Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Women continue to be oppressed in Bangladesh

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Many women in Bangladesh suffer from rape, gang rape, murder, torture and acid throwing. The position of women in Bangladesh is vulnerable. Even though Bangladesh has an elected government, the difficulties facing women haven’t ended. Violence against women is a common feature in Bangladesh, and women face various problems under the system of repression.

The main types of the oppression of women include dowry, trafficking, kidnapping, rape, physical torture and acid throwing. Almost every day, women are victimized by these acts of violence and repression. And domestic violence at the hands of husbands is a very routine practice in Bangladesh.

According to a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, at least 937 women were killed during the period from January to October this year. Prominent human rights leader and BMP president, Ayesha Khanam, said that although an elected government is now in power and there are conscious people in the ministry and in parliament, women continue to face violence. (Source: The Daily Star, 12/7/2009)
There is one example of a sensationalistic gang rape case. On Sept. 25, an adolescent was gang raped following her abduction by ten Bangladesh Chhatra League activists while she was returning from a Puja Mandap in the Kolapar subdistrict of the Patuakhali district. Also, on Nov. 8, one Bir Bengal attempted to rape a woman, Jamnua Chakma, age 21, in the Ghilachari army camp in the Naniachar subdistrict of Rangamati. She is wife of Shyamal Kanti Chakma.

In Bangladesh, there are many laws for the protection of women, yet the oppression of women hasn’t lessened. It is hard to imagine that it will be stopped in the near future. What is causing this situation? It is because there is no rule of law and no good governance. Impunity and corruption are very common in Bangladesh, and illegal political interference on behalf of criminals is another reason that women’s persecution continues.

Bangladesh has many laws for the protection of women. For example, the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act 1933, the Family Court Ordinance, the Cruelty to Women (Deterrent Punishment) Ordinance, the Trafficking in Women and Children Act 1993, the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Prevention of Women and Child Repression Act (2000), etc.

The problem is that every case of oppression of women involves the police, witnesses, lawyers, magistrates or judges, and often doctors. If all the parties involved perform their professional and moral obligation, then the perpetrator will be punished. But, with some exceptions, most of the parties are involved in corruption or are irresponsible. Political pressuring can also hamper the investigation of cases involve women’s repression. Sometimes, to protect themselves, witnesses in the cases will not give truthful statements to the court.

The Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) is a Bangladesh Awami League government-supported human rights organization. According to this organization, during the first six months of this year, 1,479 women were raped. The Minister for Home Affairs Sahara Khatun shared this figure with the national assembly.

According to a monitoring cell at the police headquarters, from January to October 2009, at least 3,413 women were tortured over dowry, 83 women fell victim to torture, 2,336 were abducted, 2,476 were raped, 36 were killed after rape, 33 were injured after rape, and 117 women were killed.

In order to prevent violence against women, it is necessary to practice the rule of law, carry out proper and competent investigations, and implement existing laws protecting women. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure the security of witnesses and victims, and corruption must be fought against during the time from when the case is filed until the trial is finished. And political pressuring must be stopped. To prevent women’s oppression, men must first come forward. The question remains: is the Bangladesh government ready to tackle any and all kinds of violence against women? http://jaakash.wordpress.com/ jahangiralamakash@gmail.com

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Jahangir Alam Akash-Editor of Euro Bangla

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Jahangir Alam Akash Editor Euro Bangla http://www.eurobangla.org/ editor.eurobangla@yahoo.de http://youtube.com/user/jaakashbd