Inter Generation Dialogue ‘Projonmo Shonglap’ Marks End of Violence Against Women Campaign in Bangladesh

By Arthur Erken, Country Representative, UNFPA

Activism against Gender Violence Campaign

Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dec 20, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Closing Ceremony of the 16 Days’ Activism Campaign including the Inter Generation Dialogue ‘Projonmo Shonglap’ and the Award Giving Ceremony of Good Practices Contest on Violence Against Women at the Carnival Hall, Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), Agargaon, Dhaka held today December 20, 2012, beginning at 9-30am in the morning.

Md Ashraf Hossain, Director General, Department of Women Affairs, MoWCA, delivering his welcome speech said, we have identified and prepared some parameters after conducting a countrywide research work at all walks of life and we have successfully spread the main objective of this campaign to the remote regions. We convey our sincere gratitude to UNFPA for their earnest support for the cause.

Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. In her speech she called for all to end once and for all this demonic practice which is a social malice and said that, we have to build awareness among the mass people regarding all kinds of gender violence. We have worked with UN organizations, various NGOs, to spread the message among the grass root people and our initiatives have gained expected success, because we have witnessed that in all our seminars, rallies, discussion sessions throughout the country, the mass people from all walks of life have participated spontaneously. In our various programs, we have successfully identified the causes which trigger this gender violence. We have pointed out that some issues starts at the family, some are social issues, some are for financial and economical reasons, and some are due to judicial system. We have sought out how to resolve these issues. But we should all be very vocal to eliminate violence against women in all aspect.

In addition, Mr Arthur Erken, UNFPA Representative in Bangladesh as well as Special Guest of the ceremony also spoke on the occasion. He said, unfortunately we still could not achieve our goal which is total elimination of gender violence. Violence against women affects us all from various perspectives. It is a threat to a peaceful co-existence. It also threatens all socially and economically. We thank MoWCA as it has helped us to accelerate our movement and this campaign regarding elimination of violence against women. We have initiated some preventive measures and these are very effective. Our positive movement should continue everyday. 25 Nov 2012 a very tragic event took place at Tajreen garments, where 111 female workers burnt to death. Its a sad thing because 25th Nov is the International Day to mark Violence Against Women. But I just want to say that all these 111 women did not die in vein. We have to develop ZERO tolerance towards violence against women. We have to build awareness and find out whether all these gender violence victims are getting proper police and judicial support or not. The social security, the Police force, the Justice system has to be strengthened to fight against gender violence and ensure gender equity in all aspects.

The second session of the day began at 3-30pm in the afternoon with an Award Giving Ceremony after this accompanied by a documentary show on three best practices and speeches. The award recipients are Protiggya Parishad (Comilla), Ms. Razia sarker(Women empowerment in Kurigram), Mahideb Jubo somaj Kallayan Somity (Kurigram), RDRS (Rangpur), Sayeda Shirin Akther, Women Support Center (Cox’s Bazar), and Md. Mesbahun Nabi (DIG of Police). Besides, Women Support Center (Bhola) and BRAC also received awards respectively for regional and nationwide campaigns.

The State Minister for the Ministry of Women and Childrens’ Affairs Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury gave her closing speech and brought an end to the 16-day campaign.

However, in the morning session an inter-Generation dialogue titled ‘Projonmo Shonglap’ was held at the same venue. Channel I, BTV, Bangladesh Betar and Prothom Alo were the media partners for this event.

It might be mentioned that, to mark this year’s “16 Days Activism” against Gender Violence Campaign, Department of Women Affairs and UNFPA organized a Inter Generation Dialogue Program titled Projonmo Shonglaap starting from November 30 to December 18, 2012 considering new ways to utilize the campaign for transformative change. Under the Ministry for Woman and Child Affairs, this dialogue program took place in 7 divisional headquarters of the country.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign is an international campaign that was initiated by the Centre for Women’s Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. The 16 Days started from November 25, International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women (VAW) to December 10, International Human Rights Day to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

The concept of this dialogue program is to create a platform (TV show) where the young and elder generation would be brought to share their viewpoint regarding the selected issue in each episode. In every location, a case study about a victim was shown and the participants of the program shared their observation following the incident and relevant issues.