Bangladesh must take concrete action to combat entrenched and pervasive ageism and follow through on its planned measures to ensure human rights protection of elderly persons, a UN expert said. “I remain hopeful that Bangladesh will provide the appropriate political will and budgeting to strengthen the protection of older persons in the country,” Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights for older persons, told reporters in Dhaka on Thursday. Concluding an 11-day visit here, the UN expert welcomed the existence of a dedicated National Policy on Older Persons, as a first commendable step. “However, the lack of a time-bonding action plan to further its implementation remains problematic,” Mahler said. More than nine years after its adoption, most of the priorities remain unattended. Acknowledging the government’s ongoing challenges related to climate change and a growing economic and financial crisis, she called on the government to recognise older persons’ experiences, skills and contributions to their families and society at large. “Such recognition would enhance support and protection to a growing proportion of the population that remains invisible,” Mahler said in a statement. “Most of the older persons I met expressed often feeling like a burden to their family and the society, due the rampant structural ageism.” Read more: Bangladesh faces a challenge in ensuring welfare of its aging population While Bangladeshi society has a tradition of respecting and providing care for older relatives, their specific needs are easily ignored, she said. “Older persons especially face structural ageist assumptions in the labour market, preventing those living in poverty to sustain themselves and their kin,” the expert said.
Police have brought "Hello SB," an app of its Special Branch (SB), to make it easier for people to get services. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun Wednesday launched the app at SB headquarters in Dhaka to bring police services to people's fingertips. E-passport, machine readable passport, passport renewal and correction, immigration, dual citizenship, visa issuance and renewal, registration, security clearance, NGO-related information, travel and some other services can be availed through Hello SB. Also, through this app, any unnecessary delay in passport-related work, misbehaviour and unethical proposals by any SB member and misbehaviour and harassment by immigration officers can be reported. Read more: Increase supervision to ensure quality service: IGP tells officers Hello SB can be downloaded from any android mobile phone's play store. Earlier, the IGP addressed a briefing for the members of SB, the specialised intelligence unit of the police, at SB headquarters. SB chief Additional IGP Md Monirul Islam presided over the briefing. CID Additional IGP Mohammad Ali Mia, SB DIG (Administration) Md Humayun Kabir also spoke. Read more: Strategic plan launched to ensure greater gender equality in Bangladesh police force The IGP said: "SB assists the government by providing advanced intelligence on any issue, including militancy, terrorism, politics, law and order, natural calamities, and celebration of religious festivals. It has an important role in maintaining the stability of the state and law and order in the country.
Meta has committed more than Tk1.5 crore to Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and Brac to help them with rehabilitation efforts for the communities impacted by cyclone Sitrang. This commitment also includes funding to support disaster preparedness activities through Bangladesh Environment and Development Society in partnership with GlobalGiving. Sitrang has damaged at least 10,000 homes in Bangladesh, and about 1,000 shrimp farms were washed away in floods. These contributions, which are being made directly and from Meta's Crisis and Disaster Response Fund, will also go towards relief and disaster preparedness initiatives of the three Bangladesh-based non-profit organisations, the company said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the people of Bangladesh who are recovering from the devastating effects of cyclone Sitrang. We hope that our contributions will support local organisations that are working hard to rehabilitate people who were impacted," Jordi Fornies, Meta's director for emerging markets in Asia Pacific, said. Read more: Cyclone Sitrang: Everything you need to know People often rely on online platforms to stay connected during and after natural disasters. After the cyclone hit Bangladesh, Meta created a Crisis Response page on Facebook where people can use the Community Help feature to request help or offer support, such as food, shelter, and emergency evacuations. The platform also activated Safety Check, which enabled people to let their friends and family know that they are safe. "Alongside connecting people, Meta’s platform Facebook also helped us to get real-time updates and information from the field. This hands-on information also enabled us to take effective decisions to support people in need in a timely manner. In addition, the financial assistance from Meta also contributed to our ongoing response and recovery effort for cyclone Sitrang and helped us to reach out to more people,” Kazi Shofiqul Azam, secretary general of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said. Meta is also giving $100,000 in ad credits to local organisations to support their campaigns related to crisis response. This will also help their future preparedness plans for climate-induced disasters in Bangladesh. "Communities living in the coastal areas of Bangladesh are at the forefront of devastating impacts of cyclones. Every year, the country is facing a new level of damage due to cyclonic storms. As such, cyclone Sitrang also left a trail of destruction in several coastal districts, including damage to shelters, croplands, and fish enclosures," Md Liakath Ali, director of the Disaster Risk Management Programme of BRAC, said. Read more: Cyclone Sitrang weakens into depression "BRAC acknowledges that disaster risk reduction requires support and humanitarian assistance to recover the losses. We thank Meta for its generous support in the wake of natural and human-caused crises, so that affected people will be able to meet their urgent necessities." According to a recent World Bank Group report, average tropical cyclones cost Bangladesh about $1 billion annually. The research suggests that over 13 million Bangladeshis may become internal migrants in the next 30 years due to climate impacts.
President Abdul Hamid on Wednesday asked everyone to be vigilant so that no individual or group can use religion to mislead people to pursue their interests. He said this while exchanging greetings with Hindu leaders and distinguished personalities at Bangabhaban in Dhaka Wednesday on the occasion of Durga Puja. "Apart from a few minor incidents and some disruptions due to an unexpected power blackout yesterday, as far as I know, Durga Puja is being celebrated in a very festive manner this year," he said. "We must celebrate Durga Puja, but at the same time, we must also remember that our neighbours, friends and relatives should not be deprived of the joy of this festival," he added. Read: Bijoya Dashami: Durga Puja ends with immersion of goddess Nearly 50 distinguished persons, including Hindu religious leaders, members of the Hindu Religion Welfare Trust, representatives of the Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, Dhaka Mahanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee and people from various professions, joined the Bangabhaban programme.
Bangladesh has successfully deposited instruments of its accession to the Marrakesh Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to facilitate access to published works for the blind, visually impaired, or people with print disabilities. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Offices and other International Organizations in Geneva Md. Mustafizur Rahman on September 26 presented the instruments of accession to the Marrakesh Treaty to WIPO Director General Daren Tang at the International Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva. Bangladesh became the 116th nation in the world to sign this agreement to improve the access to books and reading for the country’s people with disabilities. WIPO Director General Daren Tang thanked Bangladesh and said, “Bangladesh will now have access to all accessible books for the visually impaired youth of the country to ensure their full participation in economic, social, and cultural life.” He said that WIPO looks forward to continuing important collaboration with Bangladesh to improve the quality of life of people with all kinds of reading disabilities, including the visually impaired.” The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013 at a diplomatic conference of WIPO, the United Nations specialized agency, in the city of Marrakesh in Morocco. Under the WIPO-administered Marrakesh Treaty, it facilitates the creation and international transfer of specially-adapted books (such as the Daisy Multimedia Talking Book, Braille, etc.) for people of other countries with blindness or visual impairments easier by establishing a set of limitations and exceptions to traditional copyright law. The treaty entered into effect on 30 September 2016. Prior to Bangladesh, 116 other nations throughout the world, including neighboring countries like India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, signed this Treaty. Read: Beijing seeks Dhaka’s support to lead WIPO An estimated 340,000 visually impaired people in Bangladesh will have access to more than 800,000 accessible books via WIPO’s “Accessible Book Consortium” as a result of the Marrakesh Treaty. In the meantime, the Ministry of Social Welfare and a2i jointly facilitated Multimedia Talking Book, developed an Accessible Dictionary, distributed Braille textbooks at the beginning of the academic year and set up a specially designed ICT Lab for visually impaired students to intensify their skills and ensuring other much-needed amenities. To improve the living standards of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh, a2i has been working jointly with different departments and ministries of the government and private organizations, including the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet Division, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, and Copyright Office. Bangladesh has taken a step forward paving the way to attaining the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-4) by 2030 by ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty, which guarantees all people with disabilities equal opportunity in education.
BNP senior leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain on Tuesday said there is no alternative to unseating the current Awami League government for the restoration of democracy and people’s voting rights. Speaking at a discussion, he also said the government is trying to procure more electronic voting machines (EVMs) spending a huge amount of money amid the economic crisis in the country only to rig votes digitally in the next polls. “There is now no scope to do politics independently in the country. Awami League has destroyed every institution, democracy and electoral system to consolidate its rule. This regime must be toppled to restore democracy and the right to vote,” he said. Mosharraf, a BNP standing committee member, also said the country’s people do not believe that a fair and acceptable election is possible under the Awami League government. “That’s why BNP has raised the demand for holding the next election under a neutral government.” Read: Govt must be ousted to end enforced disappearance, repression: Fakhrul ASM Hannan Shah Smriti Parishad arranged the discussion at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU), marking the sixth death anniversary of BNP standing committee member ASM Hannan. Opposing the Election Commission’s move to use the EVMs in the 12th parliamentary election, Mosharraf said the Commission is forcing people to use the machine when they prefer to vote with their own hands. “They (govt) can’t rig votes again at night like 2018. That's why now they’re preparing to indulge in vote robbery this time by using the EVMs," he observed. The BNP leader also questioned the justification of buying EVMs by spending Tk8,000 crores when the country’s people cannot manage three meals a day amid a 'famine-like' situation. “People are struggling to survive due to hikes in the prices of essential commodities and fuel oil and they’re facing load-shedding for 8-10 hours in the rural areas…in such a situation, they (govt) are going to spend so much money for EVMs.” He warned that the country’s economy will be ruined if the Awami League government is allowed to hang onto power anymore. “We must protect the country and its economy from destruction. “ Mosharraf alleged that democracy is killed whenever Awami League comes to power. “They killed freedom fighters by forming Rakkhi Bahini and thus initiated the politics of killing in the country. They’ve been staying in power for 14 years by force, but the Prime Minister has said going abroad that a gentle breeze of democracy is blowing in Bangladesh." He recalled the contributions of Hanan Shah to BNP and his role in favour of democracy during the 1/11 political changeover in 2007.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday warned that if violence is committed in the name of the movement, it will be resisted by the people. He was speaking at the three-day international conference on 'Green Bangladesh: Prosperous Bangladesh' organized by Awami League's sub-committee on forest and environment at Dhaka University's Senate Bhavan. Quader,also the road transport and bridges minister, said that Awami League will never attack anyone. But if it comes under attack it will counter attack. Opposition BNP, he said, is trying all possible ways to make the next election questionable as it knows very well that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can't be defeated in ballots. Quader said police can't be blamed if they nab those accused in cases of terrorism. He said, if BNP activists are criminals, why is there so much objection if they are brought under the law? Read: Police too have the right to protection when under attack, Hasina tells Parliament Chairman of Forest and Environment Affairs Subcommittee Professor Khandkar Bajlul Rahman spoke at the conference while Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Shahab Uddin presided over the session. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Deputy Education Minister Mahibul Hasan Chowdhury Naufel and Member Secretary of Forest and Environment Sub-committee Delwar Hossain also spoke at the event.
Health Minister Zahid Malek on Wednesday said the annual death toll from tuberculosis in Bangladesh has come down to 40,000, half the figure 10 years ago. “Ten years ago, up to 80,000 people died of tuberculosis (TB) every year. This has now come down to 40,000,” he said at a workshop on the government’s Community Right and Gender Action Plan 2021-23 for TB. He said around 97 per cent of tuberculosis patients are getting well by taking medicines regularly. He, however, said the death of 40,000 people by this disease is not a good sign during this era of health development. “It means more than 100 people died of tuberculosis a day while we remain concerned about one or two deaths by the Covid-19 virus. This is very alarming. Our all ministries will have to work unitedly to bring the figure to zero level,” he said. Read: Children aged 5-11 get Covid jabs on trial basis He said TB is the 13th cause of death worldwide. Around one core people across the globe are infected with the disease. Nearly 15 lakh people die of TB worldwide every year. This figure is really high. “We have controlled many diseases in Bangladesh. We freed Bangladesh from polio, cholera and diarrhoea, and tetanus. We are working to control TB also.” Zahid said, “The only good thing about this news is that now we can identify the number of people infected and their whereabouts because we can only treat the disease if we can trace it.” Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) ABM Khurshid Alam chaired the programme while Swadhinata Chikitshak Parishad (SWACHIP) President Iqbal Arslan, DGHS additional secretary Ahmedul Kabir and TB-Leprosy Operation Plan Line Director Khurshid Alam, among others, spoke.
Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam on Saturday urged the people of all religious faiths to remain united to stop any conspiracy against the country."If people of all religions including Muslims and Hindus remain united, no one will be able to halt the development spree of the country, no matter how many conspiracies the anti-liberation forces make against the country," he said. Read: Police were always in favour of AL no who stayed in power: Land MinisterThe minister made these remarks while addressing a discussion and cultural function marking the central Janmashtami celebration-2022 arranged by Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee at Dhakeshwari National Temple Saturday afternoon.Once people of some religions including Hindus used to live in insecurity in Bangladesh. But after coming to power, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ensured the safety of people of all religions, including Hindus, Christians and Buddhists. "Now people can practice their respective religion freely".The government is determined to ensure the rights of the people of all religions, added the minister."A vested quarter is trying to make Bangladesh into Sri Lanka. He called upon the people of the country to remain alert against these conspirators."
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury on Saturday said that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman taught us how to love the people and soil of the country. “It is possible to build a prosperous country by properly following the ideals of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”. The minister said these while addressing a discussion programme marking the distribution of copies of the book ‘Unfinished Biography of Bangabandhu’ among students in the city. Uddokta Chattogram on Friday organised the event on Kazem Ali High School premises on the occasion of National Mourning Day and the 47th martyrdom anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Read: Dipu Moni hints at reopening of educational institutions soon He said they (students) should be engaged in development activities being imbued with the ideals of Bangabandhu and it would be a real tribute to be paid to Bangabandhu, he added. Sonia Azad, founder of Uddokta Chattogram presided over the meeting while Helal Akbor Chowdhury Babor, former finance affairs secretary of Awami Juba League, Md Shahabuddin Ahmed, president of the managing committee of Kazem Ali School & College, Ansar Ul Haque, general secretary of Chawkbazar thana Awami League, Nur Mostafa Tinu, councilor of No. 16 Chokbazar ward, among other, were present as special guests.