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[Dhaka, 29 December 2010] Speakers at a workshop on ‘privacy and human rights’ demanded to ensure personal information protection to ensure civil liberty and human rights. The workshop was held today (29 Dec 2010) at the conference hall of Chatholic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB) in the city organized by rights based activist group VOICE and Privacy International. Speakers also called upon the government to enact a privacy act to protect privacy, personal information, correspondence and means of communication of people.
Syed Marghub Morshed, former chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), eminent socio-economist Dr. Piash Karim from BRAC university, eminent journalist Selim Samad, Tahmina Rahman, country director of Article 19, economist Mohiuddin Ahmed, human rights activist Khairuzzaman Kamal from Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) journalist Shahidul Shuvra, Khawaza Main Uddin, Kawsar Uddin spoke in the meeting among others. The human rights organizations, women groups, CSOs, NGOs, journalists, and activist groups attended the workshop.
The JCS itself declared that it was made ‘in order to implement our commitment made in Paris and Accra’ where the major part of these forums of including CSOs in the process was overlooked. Moreover, the JCS described a monitoring flow chart keeping Aid Effectiveness Working Group in the middle of Policy Making and Implementation. However not a single Working Group includes a single representative of CSOs in the process," said the speakers at the multi-stakeholders consultation on Aid Effectiveness on the Context of Joint Cooperation Strategy held in CIRDAP auditorium at Dhaka today, jointly organized by Aid Accountability Group (AAG) and The Reality of Aid Network.
Chairman of Pally Karmasahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr. Quazi Khalikuzzama presided over the meeting. Former Finance Advisor Mirza Azizul Islam, eminent economist Professor Anu Muhammad, Joint Secretary of Economics Relations Division (ERD) Bijon Kumar Baishya, Former Secretary of Finance and Team Leader of Paris Declaration Evaluation-phase-2 Siddiqur Rahman Chowdhury, Representative of Reality of Aid Ava Danlog, Deputy Country Director of DFID Diana Dalton, European Union Attache of Aid Effectiveness Julia Jacoby, Women Leader Khusi Kabir and Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Convenor of AAG were present among others.
Consultation Demands a Tri-party Relationship among NGOs, Government and Development Partners to Make Aid More Effective
[Dhaka, 25 August 2010] A national consultation titled `Engagement of Civil Society in Aid Effectiveness’ has been held at the national press club in the city today. The consultation was attended by a wide range of civil society groups including NGOs, community organizations, women rights groups, research and advocacy organizations, trade union groups, academicians, human rights organizations, media and activists. Eminent economist Dr. Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Kormo Sahayak Foundation, Dr. Piash Karim from Brac University, Mohsin Ali, coordinator of Governance Advocacy Forum spoke in the meeting among others. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director of VOICE and Convenor of the Aid Accountability Group (AAG) moderated the consultation.
The meeting suggested to reform the aid delivery management and architecture to create enabling environment for the civil society organizations to make aid more effective. Speakers also said that a tri-party coordination among government-NGO and development agencies is also indispensable to achieve the goals and objectives of the Paris Declaration and Accra Action Agenda, and this should be the integral part of aid and development cooperation.
Independent CSO Watch Group Should be Formed to Ensure Aid Effectiveness:
Capacity and Efficiency of CSOs should be developed
Mymensingh, Bangladesh, 21 August 2010
A day-long consultation on “Civil Society Engagement on Aid Effectiveness” was held at the District Council Auditorium in Mymensingh on 21st August 2010. Jointly organized by Aid Accountability Group (AAG) and The Reality of Aid Network, 70 participants along with the local government representatives, political leaders, social workers, women organizations, NGOs, human rights organizations, journalists and activists of greater Mymensingh region participated in the program. Upazilla Chairman of Mymensingh Sadar Mr. Faijur Raman Fakir was present as chief guest while Yazdani Quraeshi, President of Supro (Campaign for Good Governance-CGG) Mymensingh district presided over the meeting.
Dhaka, 08 August 2010
A 2-day long Capacity Building Workshop titled “Development Results: Engaging CSOs In Aid Effectiveness” held at the CBCB Auditorium in Dhaka on 7-8 August 2010. The workshop was jointly organized by Aid Accountability Group (AAG) and The Reality of Aid Network. A number of fifty participants from different civil society organizations and activists of different part of the country took part in the program.
Among others, Ahmed Swapan, Convenor of AAG, Abdul Awal of Noakhali Rural Development Society (NRDS), Mohosin Ali of Wave Foundation, Arup Rahee of Lokoj Institute, Rashed Titumir of Unnayan Onneshan, Ratan Sarker of INCIDIN-Bangladesh, Dipu Shamsul Islam of Speed Trust, Mousumi Biswas of SUPRO, Nayela Akter of BNPS, Md. Atiqul Islam Chowdhury of Equitybd, Sajjad Ansari of ISOL, Rejaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust, Subal Sarker of Bangladesh Bhumiheen Somity, Mohiuddin Md. Akber of KORMI (Pabna), Dahar Khan of Interaction, Madhab C Dutta of SODESH were present.
[VOICE, Dhaka, 31 May 2010]
VOICE expresses its serious concern over the infringement of freedom of expression and the government’s control on the access to information through blocking the social networking site, Facebook.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) blocked access to Facebook last Saturday, 29 May 2010. Facebook is increasingly becoming a popular online medium among the youth to stay connected with important opportunities and contacts and perform their socio-cultural, family or livelihood- related activities. Close to one million users in Bangladesh now log on to Facebook on a regular basis.
While we condemn the posting of anti-Islamic elements on Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (SM), porn links or uploading satiric images of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition- for which the Government has allegedly banned Facebook, we believe such banning would not help to stop the causes. It only blocks the ‘Freedom of Expression’ rights, Right to Information ACT enacted last year and will only tarnish the image of the country abroad. Such banning is also contrary to the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ declaration of the present Governent, that has got many young people to vote for them.
[Dhaka, May 3, 2010] VOICE, rights-based research and advocacy organization based in Dhaka called for solidarity to observe the Asian Day of Action against Privatization of Essential Services. The Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) and the Campaign Network on the Right to Essential Services and Natural Resources (RTRS) declared May 4 as the Asian Day of Action Against Privatization of Essential Services while VOICE being its members called for strengthening civil society voices against blanket privatization of essential services including heath and education. The day of action coincides with the 43rd Annual Governors Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Taskent, Uzbekistan. The observation of the day aims at standing against the ADB’s role in privatizing water, power, and other essential services in the region.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE urges all sects of society to resist and oppose the imposition and financing of privatization of water and power and other essential services. He said that due to privatization process in Bangladesh, people have already been affected and the poor became the worst sufferers. He further added to stop financing private sector monopolization of
water, power, health and education sectors in Bangladesh.
14 December 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark – Protesters from Asia, Latin America, Africa and other regions of the world staged a lively demonstration in front of the Bella Center today to demand reparations from highly-industrialized countries for their climate debt and for the World Bank and its sister institutions to stay out of climate finance.
The demonstrators demanded that on industrialized countries including the United States, Great Britain and Japan to give reparations for the climate debt they owe to the peoples of the South, developing countries and marginalized communities everywhere. The capitalist industrialization of these countries were said to have driven the excessive carbon emissions of the past two centuries, and were undertaken at a very high cost now being shouldered by developing countries who are most vulnerable to climate-induced disasters.
International Campaign on Climate Refugees’ Rights (ICCR) launched at Copenhagen
[Copenhagen, Friday 11 December 2009] While the countries split wide open on combating climate change, the civil soiceity groups have launched `International Campaign on Climate Refugees’ Rights’ (ICCR) at Copenhagen. The social movement groups from Asia, Africa and Latin/Central America joined hands together to demand the rights of millions of people being displaced by the climate change.
Opening the launching of the campaign, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, convenor of the ICCR said, "global civil society groups should come forward to build a wider constituency to claim the justice and rights of the climate induced refugees".
[VOICE Release, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, 16 November 2009]
Civil society organizations, human rights activists, researchers, academicians gathered in the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) taking place in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt strongly criticized UN for removal of a poster during the meeting of Open Net Initiative (ONI) held on the first day of the UN IGF on 15 December 2009. The poster mentioned internet censorship and China's Great Firewall.