Promoting Unity and Investment: Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP)’s Press Conference on Ending Violence against Women and Girls, Invest to Prevent Violence

On November 25, 2023, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) organized a press conference at the Jahur Hossain Chowdhury Auditorium of the National Press Club (18, Topkhana Road, Dhaka). The conference was held to promote the message of “Unite to End Violence against Women and Girls, Invest to Prevent Violence” in observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Human Rights Day (November 25 – December 10, 2023).

Dr. Fauzia Moslem, President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, attended the press conference as a moderator. Rekha Saha, Legal Aid secretary of BMP, presented a written statement.

Reports published in 13 daily newspapers between January and October this year revealed that there have been 2,575 incidents of violence against women and girls in Bangladesh. This includes 433 cases of murder and 397 cases of rape, which is extremely concerning. The Bangladesh Mahila Parishad believes that a coordinated effort is necessary to prevent violence against women and girls. This involves implementing laws and policies, increasing the capacity and sensitivity of service providers, allocating funds in the gender budget to address gender-based violence, collecting accurate data on violence against women, identifying its causes, and conducting research by the government and non-governmental organizations. Additionally, raising awareness, empowering women’s rights organizations, and involving relevant stakeholders in providing financial support to women’s movements are crucial. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad emphasizes the importance of unity and initiatives from the media and civil society in increasing public awareness and advocating for women’s rights. Alongside individual, family, and societal responsibilities, there are recommendations for the government and the women’s movement on the necessary actions to be taken.

Dr. Fauzia Moslem addressed journalists questions by stating that the laws regarding rape and the marriage of a victim with the perpetrator do not mention ending marriage as a solution. She emphasized that marrying the perpetrator is not acceptable and violates the dignity and safety of women. Incidents of rape and violence have led to a rise in suicide among young students. To prevent such incidents, mental support and counseling services are needed. She also highlighted child marriage as a major cause of increasing violence against women, not only in poor families but also in middle-class families. Laws against dowry and its prohibition exist, but they are not effectively enforced. Dowry-related violence, murder, and suicide are on the rise, along with an increase in divorce rates. Dr. Fauzia Moslem elaborated on the importance of establishing the rule of law, creating a female-friendly work environment, ensuring safe public transportation and spaces, providing women with economic empowerment, and expanding efforts to end violence against women without blaming the victims.

The conference was attended by Vice President Rekha Chowdhury and Shahana Kabir, general secretary; Maleka Banu, joint general secretary; Shima Moslem, and advocate Masuda Rehana Begum. Along with other leaders & secretaries, journalists from print and electronic media also attended the event. The event was organized by BMP program officer (counseling), Sabikun Nahar.

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