Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said the government of Bangladesh, with visionary woman leader Sheikh Hasina at the helm, is pledge-bound to build a safer society for women and girls.
"We consider sexual violence against women a social evil. Therefore, its prevention requires a “whole of society approach” involving men, boys, youths, families, and parents," he said in a message marking the 'International Day of Eliminating Violence Against Women'.
Dr Momen said it is the responsibility of all, specially men, to come forward to end violence against women.
He said sexual violence against women is an affront to the whole of humanity.
Unfortunately, he said, no country of the world is immune of this scourge.
The government of Bangladesh maintains a strong position against all forms of sexual violence against women and has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to counter this menace through socio-economic, legal, and technological interventions, said the Foreign Minister.
Economic independence of women leads to their empowerment which, in return, provides security from violence.
"Therefore, the Government of Bangladesh has taken various measures to integrate women into economic activities. Today, more women are engaged in workforce like RMG, agriculture, industries and other service sectors," he said.
On the legislative side, Dr Momen said they have enacted stringent laws with the provision of the highest possible punishment. "Efforts have been stepped up for implementation of the existing laws."
Reaping the benefit of digital tools such as toll-free hotlines, mobile tracking apps, the government has been trying to extend immediate support to the victims of violence, he said.
At least 55 shanties were gutted after a fire broke out at a slum in Mirpur's Kalshi area early Wednesday.
Russel Shikdar, duty officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence Control room, said the fire broke out around 2:10am.
Twelve firefighting units rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control around 3:10am.
The fire was extinguished around 6:28am, said Russel.
Around 55 shanties were burnt and no casualty was reported, he said.
However, the cause of the fire and extent of damage could not be ascertained yet.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged all to redouble their efforts to eradicate gender-based violence forever.
"On this international day, let us redouble our efforts," he said in a message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Wednesday.
Guterres said violence against women and girls is a global human rights challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed this issue as a global emergency requiring urgent action at all levels, in all spaces and by all people, said the UN chief.
He said the social and economic fallout from the pandemic is disproportionately pushing women and girls into poverty, and the risk of violence against them is rising.
In April this year, the UN chief urged the international community to work to end the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence once and for all. "I reiterate and relaunch that appeal today."
He said the global community needs to hear the voices and experiences of women and girls and take into account their needs, especially survivors and those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
"We must also prioritise women’s leadership in finding solutions and engage men in the struggle," Guterres said.
He said action must involve predictable and flexible funding for women’s rights organisations, who so often act as first responders during crises.
"It is critical that services for survivors of violence remain open, with adequate resources and measures in place to support health, social and justice responses," said the UN chief.
These measures should not only focus on intervening once violence against women has occurred, he said.
They should work to prevent violence occurring in the first place, including through addressing social norms and power imbalances, and police and judicial systems need to increase accountability for perpetrators and end impunity.
The US Department of State is sponsoring a free Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) for non-native English speakers interested in improving their English language skills, and knowledge of business and entrepreneurship at the same time as part of its Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2020 programmes.
From identifying an opportunity to planning a persuasive pitch, this course will guide participants step-by-step through the basic elements of starting up a new business, said the US Embassy.
Through case studies, selected readings, and video lectures, participants will learn how to use market research to identify risks and opportunities.
They will also learn how to read and develop a business plan and how to find investors and financial support.
The MOOC is self-paced, meaning participants study independently, without facilitation from an instructor.
It is offered by the Online Professional English Network (OPEN), a US Department of State initiative, and is administered by FHI 360, a US-based nonprofit human development organisation.
Participants can enroll (https://www.canvas.net/browse/fhi/courses/english-for-media-literacy) in this six-module course until December 18, 2020.
After enrolling, participants can log in at any time – day or night – to access the course.
All six modules of coursework must be completed by December 28, 2020.
Participants who complete the required activities with a score of 70 percent or higher will receive a digital badge and certificate.
This “English for Business and Entrepreneurship Syllabus” MOOC is designed for non-native English-speaking entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs interested in improving their language skills and knowledge of business and entrepreneurship.
At the end of this course, participants will be able to identify and apply strategies to improve reading and listening comprehension in English and practice using key vocabulary in business and entrepreneurship contexts.
They will be able to analyse the role of entrepreneurship in local economies, identify and compare business models, and evaluate key components of effective market research and elements of an effective business plan in differing contexts.
They will also be able to identify and practice developing strategies to attract investors and obtain funding for a start-up.
Fifteen Bangladeshis, most of whom were working in the construction industry, have been repatriated from Singapore for social media postings in the wake of recent developments in France, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs disclosed on Tuesday.
A Malaysian has also been repatriated who was found to be "radicalised" and harboured the intention to travel to Syria or Palestine to partake in armed violence.
The Bangladeshis, in response to the recent terror attacks and related incidents in France, had made social media postings "which incite violence or stoke communal unrest," said a statement.
Of some 23 foreigners, 16 of them have been repatriated following the completion of ISD’s investigations into them.
Investigations into the remaining seven foreigners are still ongoing.
Since the re-publication of caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammad by French magazine Charlie Hebdo on September 1, there has been a spate of terrorist attacks in France, including the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb, noted the statement.
There have also been attacks against French/Western interests elsewhere, such as in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Vienna, Austria.
In addition, a palpable anti-France climate has developed in several countries, as seen in large protests and calls for boycotts, as well as an uptick in terrorist rhetoric online.
In view of the deteriorating security situation, the Home Team has been on heightened alert since early September, and had also stepped up its security activities to pre-empt copycat attacks in Singapore.
As part of the heightened security posture, the Internal Security Department (ISD) has ramped up counter-terrorism investigations into suspicious activity, suspected radicalised individuals and/or persons whose conduct could threaten Singapore’s communal harmony.
As of November 24, investigations into 37 individuals have been initiated, some jointly with SPF.
These individuals had attracted security attention for suspected radical inclinations, or for making comments which incite violence, or stoke communal unrest.
The majority had inter alia, supported the beheading of Samuel Paty, and the subsequent attacks in France and elsewhere, or incited violence against France or French President Emmanuel Macron for the French government’s defence of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
A few had made derogatory remarks against Muslims.
While a handful had commented on the same discussion threads on social media, the majority of the cases are not connected to each other.
To date, there is no indication that any of these individuals had been planning any attacks or protests in Singapore.
Of the 37 individuals, 14 are Singaporeans and 23 are foreigners.
The 14 Singaporeans comprise 10 males and four females, and are aged between 19 and 62 years old.
Most of them had, in response to the recent terror attacks in France, made social media postings which incited violence or stoked communal unrest. Investigations into the 14 Singaporeans are ongoing.