Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) organized a discussion meeting on “Gender-friendly Legislature: Ensuring Justice for Women and Girls against Violence” on September 19, 2023. The event was chaired by Dr. Fauzia Moslem, President of the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad. Adv. Masuda Rehana Begum, Joint General Secretary (BMP), presented a written paper. The Chief Guest at the event was Mr. Md. Ferdous Wahid, Additional District and Sessions Judge (Fifth Court).
While presenting the written paper, Adv. Masuda Rehana Begum, Joint General Secretary, discussed the efforts made to ensure justice and prevent violence against women. She mentioned that various limitations in women-friendly laws were removed, but separate tribunals created to prevent abuse have not been effective due to delays in the judicial process. She called on lawyers to consider practical solutions rather than just academic thinking. She also highlighted the challenges in preventing violence against women and girls and provided recommendations to overcome these challenges.
Chief guest, Judge Mr. Md. Ferdous Wahid, described the importance of gender equality and women’s rights, including equal property rights and speedy trial of the cases of VAWG. He also highlighted the need for counseling of the victims and strict enforcement of laws to prevent internet misuse and encouraged men to take part in household chores.
Special guest Senior Advocate S. M. A. Sabur believes that all crimes against women are crimes against humanity and that there should be equal opportunities for men and women in society and wealth accumulation. The discussion highlights the importance of fighting for gender equality. He said lawyers should try strongly to ensure this.
Abdul Baten, former Vice President and General Secretary of the Dhaka Bar Association, and Chairman of the Legal Education Committee of Bangladesh Bar Council suggests conducting research to reduce family breakdown and divorce caused by increasing cases of minor conflicts between spouses.
Other guests of the law profession said that efforts should be made to change the mentality of those who belittle women and ensure the safety of women who file cases, promoting gender equality and amending laws to end violence against women. Social movements and raising awareness among women and men in rural areas are necessary to stop violence against women and girls.
Dr. Fauzia Moslem highlighted the inequality and violence faced by women due to the power dynamics in society. She emphasized the need for prioritizing women’s rights in legal cases, reducing trial delays, and providing legal assistance to the victims. Without addressing violence against women, their position in society will remain weak and subordinate.
General Secretary Maleka Banu said Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has been working for 53 years to protect women’s rights, but there are still challenges in establishing equality. She urged young lawyers to provide legal assistance to the women victims of violence and become human rights defenders.
Senior Advocate S. M. A. Sabur, former Vice President and General Editor of the Dhaka Bar Association, Abdul Baten, Senior Vice Chairman of the Legal Education Committee of the Bangladesh Bar Council, and Dhaka Bar Association, and Advocate Ruman Jamman Ritu, Senior Vice Chairman of the Dhaka Bar Association and Deputy Attorney General of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Anwara Shahjahan were present. The President of the Dhaka Bar Association, Advocate M. Mizanur Rahman Mamun, former Senior Vice Chairman of the Dhaka Bar Association and Deputy Attorney General of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Kazi Shahana Yasmin, General Editor of the Dhaka Bar Association, Advocate Khondkar Golam Kibria (Jobayer), and Advocate Md. Asaduzzaman Khan (Rochi) was also present as a special guest. Prominent lawyers Shariful Alam Rajib, Aulad Hossen, and Morsheda Khatoon Shilpi participated in the open discussion.
The meeting was attended by hundreds of lawyers and journalists
The central legal aid sub-committee Secretary Rekha Saha and legal aid sub-committee member Ad. Halima Akhtar conducted the meeting.