Political parties must show in their manifestoes for upcoming general elections, abhorrence to violence against women, rights activists suggest.
At a Prothom Alo roundtable on Tuesday, they insisted that the political parties must make sure that no abusers or their accomplices do not get their nomination or blessings.
“Whenever any incident of violence occurs against women, the perpetrators take shelter to a ruling party. It happened during every regime. We don’t want to see any recurrence of such incidents,” Actionaid country director Farah Kabir told the programme.
Prothom Alo, in association with Actionaid, organised the roundtable styled ‘Political Manifesto preventing violence against women: reality and solutions’ at its Karwanbazar office.
Accusing the parties of not taking the issue of violence seriously, the rights activists pointed out that the parties pledge many positive things in their manifestos, but do little to implement their pledges once they assume office.
They said legacy of political violence during the elections, and use of money and muscle power prevent women from actively participating in politics.
Khushi Kabir, coordinator of non-government organisation Nijera Kori (We ourselves do), said number of woman candidates seems to be much lower this year than that of the previous elections.
Women’s activist organisation Naripokkho’s member Shireen Huq lamented absence of democratic environment in the country as a cause for concern for women as well.
“Strengthening the women’s voice in every sector of the society is very much related with presence of a stronger democratic environment,” she said blaming the current atmosphere for violation of women's rights.
Supreme Court lawyer Tania Amir said, “We don’t want to see some seats being offered to women only as cosmetics; we rather want to see more and more competent women doing politics directly.”
UNDP’s Sharmila Rasul said the womenfolk should ask the political organisations how many of their pledges to ensure rights of women in manifestos were implemented.
Women and children affairs ministry official Abul Hossain, Jatiya Nari Nirjaton Protirodh Forum’s (JNNPF) chair Momtaz Ara Rumi, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad’s international affairs secretary Rekha Saha, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Bangladesh Police Nusrat Jahan Mukta, chief news editor of News24 channel Shahnaj Munni, Icddr’b gender and diversity specialist Farjana Shahnaz Majid and Actionaid’s Kashfia Feroz also spoke at the roundtable moderated by Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayum.