On 10th December 2014 Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO) celebrated International Human Rights Day-2014 with support from Embassy of France in Bangladesh. The theme of the event was ‘Human Rights 365′ which underscores the idea that every day is a human rights day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed December 10 as Human Rights Day in 1948. The day-long International Human Rights day celebration program was inaugurated at 10.00 am by Prof. Dr. A. K. M. Mahbubuzzaman, recently former Dean of Social Sciences School at SUST. Just after inauguration a colorful rally decorated with festoons, placard, and banner manifesting different slogans on human rights rounded important streets of the city and ended up at the Sylhet Zilla Parisad Hall premises. Guests, teachers and students of different schools, colleges and universities, volunteers of the ECDO, lawyers, elected representatives, members of civil society organizations and people from different ethnic-minority communities participated in the rally.
Prof. Dr. A. K. M. Mahbubuzzaman was present as the Chief Guest during the inaugural session. Among others, President of district bar association, Sylhet Advocate A. F. Md. Ruhul Anam Chowdhury Mintu, Ex-President of district bar association, Sylhet Advocate Emad Ullah Shahidul Islam, President of Committee of Concern Citizen (TIB), Sylhet Advocate Irfanuzzaman Chowdhury were also present as a special guest. Mr. Abul Kashem, assistant professor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) presented the keynote titled ‘Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh: A Special Reference to Sylhet’.
Speakers of the discussion session explained some key features of human rights i.e., universality, inalienability, indivisibility, and interrelationship etc. and hopeful about the positive achievement of the Bangladesh and required several more progresses on human rights situations of Bangladesh should come to light. They criticized the presence of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance etc. during the tenure of every government including the Care taker government.
Speakers urged the government for the recognition of basic necessities as fundamental rights.
After discussion session Human Rights Award, 2014 was given to three role models as part of the recognition of their contribution in promoting human rights locally. Award winners are;
Mr. Faruque Mahmud Chowdhury a leading human rights activist is working for good governance, accountability and corruption free government. He is the President of SUJON (Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik) Sylhet district, Mr. Moirangthem Khir Singh silently working to protect & promote the rights of indigenous peoples. Currently, he is serving as the Vice-president of Integrated Manipuri Association (IMA), Ms. Soudamini Sharma working for Manipuri women to help against the torture of their drug addicted husband; she formed â€˜Tetoigaon Meira Paibi Somaj Kollyan Songsthaâ€™.
After luncheon, discussion session was conducted on the role of civil society and local administration in ensuring human rights. The session was chaired by Mr. Jugeshwar Singha, President of the host organization Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO). Among other Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP) Md. Rezaul Karim and Addl. Superintendent of Police (ASP), Sylhet Mr. Md. Naimul Hasan was present as chief and special guests respectively. Advocate Mohit Lal Dhar, President, Human Rights Defenders Forum, Sylhet presented keynote in this session.
Speakers of the discussion session marked the over-all scenario of human rights situation in Sylhet as better than any other part of the country. They praise the role of law enforcement agencies, particularly police in ensuring peace and discipline around country. Stressing on the need for simultaneous presence of development and recognition of rights, speakers are focuses on sustainable development.
After discussion session Essay and Art competition winner are awarded by chief guest and special guest.
In concluding speech, President of ECDO Mr. Jugeshwar Singha thanked and expressed his gratefulness to presenters, discussants, audience, honorable guests, volunteers, ECDO staffs and Embassy of France in Bangladesh to make this wonderful and important event successful and then he declared the end of the second session.
At 3rd session, a cultural show was arranged with the participation of dancers, actors and actresses and singers from different section of population. They performed traditional Manipuri dance, drama and traditional folk music. The whole program was announced by Nongpoklai Sinha, the program coordinator of Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO). It should be mentioned that local legal aid support organizations like Bangladesh Legal Aid Services and Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA), Committee of Concern Citizen (TIB) Sylhet, FIVDB, Institute of Development Affairs (IDEA), Anique Manipuri handicraft etc. participated in this event with their IEC materials and other products. ECDO arranged eights stalls in this event including it’s an own information centre of the event.
It is expected that this celebration will have an effect to improve the physical, social, cultural, political and spiritual well being and welfare of the people in Bangladesh. Particularly this will encourage the vulnerable group of people like women, minorities, youths, poor, indigenous people etc. to take part in human rights related activities for all section of population.