VOICE is a rights-based, activist organization working mainly on the issues of food sovereignty, aid effectiveness, economic justice, and the right to information and communication, both in Bangladesh and on a global scale. By building a broader constituency of alternative voices to the ‘mainstream development discourse’ through research and public education, VOICE is taking a stand against unjust and undemocratic practices.
A public dialogue on `Post 2015 Development Framework: People’s Right and Participation’ has been held on 3 May 2014 at Bogra in the Municipality auditorium while it was attended by a large number of stakeholders including NGOs, civil society organizations, trade unions, women groups, rights organizations, youth, lawyers and cultural groups. Nurul Islam Omar, Member of Parliament attended the occasion as Chief Guest while Abdul Latif Mondal, President of Bangladesh Union Parishad Chairman Association presided over the meeting. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE and also the executive member of Beyond 2015, which is a global CSO platform working on the post 2015 development agenda was present as Key discussant in the program. It wa smoderated by KGM Faruque, executive director of PAVE-Bogra.
United Nations must emphasize women rights in the Post 2015 development framework, urged Meher Afroz Chumki, State Minister, Women and Child Affairs of Bangladesh. She also demanded that government should include gender equality and women rights as priority area in new framework. United Nations is preparing a new development framework with its member states as the Millenium Development Goal (MDGs) will get end in 2015.
The State Minister attended the roundtable titled `Post Development Framework: Women’s Rights and Participation’ on 17th May at Channel I premises in Dhaka, organized by a rights based development research organization VOICE and Shaptahik while it was moderated by Golam Mortuza, editor of Shaptahik .
Speakers stated that the United Nations has been reviewing the impact of the Millennium Development Goals and preparing post 2015 development framework while women’s rights need to get more focus. It is time for the government of Bangladesh, to strive for new goals. These goals should guarantee not just a decent living wage, but also equality between women and men, a voice in the political and economic decision making, and a right to live dignified lives.
VOICE is going to organize a lecture on `Right to Privacy and Data protection’ 30 April 2014 with Atish Dipankar University of Science and Technology in Dhaka. The lecture will focus on the issues of constitutional right of privacy in Bangladesh, consequence of ICT law into right to privacy, the rise of communication surveillance, data protection etc. The lecture will be conducted by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud and Farjana Akter while Assitsant professor Ruhan Mahmud Shams, lecturer Rezaul Karim and Coordinator of the University Hasan Mahmud will present there. We are expecting more than 100 students to be present at the lecture event.
CSO representatives from countries across the Asia Pacific expressed resounding concern last March 10-11 over the shrinking civil society space in the region in the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation on Building Evidence in Seoul, Korea.
“Organisations who are into public policy or are into rights-based work are severely curtailed,” according to CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) Asia Focal Person Azra Sayeed as she discussed some of the challenges faced by Asia Pacific CSOs in defending enabling environment in law and in practice.
“It just shows you the level of barriers that we really have to overcome just to ensure some amount of credibility to our work,” she added.
The two-day meeting is part of a series of regional consultations that aim to gather inputs from all stakeholders to shape the substance of the first Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) High-Level Meeting (HLM) in Mexico this coming April.
Tied Aid and the Private Sector
Open web brings a tremendous opportunity for the humanity to practice democratic freedom of expression. It opens up a new culture and interactions among people and societies that humankind ever enjoyed. Freedom that we want is celebrated through internet medium and the world itself becomes a net to practice and lead lives within and outside having each other always.
Let's celebrate the great birth of net and enjoy. Cheers,
VOICE is going to organize a two days training workshop on `Challenges of Freedom of Expression in Social Media' which will be held on 11-12 January 2014 at SUPRO Training Centre (House-8/19, Sir Sayed Road, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Phone- 029145600). Note that the inaugural programme will be begin at 4:00 pm. on 11 February 2014.
The workshop aims at broadly discussing aournd the issues affecting freedom of expression in social media along with the existing practices on regulations. The workshop also aims to raise critical awareness and develop perspective with the human rights framework. It also aims to build a broader constituency building capacity and strengthening networking through raising voices on freedom of expression issues.
The workshop will be attended by online activists, bloggers, CSOs, NGOs, journalists, lawyers, rights groups, and relevant professional bodies.
Privacy Rights Observatory_VOICE: Bangladesh
Issue for November-December 2013
Contents for newsletter
1. Computer and documents seized from opposition party office
2. India thinks about high-tech surveillance in indo-Bangla border
3. Conversation of editor of popular Bangla Newspaper leaked
4. Election commission concerns on the wealth statement of Member of Parliaments and Ministers : Conflict of Privacy and Right to Information?
WTO must end its business
Farjana Akter, VOICE
Since its inception of the World Trade Organizations (WTO) in 1995, policies made by the multilateral giant blocked the access of developing countries to international markets. WTO, the promoter of `globalization' introduces injustice and undermines human rights through it's biased policies and regulations. In the ninth ministerial conference taking place in Bali from 3 -6 December 2013, WTO should give back Least Developed Countries (LDCs) rights and listen to their legal demands. LDCs has been struggling to get Quota-Free and Duty Free market access to intrenational markets, subsidy in agriculture since long.
The empty promise of Agreement of Agriculture (AoA) needs to be readdressed, meanwhile, it has worsened the conditions of the millions subsistence farmers and small-scale food producers in the developing countries, while giving scope to corporations to accumulate more profit.
The institution needs to uncover the discriminatory rules and regulations for developing countries with a strong reform within it. Developing countries are demanding for ensuring simple and transparent rules of origin for duty-free market access, it asks for preferential market access for their services sector.
Different organisations formed a human chain in front of National Press Club in the city on Saturday with a call to end impunity.
They also demanded punishment of those responsible for attacking and killing journalists across the country.
Rights group VOICE, Media Watch, BMSF and International Press Institute (IPI) organised the event in observance of the International Day to End Impunity.
Journalists, human rights activists and members of the civil society participated in the programme.
The speakers urged the government to ensure justice for the journalists who were killed during professional duties.
They also demanded exemplary punishment of the killers of Sagar Sarwar, news editor at private TV station Maasranga, and his wife Meherun Runi, a senior reporter at ATN Bangla.
A total of 700 journalists were killed in last decade while 93 journalists and bloggers were killed alone till November in 2013 globally.
Executive Director of VOICE Ahmed Swapan Mahmud moderated the programme.
Among others, President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, President of Dhaka Union of Journalists Omar Faruk, General Secretary Jahangir Alam Pradhan, President of a faction of BFUJ Ruhul Amin Gazi, and Treasurer Khairuzzaman Kamal spoke.
[Dhaka, 23 Novemebr 2013] Rights group VOICE, Media Watch and International Press Institute (IPI) jointly organized a human chain in front of National Press Club in Dhaka today to mark the International Day to End Impunity. Speakers called to end Impunity and demanded to stop violence against journalists, bloggers, writers while urged to attain justice within the judicial system. In observance of International Day to End Impunity, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the civil society attended the human chain.