Symposium Grass root protection of minority rightson
Shahanur Islam at March 16th, 2012
JusticeMakers Bangladesh – Advocate Shahanur Islam, Founding Secretary General
Representing his newly established organization, JusticeMakers Bangladesh, Advocate Shahanur Islam discussed the organization’s target groups: ethnic, religious, social and sexual minorities, and victims of torture and extra‐judicial killings.
Mr Islam mentioned key future goals to be: building a strong network for minorities in Bangladesh and building up the networking capacity of the organization and the minority communities. He also discussed work he had begun in collaboration with GHRD with a new minority target group: sexual minorities in Bangladesh and the nature of discrimination against this group, often in the form of societal stigmatization but also in the form of sexual violations, violence and torture. Mr Islam also highlighted the need for advocacy on legal reform, to remove the criminalization of homosexual acts in the Bangladeshi Penal Code.
Questions and dialogue from other participants centred on the right to information, particularly in remote areas, and questions around how JusticeMakers Bangladesh are working with sexual minorities currently and the goals for future operations in this area. Mr Islam responded that he has begun interviewing sexual minority individuals and organizations in order to discover the rights and violations involved and how LGBT rights are viewed in Bangladesh.
Ms Lundström formally announced the intention of GHRD to start including sexual minorities (LGBT communities) in its work as they belong to the most marginalized groups in South Asia. She expressed the position that LGBT rights essentially are human rights, and as such sexual minorities should be included into the mainstream human rights community. She finally announced that GHRD has submitted programs for funding with the Dutch Foreign Ministry in this regard.