NEWS: Bangladesh Women with Disabilities Hold National Dialogue

Posted on 16 December 2008. Filed under: News, South Asian Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Press Release on “National Dialogue on the Rights of Women with Disabilities”
A “National Dialogue on the Rights of Women with Disabilities” was held at the Dhaka Press Club VIP Lounge in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 27 November 2008 between 10.00 am to 01.00 pm. The conference was well attended, with over 120 participants, from a wide range of backgrounds— individuals living with disabilities and their families, political leaders, foreign mission/high commission representatives, National/International NGO representatives, providers of disability and social support services. A Number of important government officials and media personnel were also present. The conference opened with a welcoming address from Mr. Abdus Sattar Dulal, the founder and Executive Director of BPKS, the sponsoring agency for the event. Ashrafun Nahar, Coordinator of the Women with Disabilities Network at BPKS presented the key note paper for the program. Also addressing the participants were Mr. Bill Winkley, Executive Director, One Family International and Charles Whitley, First Secretary of the European Commission to Bangladesh, Kamar Munir, Joint Secretary and Alimusshan, Additional Secretary, NGO affairs Buroue. The program was organized by BPKS, with support from the European Union. Mr Rezul Karim, Secretary for Forest and Environment Ministry of Bangladesh spoke as chief guest that we should do our duty properly concerning WWDs right and they should included in mainstream development process strongly. They are the part of our society and nation also.

Information was also provided about the situation for Women with Disabilities, their needs and their rights. The objective of the dialogue was to provide an opportunity for participants to learn about the complex issues facing WWDs at the individual, social and national levels.

The Dialogue resulted in the generation of a number of key recommendations in relation to Women with disabilities and;
• Women’s Development policy
• Women Rights
• Accessible environment
• Education
• Employment and Economic independence
• Political empowerment
• Economical participation
• Justice in relation to violence against women

Established in 1985, BPKS works all over the country. Nationally and internationally, BPKS provides information, guidance and support in forming representative disabled people’s organizations and promoting the self confidence and capacity building of individuals and groups at the grassroots level. It is replicating its own approach, called PSID (Persons with Disability Self Initiative to Development) to build the self-reliance and strength of persons with disabilities. BPKS networks with a variety of other agencies to motivate persons with disabilities so that maximum development impact can be achieved. With the support of its donors, BPKS works improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities throughout the country. To find out more about the work of BPKS and how you can get involved, please visit www.bpksbd.org or call 880-2-2892 3915.

Recommendations on the Rights of Girls and Women with Disabilities

For girls and women with disabilities in Bangladesh to live life with dignity, the following recommendations for action are made;
1. Barriers should be removed so that women with disabilities can access the justice system when crimes or incidents of discrimination are committed against them.
2. Perpetrators of crimes against women should be appropriately trialed and punished and where a crime results in disability, the victim should have access to rehabilitation services and due compensation.
3. Women with disabilities should have access to vocational training programs that take into account their skills and abilities as well as their support needs.
4. Girls and women with disabilities should have access to affordable education. They should also be provided with assistive devices to assist in their social integration and their learning. More scholarships should also be available to support girls with disabilities from poor family backgrounds.
5. Girls and women with disabilities should be actively encouraged to participate in cultural, artistic and sporting activities.
6. Vocational skills training should be provided to women with disabilities so that they may participate more competitively in the labor market.
7. Women with disabilities should have access to appropriate employment that matches their skill and education level. Further job opportunities should be created and current employment quotas should be preserved and adhered to.
8. Based on assessment of need, girls and women with disabilities should be provided with assistive devices to assist them in activities of daily living.
9. Women holding positions of leadership in political parties or other organizations should be supported to maintain their roles in the event that they should become disabled.
10. Quota systems prioritizing employment of women with disabilities should be more widely applied to the labor market.
11. All girls and women with disabilities should have access to affordable and appropriate health care services.
12. All new built environments, including cyclone shelters should be accessible to women with disabilities and those that are not should be modified to accommodate them.
13. Women’s participation in agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestation sectors should be actively encouraged and likewise, those sectors should also be encouraged to involve women.
14. Publicity in the media that portrays women in an undignified or disempowering manner should be stopped. The media should be encouraged to portray women in ways that demonstrate their contribution to society, their abilities, their power and their agency.
15. Women with disabilities should have equal access to skills training in the mass communication sector so that they can participate more widely in television, radio and print media.
16. Women with disabilities should be actively encouraged and supported to participate in the Women’s Development Implementation and Evaluation Committee.
17. Women with disabilities should be actively encouraged and supported to participate in district and Upazila level committees.
18. Women with disabilities should be actively encouraged and supported to participate in grassroots organizations.
19. The needs and rights of women with disabilities should be incorporated into the work plans and schedules of Government Ministries, National planning bodies, as well as International and National NGOs.

TODAYS RECOMMENDATION

20. All women throughout the country should have access to quality pre and post natal maternal care and additional support should be available for families where there is a child with a disability. Maternity leave should also be more widely available and extended to six months.
21. WWDs should have greater access to public transport. This should be guaranteed in law, but also addressed through a public awareness raising campaign for the general public.
22. Awareness raising campaigns are also needed to help address the widespread discrimination faced by WWDs. This should also focus on changing attitudes amongst men.
23. Awareness raising campaigns are also needed to encourage families to support their girls with disabilities to attend school.
24. A national survey is needed on the situation of people with disabilities throughout the country. This is essential to assist in district and National level planning processes.
25. A new act is needed for WWD’s and PWDs.
26. Fruitful counseling needed for PWDs and WWDs.
27. Role of media in raising awareness and educating the community should be strengthened.
28. Independent hospital for acid burned women is needed.
29. Day long consultation meeting for Govt. And NGO institute about PWDS rights and needs.



The press release and set of recommendations was recently circulated by Bangladesh Protibandhi Kallyan Somity (BPKS).

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