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.


Initiate district budget for rural development: Rights group

By farjana - Posted on 23 May 2011

Rights activists urged the government to initiate district budget in the national budget for the next financial year for the development of rural areas as well as achieving the Vision 2021 as envisaged.

They said that the present budget preparation as colonial top down process and there is no alternative to achieve Vision 2021without district budget.

They were speaking at a rally organised by 14 rights based civil society organisations led by EquityBD in front of the National Press Club on Saturday. The organisations include Arpon, Ahish, Online Knowledge Centre, EquityBD, Eso, SDO, MABS, Lead Trust, Prodip, BNNRC, Voice, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Krihsok Federation and Sirak Bangladesh.

SM Saikat of Sirak Bangladesh said people have no participation in preparing the budget. Nor the people from district level have the means to monitor implementation of the budget. Absence of people’s participation in the process and implementation of the budget has given the rise of pervasive corruption.

Feroze Ahmed of Lead Trust said the top down process is basically responsible for growing trend of widening the gap of regional disparity.

Apply to go to HLF4 in Busan-Deadline 8th May!

By voice - Posted on 05 May 2011

Help civil society make its voice clear at this year’s High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea!

This year VOICE is helping to co-ordinate the selection process for NGO representation and we need your voice in Busan. It is vital for civil society to have a strong presence at this forum. The Fourth High Level Forum (HLF4) on Aid Effectiveness will take place in Busan, South Korea, 29 November - 1 December, preceded by civil society organisations' pre-activities forum the 26-28 November. Applications close on 8 May. Apply here.


If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact 
Clare Birkett   cbirkett@eurodad.org
Krister Holm   kholm@ibon.org
Farjana Akter  farjanakter@gmail.com    


Rights groups protest $1b conditional IMF loan

By farjana - Posted on 20 April 2011

Dhaka, Apr 19: Thirteen right based civil society organizations led by Equity BD on Tuesday demonstrated, held rally and formed human chain in front of national press club to protest government’s move to take one billion dollar conditional loan from the IMF. They urged the government not to take the loan with condition of money contraction and VAT expansion which are anti-poor and against the nation.

The right groups are Arpan, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Kishani Shova, Coastal Development Partnership, Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Equity BD, Lead Trust, La via Campesina Bangladesh, Media Foundation for Trade and Development, On Line Knowledge Center, Pradip, VOICE and Uddipan.

Zaid Iqbal Khan of Krishok Federation mentioned that the government has already withdrawn bank ceiling on loan. This will reduce the loan flow for long term investment and thereby no new employment opportunity.

Subal Sarkar of Bhumihin Shamiti stated that in line with IMF conditionality government will have reduce subsidy in fuel and fertilizers ultimately which will create problem for farmers.
Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD said the country still has comfort level of remittance flow and export growth. Import cost has increased but even with WTO provision government can reduce import, thus government has no need of embark on IMF loan.

World Bank Under Fire for Role in New Global Green Fund

By farjana - Posted on 07 April 2011

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Apr 6, 2011 (IPS) - The World Bank is facing mounting opposition from a broad network of green and grassroots activists over its role in a new global Green Climate Fund (GCF) aimed at helping developing countries combat the ravages of climate change.

"In spite of the climate and economic crises, the World Bank continues to finance fossil fuel projects at an alarming rate, promote false solutions to the climate crisis, and use funding instruments that increase indebtedness of developing countries," charged a coalition of nearly 100 local and international civil society organisations in a letter released here during on- going negotiations at the first of three U.N. climate change conferences to be held in the lead up to the Durban COP17 summit in late November.

"The World Bank is not suited to advise in the design of a fund that must ensure fair and effective long-term financing based on the principles of environmental integrity, equity, sustainable development and democracy," noted the two-page letter, whose signatories included global groups like Action Aid and International Rivers, regional groups like the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and local groups like the Bolivian Climate Change Platform.

MARKETS SKEW CLIMATE TALKS TO FAVOUR RICH

By farjana - Posted on 06 April 2011

A sharing meeting on Impacts of ADB’s Projects and Policies: Perspective of Civil Societies and People’s Movement

By farjana - Posted on 27 February 2011

A sharing meeting on `Impacts of ADB’s Projects and Policies: Perspective of Civil Societies and People’s Movement` to be held on Monday, 28 February 2011 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the CBCB Conference Hall ( 24/C Asad avenue, Mohammadpur, Dhaka).

A findings of the study on 'Mainstreaming Climate Change in National Policy Development Using Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process in Water Resource Management' will be presented in the meeting.

For further information please call us, 0088-02-8158688, 0088-01711881919 or email us, ahmed.swapan@gmail.com.

AMAR EKUSHEY BOOK FAIR (BOI MELA 2011)

By farjana - Posted on 05 February 2011

VOICE has been participating in the 2011 Amar Ekushey Book Fair (Boi Mela) held in Bangla Academy, Dhaka that will continue until February 28th. VOICE has participated in the book fair, presenting publications including books, reports, newsletters, posters and other publications. VOICE also keeps books and reports from national and international organizations with whom VOICE has been closely working.

The participation of VOICE in the Book Fair helps disseminate information valued by VOICE, more specifically around the issues of globalization, trade, aid effectiveness, climate change, privacy rights,  ICTs and information rights, IFIs, food and agriculture and of politics. By participating in the book fair, VOICE is taking the opportunity to build a wider constituency and raise critical awareness among the stakeholders including teachers, students, politicians, researchers, citizen actors, NGOs, activists, researchers etc, around these issues.

You are welcome to visit our stall no-348, Little Magazine Corner, Bangla Academy, Dhaka.

Formation of ‘privacy commission' demanded

By farjana - Posted on 29 January 2011

Observation of Data Privacy Day

A non-government organisation has demanded formation of independent 'Privacy Commission' in a bid to establish the rights of secrecy and protect personal information, reports bdnews24.com.

'Voice,' a development research organisation, made the demand at a press conference on Friday on the eve of International Privacy Day.

The organisation also urged the government to amend the Telecommunications Act-2006 to protect the rights to personal privacy.

Different European countries, along with the USA, have been observing Jan 28 as 'Data Privacy Day' since 2008. Several Asian countries have started observing the day this year.
The executive director of 'Voice,' Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, said that the road to economic advancement and the communications of the people were extended due to the Right to Information Act and the development of information technology, 'but personal privacy rights were being violated through it.'

As per the Telecommunications Act, Mahmud said, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), police and Detective Branch (DB) can eavesdrop anyone's phone call for the security of the country, "but one has to take permission from the authorities to protect personal information, if there is a Privacy Commission."

Observation of Privacy Day

By farjana - Posted on 26 January 2011

A press conference will be held on the observation of Privacy Day on 28 January 2011 from 11am  at National Press Club, Dhaka.

For further information please call us, 0088-02-8158688, 0088-01711881919 or email us, ahmed.swapan@gmail.com.

 

Personal info protection law demanded

By farjana - Posted on 30 December 2010

Civil rights activists and media professionals have called for enactment of a law to protect privacy and personal information from intrusion for upholding principles of civil liberty and human rights.

At a workshop on ‘privacy and human rights’ on Wednesday, they said private life and rights of citizens are being affected by misuse of technology and sometimes undue interventions by the government agencies.

Rights-based activist group VOICE and Privacy International jointly organised the workshop at the conference hall of Catholic Bishop Conference of Bangladesh in the city.

Syed Marghub Morshed, former chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, said the state should not cause any harm to individuals in the name of surveillance and should rather uphold the democratic rights of people.

He criticised the move to track individuals through the process of issuing biometric passport, voters’ identity cards and registration of mobile phones.

In his keynote paper, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud said both the state and the corporate companies were engaged in violating the individuals’ rights through massive surveillance on them.