Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) - Bangladesh needs to ensure safe food for its people by 2041 to achieve its goal of becoming a developed country, said Food Minister Quamrul Islam on Thursday.
Ensuring food safety is possible with raising awareness and everyone’s support, he said while speaking as the chief guest at a seminar titled ‘Drive against Food Adulteration: Institutional Crisis’.
Desh Info and Watchdog Bangladesh jointly organised the seminar.
“Bangladesh is becoming a middle-income and developing country while we’re marching forward to become developed one by 2041. So, we’ve to ensure food safety in our country like other developing and developed countries,” said Quamrul Islam.
The minister also said the government will categorise restaurants in Motijheel areas based on their performance of safe and quality food production and supply.
"In the Motijheel areas, the Safe Food Authority is conducting research on 200 restaurants. The best food processors will be marked as the ‘Green’ one, the better one as ‘Yellow’ one and the bad one as the ‘Red’," he said.
The minister added that if any restaurant fails to maintain the standard of food it will be marked as ‘Red’ and the owner will be given one month’s time to improve its standard and if it fails to improve, the restaurant will be sealed off.
Mentioning the existing Food Safety Act as complex one, the minister said Bangladesh will soon succeed in making the law completely effective. “To make the law effective, the most important thing is to create public awareness. Without creating public awareness, ensuring food safety, adulteration and pollution-free food is not possible.”
The government is undertaking various training and awareness-building programmes for those involved in producing, manufacturing, packaging, preserving and serving food, said the minister.
He also said a huge number of people in the country depend on street foods and that is why safe street foods are also needed to be ensured.
Citing a 2004 study of World Health Organization (WHO), Rashed Chowdhury, Editor of the online web portal Desh Info, in his keynote paper said every year around 3 lakh people get affected by cancer only because of consuming adulterated food, while 1.50 lakh by diabetes and around 2 lakh kidney diseases.
Around 15 lakh physically-challenged children are born as a result of food adulteration, he added.
While a total of 18 ministries and agencies of the government are working to ensure food safety, these organisations should be made accountable alongside increasing their efficiency, Rashed Chowdhury added.
Chairman of Poribesh Banchao Andolon (Poba) Abu Naser Khan urged the government to make the reports public after testing food products and prevent the use of harmful materials and pesticides during food manufacturing.
Prof Khaleda Islam of Dhaka University’s Institute of Nutrition and Food Science (INFS), Chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque and Assistant Director of BSTI Reazul Haque, among others, spoke at the programme.
Dhaka, Sep 20 (UNB) – National Child Advocacy Forum on Thursday handed over draft of a proposed law on preventing sexual harassment to Deputy Speaker Md Fazle Rabbi Miah.
The forum, a platform of child rights organisations, proposed for formulation of a law titled ‘Sexual Harassment Prevention and Protection Bill- 2018’ and prepared a draft of it in cooperation with the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights and Girls Advocacy Alliance of PLAN Bangladesh.
At a programme held at IPD Auditorium of Jatiya Sangsad Bhavan today the forum presented the draft’s copy to the deputy speaker with an expectation that a bill would be piloted in the parliament soon as a private member’s bill.
After receiving the draft, the deputy speaker advised Navana Aktar, a parliament member present in the programme, to place the bill to the parliament as a private member’s bill immediately and she took the responsibility.
The draft took into cognizance the issues of any kind of sexual harassment in public places as crime and prescribed to punish the offenders in it.
In the description of sexual harassment in public place, the draft said any kind of physical approach and expression which are sexually indicative, offering to make unethical relation using professional or institutional power, making any write-up, cartoon or massage in public places to offend anyone sexually, harassment through digital media and making or preserving any digital content to assault or threat anyone will be considered as crime.
The draft also proposed to create a five members’ complaint committee in every private and public institution within 90 working days after passing of the bill to take care of these kinds of issues.
According to it, the victims can complain in the complaint committee of their institutions as well as in police stations or magistrate courts.
It asked the government to establish at least two sexual harassment prevention courts in each metropolitan city and one for each divisional city.
Depending on the intensity of the offence, the draft proposed different ranges of punishment from verbal warning to jail and fine.
Fazle Rabbi Miah said “In November 20, 2017, at a programme of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights on sexual harassment, I advised the National Child Advocacy Forum to make a draft of a sexual harassment bill and today they made it and are handing over it to me.”
He also said the sexual harassment in public place became a big problem now and if the country has a separate law regarding it, it will help to ensure a safe public environment for the women and children.
“I will try from my level and cooperate MP Navana in this regard”, he assured.
In the programme, at least 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) attended along with the other NGO activists.
Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) - Lawmakers from South East Asia on Thursday urged the UN to act on a devastating report on atrocities against Rohingya in Myanmar and do everything it can to pave the way for justice for victims.
The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva is expected to vote on a resolution in next week establishing an independent mechanism to document these crimes for future prosecutions, said ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).
The UN-mandated Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Myanmar released its full report on September 19, calling for the Myanmar military top brass to be investigated and prosecuted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
“The report by the Fact-Finding Mission is as heart wrenching as it is necessary. It adds to the mounting body of evidence that the Myanmar security forces have committed the gravest of crimes – including possible genocide – against Rohingya people,” APHR Chair Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament.
“The world must now take concrete action to ensure these atrocities are never repeated. The UN Human Rights Council can do just that by establishing an international accountability mechanism. We urge all countries – including Southeast Asian states – to lend support to a resolution to this effect.”
The FFM’s report documents in detail a catalogue of rights violations by the Myanmar security forces during its “clearance operation” in Rakhine State from 25 August 2017, including killings, burnings of villages and sexual violence on a “shocking scale”.
It also concludes that the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military, should be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes in Shan and Kachin States.
The FFM recommended that either the HRC or the UN General Assembly should create an international, independent, impartial mechanism, tasked with gathering evidence with a view to support future criminal prosecutions.
ASEAN Parliamentarians have already urged members of the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court – the only way to guarantee a comprehensive investigation by the Court covering all crimes by the Tatmadaw across the whole of the country.
“With atrocity crimes unfolding in their backyard, ASEAN states simply no longer have the option to remain silent. Countries in the region must condemn Myanmar’s atrocities in a united voice, and push Members of the Security Council to refer the situation there to the ICC,” said Charles Santiago.
Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) – Police on Thursday foiled an attempt of the Left Democratic Alliance (LDA) to lay a siege to the Election Commission in the city.
As part of their scheduled programme, LDA leaders and activists brought out a procession from the Jatiya Press Club and marched the Nirchaban Bhaban at Agargaon.
The law enforcers put barricades at Sonargaon intersection in Karwanbazar area when the procession reached there via Matsya Bhaban, Shahbagh and Bangla Motor at noon.
As the activists of the left-leaning parties refused to leave the place, the law enforcers charged baton on them to disperse them, leaving 15-20 of them injured.
Of the injured, eight -– Ganasanghati Andolan coordinator Zonayed Saki, Golam Mostafa, Saiful Haque, Jilani Shovo, Faizur Mehedi, Rashed, Joly Talukder and Ripon -- received first aid at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Being obstructed, the LDA leaders held a brief rally where Zonayed Saki, among others, spoke.
Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) – A court here on Thursday ordered that the trial proceedings in Zia Charitable Trust corruption case will continue at the Old Central Jail in absence of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Judge Md Akhteruzzaman of Special Judge Court-5 passed the order following a petition submitted by the prosecution.
The court also fixed September 24, 25 and 26 for placing arguments.
Aminul Islam, a lawyer for another accused in the case Ziaul Islam Munna, today presented partial arguments.
Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol filed a petition on September 13 to deliver the verdict in the case seeking completion of trial in the absence of Khaleda as she did not appear before the court for the last several months due to her illness
Later, the court fixed to deliver verdict today.
On September 4, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry issued a gazette notification to hold the trial of Khaleda Zia in the case at the Old Dhaka Central Jail after setting up a makeshift court there.
The following day,Khaleda was produced before the special court-5 when she stated that she is sick and she will neither be able to appear before the court repeatedly nor can stay there for a long time.
The case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) with Tejgaon Police Station in August, 2011 accusing Khaleda Zia and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The other three accused are Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary to Harris and Monirul Islam Khan, APS to former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
The BNP chairperson is now at Nazimuddin Road central jail, serving five years' rigorous imprisonment as she was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8 this year.