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Reserved seat for Women with disability demanded by civil society in Bangladesh

Advocate Fauzia Karim speaks at a conference at LGED Bhaban in the city yesterday. On her left are Attorney General Advocate Mahbubey Alam and Advocate Salma Ali.Photo: STAR

Speakers at a conference yesterday demanded steps to select a disabled woman as the member of parliament (MP) in the reserved seats and formulate a committee on disability in the parliament to ensure rights of people with disabilities.

They highlighted the discrimination that the physically and mentally challenged people have been experiencing for the lack of a suitable law and for not implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The speakers said this at the two-day conference on 'Implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' organised by Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) at LGED auditorium in the city.

They also placed some recommendations so that 10 percent of the total population with disabilities can enjoy their rights properly.

"The hospitals, courts, schools, colleges, secretariat and the prime minister's office - nothing are suitable and accessible for us and those are constructed in such a way where we can enter hardly," said Abdus Sattar Dulal of Bangladesh Protibondhi Kalyan Samity.

The speakers said even the offices of the social welfare ministry that is mainly handling the issues of the people with disabilities situated at the 2nd flood of the buildings where the people using wheel chairs cannot go at all.

They also raised a question why there will have only one ministry to address the issues of the people with disabilities where there are distinct ministries for others to address their different issues like education, health, employment and others.

BNWLA Executive Director advocate Salma Ali said, "Bangladesh signed and ratified the UNCRPD with all its optional protocols but as it is not incorporated with the domestic law through the parliament, we are yet to see its implementation. At the same time, there is no mechanism for implementation of the law enacted in 2001 that needs to be updated."

"BNWLA will prepare a guideline for updating the law and will also file a public interest litigation case later to ensure the rights of the people with disabilities," she said, adding that the purpose of the programme is to analyse the UNCRPD, prepare an action plan committee as well as to form a platform to implement it.

Attorney General advocate Mahbubey Alam was present on the occasion as the chief guest, while former member of Cedaw Committee Salma Khan, Dr Shahnaz Huda and Dr Sumaiya Khair of Dhaka University, Md Obaidur Rahman of Save the Children-Sweden Denmark, Shirin Akhter of NADPO and Hedayetullah Al Mamoon also spoke.

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Country: Bangladesh
Website: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=72410
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When: 09/2/2009

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