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Making Bangladesh safer for women – Young Bangla unveils virtual campaign

Young Bangla hosted a webinar on July 15th, 2021, to mark the occasion of the WSPP campaign’s website launching and share the findings of field level situation analysis on women’s safety in public places. Recently, ten youth organizations have conducted this situation analysis through consulting different stakeholders in 10 districts that help give a comprehensive view of the current situation and helps identify the current strategies and activities in place to overcome the hindrance to ensure women’s safety. A summary of the findings shows that most of the people who attended the analysis responded that they often face harassment in public places. 

State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak formally launched the website (https://wspp-bd.org/) of the campaign. 

Recalling Bangabandhu’s generosity towards women who experienced violence by the Pakistani Occupation Forces during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh, he said, “Our mothers and sisters made the highest level of sacrifice during the Liberation War.”

“When these women gave birth to children, neither they nor their kids knew who their fathers were.

Had Bangabandhu been alive for 10 more years, he could have turned this Bangla into Golden Bengal 40 years down the line from today. Then, 50 years of independence, we would not have to conduct a webinar to ensure the safety and dignity of women in public places,” he added.

The state minister suggested some measures to ensure women’s safety in public places. He advised all bus owners should keep a copy of all digitally registered documents, such as the National ID Card of drivers and helpers before appointing them so that owners can track them in case of any unwanted incident.

“If one crore people can register through the Surokkha website for vaccination, why can’t we ensure that there are digital records of the identities and driving licenses of all bus drivers and helpers,” he said. “When there is information about these vehicles, it will be ensured that at least any crime occurring in any of these 15 to 20 lakh vehicles will not go unreported.”

The Minister said “the government is also planning to launch a bracelet device for women.

If a woman finds herself in a threatening situation and if she shakes or presses the bracelet this device will convey an alert to the nearby police station. CRI, Young Bangla, UNDP, and ICT can jointly get this done,” he added.

The State Minister lauded the youth-led initiatives taken under the campaign.

Van Nguyen, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, highlighted the need to engage youths to make the campaign successful. “I sincerely congratulate all youth organizations and also the youth leaders who have been actively engaged with this campaign and volunteering valuable time to bring positive changes in the society.”- Van said.

“All of us have a role to play to make sure that online spaces and mediums will be safe for women. Therefore, we need to tackle the online stresses through different means, massive awareness campaigns, digital literacy and a proper mechanism for policy implementation.”

She also called on other stakeholders to extend necessary support and take actions to make public places enabling and safer for all women and girls representing all segments of society.

Anup Kumar from Aporajita, Khulna, and Sabitree Hembram, youth representative from UNDP, shared their individual experiences while engaging stakeholders respectively in Khulna and Rajshahi. “We have been able to bring a perpetrator to book in our locality with the support of law enforcing agency. Previously, the powerful people used to evade justice easily while abusing girls from ethnic communities. The situation has changed for the better.”- said Sabitree. 

Amena Begam BPM, Deputy Inspector General (Protection) of Special Branch, Bangladesh Police and President of Bangladesh Police Women Network (BPWN), highlighted roles undertaken by Bangladesh Police, especially BPWN, in preventing harassment against women in this COVID-19 situation. She said- “Bangladesh Police has taken several measures to ensure the safety of women. Now, there is a separate desk in every police station dedicated to women, children and persons with disabilities. Currently, Bangladesh Police Women’s Network is preparing a strategic plan to develop the capacity of police in providing safety to women in public and online spaces.” 

Ms. Susmita Paik, Deputy Director, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) shared the perspective of NHRC and different initiatives and services of the National Human Rights Commission to ensure women’s safety.

Young Bangla, the youth platform of the Centre for Research and Information (CRI), the Human Rights Programme (HRP) of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), along with and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) initiated a nationwide and action-focused awareness-raising campaign to bring positive transformations on perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of youth, community members and relevant stakeholders regarding ‘Women’s Safety in Public Places (WSPP)’.

Find the Live Video Link: https://youtu.be/eJDn2Iy0kBg

 

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