National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman Kazi Riazul Haque on Monday urged the government to cancel its reservations about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
He made the call while addressing a roundtable at the conference room of the East West Media Group Ltd in Bashundhara residential area of the capital.
Manusher Jonno Foundation and the daily Kaler Kantho jointly arranged the event styled ‘Establish Equality in Dignity; a Firm Pledge of Change’.
Kaler Kantho editor Imdadul Haq Milon moderated the programme, which was addressed by some eminent personalities.
Riazul also said, “It’s high time to withdraw reservations about two articles of the CEDAW as the present government is bringing about some sweeping changes in empowering women.”
“We have to uphold the property right of womenfolk to establish their dignity in the society. Though the country is witnessing unprecedented developments of women under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, it has to go far more away in this regard.” he added.
Riazul called upon the people to change their mindsets towards women as no change can be brought without participations of the masses.
It is noted that on November 6, 1984 Bangladesh ratified the CEDAW with reservations about its two articles— 2 and 16(1c) — on the basis of religious sentiments.
Imdadul Haq Milon said, “If we want to see women in the place of dignity, we have to change our mindsets towards women. Everyone has to come forward to create awareness of all types of repressions and discriminations against children and women.”
He also said no society can go ahead without establishing women in the place of dignity, stopping oppressions and discriminations against them.
Abdul Karim, managing director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, emphasised the need for strict enforcement of laws on women emancipation and empowerment in the country.
“We have to instill teaching of women dignity in the hearts of children through incorporating write-ups about gender equality into their curriculums.”
Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, said if women can establish themselves in a good place of the society, all kinds of oppressions against them must go.
“There is no alternative to waging a social movement for establishing equality of dignity between men and women,” she added.
Seasoned actor Afzal Hossain said, “We have to defy all the negativities in the society in unison apart from standing up against all oppressions and discriminations against women.”
“We have to change our prejudiced mindsets to women,” said Nasimun Ara Haque Minu, president of Bangladesh Nari Sangbadik Kendra.
Kamrunnesa Hasan, consultant for the BRAC education programme, said, “A country wherein women and children are not safe can go ahead in no ways.”
Dr Ashis Kumar Chakraborty, managing director of Universal Medical College, Joya Shahrin Huq, assistant professor of Dhaka University, Banasree Mitra Neogi, programme coordinator of Manusher Jonno Foundation, Shahida Parveen, research associate of Center for Policy Dialogue, Joly Talukder of Communist Party of Bangladesh, Shahnaz Sumi, deputy director of Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha, Mahmuda Khan of Bangladesh Students Union, and mountaineer MA Muhit also spoke on the occasion.