Citizen’s Platform for SDG, Bangladesh organised the dialogue on ‘Situation of the Dalit Community in Bangladesh in the context of SDGs’ in the capital’s CIRDAP auditorium on 12 November 2017.

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Published in The Financial Express on Monday, 13 November 2017

SDGs to remain elusive sans ‘inclusive politics’

Inu says only creating parliament is not democracy, holding mere election not inclusive political practice

FE Report

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said Sunday inclusive political practice and budgetary allocations are a must for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets.

He commented that only creating a parliament is not democracy, holding a mere election is not inclusive political practice. People of all classes must get due share in power structure.

“Sustainable development and SDG goals and targets will not be achieved without inclusive politics,” Mr Inu said while speaking at a seminar in Dhaka.

Citizen’s Platform for SDG Bangladesh organised the seminar on ‘Situation of the Dalit Community in Bangladesh in the context of SDGs’ at the CIRDAP auditorium.

The information minister, also the chief of JSD, a left-leaning political party in the Awami League-led ruling coalition, noted that the motto of SDGs is ‘leave no one behind’ from development.
“So we can’t leave anyone behind if we want to implement SDGs,” he told the meet.

Member of General Economics Division (GED) at Planning Commission Professor Dr. Shamsul Alam said the term ‘Dalit’ is confusing for Bangladesh as there is no caste system here. The constitution of Bangladesh does not recognize caste system–Dalit is part of caste system.

He said the government allocated Tk 550 billion for oppressed, destitute, ultra poor and marginal people. All Dalit people are covered by these programmes.

Distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattachariya underscored the urgency of enacting a new law against inequality to ensure access to resources by all.

Inclusive development, ending income inequality, and ensuring equal opportunities for all in society are the catchphrases in the UN-declared development paradigm—SDGs-for all nations to pursue.

Published in The Independent on Monday, 13 November 2017

Action to establish Dalit rights stressed


Rights activists here today stressed the need for affirmative action alongside conducting a household survey for the dalit community to accept them socially and economically, reports BSS.

The state must take responsibility of the dalit community as they are forced to change their livelihood as a result of massive transformation of technology, they said at a dialogue on “Situation of the Dalit community in Bangladesh in the context of SDGs” in the CIRDAP auditorium.

Addressing the dialogue, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu laid emphasis on the role of both print and electronic media in disseminating information about the Dalit community. Member of General Economics Division (GED) Dr Shamsul Alam, Executive Director of Avijan, a social welfare organization, Banan Biswas, CPD Distinguished Fellow Professor Mustafizur Rahman, among others, also spoke at the dialogue with Convener of Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya in the chair.

The information minister said, “Prime Minister’s ten priority programmes are closely related to achieving the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which eventually would help improve social and economic situation of the Dalit community.” All should extend their cooperation in implementing PM’s major programmes for achieving the targets of SDGs as the country has achieved most targets of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he added.

He said, “If we want inclusive economy, we must ensure political inclusion…. I believe sustainable development is closely linked to sustainable politics.” Sustainable politics would ensure good governance and rule of law, which will remove deprivation of underprivileged groups of people including Dalit community, he added. Dr Shamsul said, “Dalit community is not well-defined concept in our country.

India defined dalit clearly and it launched campaign to establish their rights in society.”

“As we have no specific definition of the dalit concept, we are facing problems in taking any need-based programme on the issue,” he added.

Published in New Age on Monday, 13 November 2017

Anti-discrimination law demanded to protect rights of Dalits

Rights activists on Sunday said the discrimination against the Dalits was still high in absence of any law to protect their rights.

In a discussion on the Dalit community in Bangladesh in the context of SDGs, speakers also called for immediate enactment of the proposed Anti-Discrimination Bill 2014 to protect the rights of the marginalised community.

Mentioning the law a tool to curb discrimination against the Dalits, human rights activist Hamida Hossain said, ‘Many laws have been passed in last few years in parliament, but why has the proposed anti-discrimination law not been passed yet?’

National Human Rights Commission member Meghna Guhathakurta in her keynote speech said that discrimination against the Dalits would not stop without formulating a new law and thus Bangladesh would fail to achieve the goals of Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

She also said that most of these people were landless.

Nagarik Udyog executive director Zakir Hosain said there was no data on Dalits in 2011 census and it revealed that the Dalits were not specified.

PRIP Trust executive director Aroma Dutta said the Dalit people were losing their traditional jobs to the mainstream people. She also stressed the inclusion of Dalits in the local governance, through which they could be empowered.

CPD distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman said without the development of these people the overall development would never come. ‘Bangladesh is stepping into the phase of a middle income country from least developed country but still Dalit people are earning so less than the average income of a poor person in the country,’ he added.

Sharing the information that government had asked the job-less Dalits to leave the government houses they had been occupying for generations, Dalit leader Moni Rani Das said, ‘In one hand, mainstream people are taking up our jobs leaving us jobless and on the other hand, the government asks us to leave the houses as now many of us do not have jobs.’

GED member of the planning commission Shamsul Alam said the government had many financial and social security allowances for the Dalits, while information minister Hasanul Haq Inu chaired and CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya moderated the discussion.