family members.
Swapan Guho said, the negative impact of climate change on Bangladesh is now clear and recognized. On the other hand, it is also recognized that, the rural women are the most vulnerable to the climate change impact. Unfortunately women participation in the plan and implementation level of climate adaptation and mitigation is poor. That is why we are demanding that, women participation is must. We also demand that the vulnerability of women should be recognized in other women rights or human rights documents. There should be special quota for the women in regards of fund distribution for the climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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