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.


12 new development goals proposed by the UN High Level Panel

By farjana - Posted on 31 May 2013

Beyond 2015, a global civil society campaign on the post-2015 development agenda which brings together more than 700 organizations in over 100 countries welcomes the UN High Level Panel’s ambitious report on the post-2015 agenda.

Reacting to the launch of the report, Neva Frecheville of CAFOD in the UK and co-chair of Beyond 2015 said “Civil society has been clear on the need for a universal framework to replace the MDGs in 2015. The High Level Panel has reiterated this demand, and this will hopefully galvanise action in both developing and developed countries, helping tackle the underlying causes of global poverty, inequality and environmental degradation and thus shifting the current development paradigm. We applaud the Panel for its boldness in pushing developed countries to reform trade, tax and transparency policies, to tackle illicit capital flows, to regulate global financial and commodity markets, and to prompt large multinational corporations to report on the social, environmental, and economic impact of their activities. These actions, more than aid alone, will help bring about the transformation required in this world. For this vision to become reality there needs to be a major change in political will and in global cooperation, and that will be the real challenge.”

Workshop Held on Towards Ensuring Better Results and Accountability of Foreign Aid

By farjana - Posted on 29 May 2013

A divisional level workshop titled `Towards Ensuring Better Results and Accountability of Foreign Aid: Reaching out to Stakeholders’ has been held in Cox’sbazar, Bangladesh on 9 May 2013 jointly organized by the Economic Relations Division with support from the multi-donor supported Aid Effectiveness Project being implemented. It was co-financed by AusAid, Bangladesh Government, Danida, DFID and UNDP. The workshop was attended by various stakeholders such as key district administration officials, heads of all major government offices in the district, local government representatives such Mayors, Upazilla Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen, academics, civil society representatives and media.  The workshop aims at spreading out the aid effectiveness agenda among cross section of stakeholders, thereby creating a national demand for result oriented and transparent development cooperation in Bangladesh.

Training workshop on `Privacy, Human Rights and Communication Surveillance: National Laws, Practices and Safeguards’

By farjana - Posted on 05 May 2013

 

A day long training workshop on `Privacy, Human Rights and Communication Surveillance: National Laws, Practices and Safeguards’ has been held on 27 April 2013 at the CBCB (Catholic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh), Dhaka. 

The workshop discussed the issues of privacy and communication surveillance along with the existing practices on legal and policy regulations to raise critical awareness and develop perspective with the human rights framework. It discussed how to build a broader constituency creating capacity and strengthening networking through raising voices to uphold privacy rights being critical on communication surveillance in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh : An Assessment of Freedom of Expression Online

By farjana - Posted on 28 April 2013

A report on freedom of expression online and right to internet access in Bangladesh which has been published by VOICE in January 2013. 

This report analyzes the situation in Bangladesh based on the recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. It investigates the country situation on what extent online freedom of expression in Bangladesh confirms the standards of national and international laws and policies.

This report draws the overview of the internet in Bangladesh describing the access and infrastructure, service quality and internet exchange gateways. It also describes the overview of United Nations Special Rapporteur Frank’s La Rue’s report and highlights the assessment of the recommendations while the report assesses the prevailing situation. This report also briefly discuss the political and human rights situation, policy framework of the internet in Bangladesh including the Telecommunication Policy of 1998, Telecommunication Act-2001, and the Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT).

A workshop on `Privacy, Human Rights and Communication Surveillance: National Laws, Practices and Safeguards

By farjana - Posted on 23 April 2013

A training workshop on `Privacy, Human Rights and Communication Surveillance: National Laws, Practices and Safeguards’ will be held on 27 April 2013 at CBCB (Catholic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh), 24/C Asad Avenue, Mohammadpur,  Dhaka-1207.

The workshop aims at broadly discussing the issues of privacy and communication surveillance along with the existing practices on regulations 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 the privacy rights issues.

The workshop will be attended by grassroots activists to national including CSOs, NGOs, journalists, academicians, lawyers, rights groups, online groups, consumers, trade unions, IT companies and relevant professional bodies.

Post-2015 MDGs: SBY urged to advocate for developing countries

By farjana - Posted on 27 March 2013

A world forum of civil society organizations is urging President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to push for greater state responsibility to ensure people’s welfare, especially in developing countries. 

Discussions on a global post- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) still “lean to a market-based development approach, which means the expansion of the market that minimizes the responsibility of the state,” Sugeng Bahagijo of the international NGO the Indonesian Development Forum (INFID), said on Monday in Nusa Dua, Bali.

“The trend is for each country to recognize voluntary action in implementing the global development framework [which] is not binding and would be detrimental to the people. The responsibility of states must be laid out clearly through a binding universal mechanism,” Sugeng added. 

A 24-member advisory panel will meet on Tuesday after discussions on Monday between scholars, representatives of the public sector, civil society organizations and youth organziations. 

On Wednesday two of the three cochairs of the Bali High Level Panel, Yudhoyono and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will conclude the talks, while cochair UK Prime Minister David Cameron will participate by video conference. 

Tax emerges as crucial issue in post-2015 development talks

By farjana - Posted on 27 March 2013

 

Members of the UN high-level panel meet in Bali this week. Tax evasion is expected to feature in the discussions

 Tax evasion by multinationals and corrupt leaders has emerged as a key issue ahead of the third substantive meeting of a UN high-level panel to discuss a framework for development after 2015.

The theme of this week's meeting in the sweltering Indonesian resort island of Bali is global partnership, the orphan child of the millennium development goals (MDGs). Devoid of clear targets, MDG8 talks in general terms about an open, rule-based trading and financial system, dealing with debt burdens, providing access to affordable essential medicines, and increasing access to new technologies. Goal eight also mentions fostering links between the public and private sector to drive better development.

Yet momentum is building up among NGOs, poor countries and some rich countries to ensure that developing countries build up their tax base at a time when aid flows are under pressure, notwithstanding Britain's commitment to meet, this year, the UN target of spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on aid.

Civil Society Communiqué: The Global CSO Forum on the Post-­‐2015 Development Agenda March 23-­‐24, 2013, Bali, Indonesia

By farjana - Posted on 25 March 2013

As the fourth meeting of the High-­‐Level Panel on the Post-­‐2015 Development Agenda begins in Bali, Indonesia, we, the members of global, regional and national civil society urge the HLP to be ambitious by setting a framework for transformative, universal, people-­‐centered development. We call on the HLP to outline the bold and relevant commitments needed to ensure a new paradigm for sustainable development, firmly rooted in existing economic, social, cultural, civil and political human rights obligations.

For a full document please see the attached file.

 

A Red Flag for the Post-­‐2015 High Level Panel

By farjana - Posted on 25 March 2013

As members of civil society representing diverse constituencies and communities around the world, including over one billion impoverished people,we are deeply concerned about the direction that the High Level Panelon Post 2015 Development may take, particularly as regards the roles of government, business and multilateral institutions in any sustainable development agenda

For a full document please see the attached file

 

Govt urged not to curb freedom of expression online

By farjana - Posted on 23 March 2013

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Journalists, academics, rights activists and civil society representatives on Tuesday urged the government not to curb citizens’ freedom of expression by controlling internet use. 

They made the call at a dialogue on ‘Challenges and opportunities of freedom of expression online in Bangladesh’ and the launch of a report ‘Bangladesh: an assessment of freedom expression online’ at a local hotel in the capital.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression programme launched the report.

The speakers observed that there was no need to formulate an online policy, saying that the Shahbagh movement itself was the result of blogging or online activities.

Referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the speakers at the programme emphasised the need to ensure right to freedom of expression online and pluralism in society.

The event was organised by VOICE, in association with Bangladesh Manabadhikar Sangbadik Forum, Campaign on Citizen Right to Information, Equity and Justice Working Group, Online Knowledge Society, Sushashaner Jonno Pracharavijan, School of Communications and Cultural Metaphysics.