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Final report to the SANAM

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Final report to the SANAM

  1. 1. Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) Report on South Asian Network to Addressing Masculinity (SANAM) Fellowship - 2011 Project Title: Addressing discriminatory laws and rights of the minorities for advocacy and policy change in Bangladesh Reporting Title Family law of Bangladesh: In respect of Masculinity Submitted to Laxman Belbase Advisor – Gender Equity Save the Children – Sweden Sweden Regional Office for South and Central Asia Nepal Reported by Jhuma Halder Bangladesh Date: 30.11.2011
  2. 2. Table of Content 2
  3. 3. 1. Organizational introduction HRCBM is a worldwide campaigning movement dedicated to protecting the human rights of people in Bangladesh. In particular, HRCBM work for minorities in Bangladesh. It stands with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct, and to bring offenders to justice. HRCBM people investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We demand government and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We follow the guideline enshrined in UDHR, International Bill of Rights and other standards. In general we are working to end xenophobia, human rights abuse, racial discrimination, civil resentment, brutality and oppression against minorities in Bangladesh. For this reason, HRCBM-Local group started fund raising to protect their sisters, daughters, mothers and wives, upholding their rights and responsibilities along with HRCBM-YF. SANAM project is the first project of HRCBM-DHAKA that organized national organizational activities in different districts. Though HRCBM has different chapters in different places all over Bangladesh, but it would do only campaign to raise their voice to protect their rights and lands from its inception. However, through SANAM project HRCBM depict adjust pictures of masculine and gender issue which impacted simultaneously upon the religious minority women in Bangladesh. Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Ethnic minority women are not getting equal status at family level and society accordingly does not granted their full human rights as human being. Moreover, HRCBM local groups collected data information from Dhaka, Tangail, Gazipur, Shylhet and 16 districts of Rajshahi Division repressions on women at domestic level as well as national level for this work. It should be noted that HRCBM has more local office in Khulna and Chittagong division, but within short period of SANAM project it can not work in those areas. We hope those area will be touched if SANAM assists further or get other assistance from other donor agency. 2. Achievement Through SANAM Project “Addressing discriminatory laws and policies in Bangladesh” created huge awareness and support to demand of amending Orthodox Hindu Law and The Vested Property Law. Specially, it is noted that HRCBM-YF local groups and national human rights activists have changed their attitudes towards women partner and demand their rights and status according to UDHR. It has created awareness about positive role among HRCBM along with its attached units in Bangladesh like, the HRCBM-YF Google E Groups, HRCBM Google E Groups, Local HRCBM Youth Groups and Local HRCBM Core Groups, on gender issues to change their attitude and addressed their voice on discriminatory laws and policies in Bangladesh. 3. Major activity SANAM offered fellowship for 10 months (February – November 2011), but the project implementing time was only three and half months (15th August to 30 November 2011). So, it is difficult to portrait organizational framework by aforesaid short time. As per whole stages of fellowship program we tried to use full time for giving an organizational 3
  4. 4. framework of this work under the banner of HRCBM. Initially, we did legal researching on the topic that has been selected earlier. Our thematic inquiry was conducted on on going social issues, economic condition and practice which gave a negative scenario at domestic level as well as perception of multilevel non-domestic torture. For this purpose, we used some tools to reach our result. We consulted with men-women groups to understand the practice of discrimination among the religious groups and communities. We have conducted several investigations for framing sample case study and also took formal interview with experts, lawyers, academicians and historians on open answering questionnaire to clarify Gender Based Violence (GBV) and the existing practice of discrimination and collected information of historical turn as traditional facts of the issue of masculinity. We analyzed thematic case study to understand the practical situation through a single phenomenon and to strengthen findings. Lastly, to understand the nature of fundamentalism and discrimination in existing laws, we noted the daily activities of men women groups through discussing basic understanding of masculinity and the forms of discrimination and its consequences. 4. SANAM mentor support After providing two times training from SANAM on the topic “Understanding Masculinity: Culture, Politics and Social Change”, has supported local mentor of this work on behalf of Jhuma Halder. Mr. Rabindra Nath Trivedi, General Secretary, HRCBM-DHAKA has conducted this fellowship – 2011 as local mentor. From the beginning to end including the pilot project, each month, except September 2011, Jhuma Halder met and sat down with him ten times (21.02.2011, 10.03.2011, 03.04.2011, 09.05.2011, 02.06.2011, 15.07.2011, 13.08.2011, 13.10.2011, 02.11.2011 = 10 times) and discussed face to face about whole things minimum one hour. She regularly contacted with him through emails and telephone calls for developing materials for this fellowship. Mr. Trivedi approved training manual developed part by part which became a full manual for this project later. It would be noted that during the time of preparing training manual some techniques has been used to create awareness among the community to reach out goals which has followed by Mr. Trivedi’s guidance. Ms. Halder has consulted with Dr. Sanjay Srivastava and Dr. Abhijit Das through emails for this work. Mr. Habibur Rahaman observed the whole work on behalf of SANAM – Bangladesh Team and noted as well suggested on the progress of the project and other things. 5. Detail report of SANAM fellowship – 2011 i. Prologue This document, “Family law in Bangladesh: in respect of masculinities”, has been selected for the Bangladeshi women. This study is funded by South Asian Network to Addressing Masculinity (SANAM). It is primarily empirical investigation and case study based research work. This study is aiming at assessing the position of minority women and general women and gender relations among the religions of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Ethnic minorities in the eye of law. This study explores gender discriminatory areas those impede women’s development and contravene women’s rights. Gained information and suggestive measures are expected to address the policy 4
  5. 5. level to help adopting and designing gender sensitive approach in relation to amend law for minority women and general women issues. The Human Rights of women generally predicate the understanding that women are denied enshrined human rights in many ways because of their gender. The girl child is subject to three forms of inheritance in three different capacities: a daughter, a wife and a mother. In none of the capacities does she merit equality of inherence rights with her make counterpart. Naturally international law can only address states having due regard for their sovereignty. It can achieve compliance with its norms only by using agencies of the state. This does not necessarily mean that nothing can be done to encourage the compliance by states with their obligations under international law. In doing so, it would be useful to explore the possibilities of changing existing religious and customary laws, which are contrary to the principles of human rights. In this regard clear understanding of the nature and operation of religion is necessary in order to identify the extent to which religion actually abstracts the implementation of women’s rights and to which such obstruction is orchestrated by dominant male politics. ii. The context of minority women The Minority women in Bangladesh are not hegemony entity. The family consists of both male and female partner. The general profile of minority women are that they are economically deprived, have less access to resources, are progressively loosing their land and properties, treated as victim to socio-economic and cultural and political exploitation, discrimination and harassment and constantly struggling for their survival and identity. Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Ethnic are belonged to the most marginalized groups in the country as their religious and socio-cultural identities as minority. In Bangladesh Muslim culture is observed everywhere. There are exists number of obstacles for development of women in minority community and outside of the community. Poverty, insecurity, lack of access to justice and awareness are common hindrances for development of the community. Conversion to Islam by allurement has also caused suffering of the Hindu community and they are not getting proper justice and act of needful requirements or special facilities. Prevalence of domestic and non-domestic violence among the minority people has been confirmed by the finding of this study. Sexual harassment, rape, gang rape, forced prostitution, marital rape, beating, slapping, teasing, kidnapping, abduction, trafficking, killing after rape, fatwa are the common and widespread of vulnerability of all women, but the minority women are more insecured rather than the Muslim women. Insecurity of livelihood made them more scare day to day. In this respect general reflections on the general in Bangladesh will help in order to understand the context of minority women. iii. Women’s situation in Bangladesh: General overview General overview displayed the structure in Bangladesh. Women’s role and their activities defined the private matter, which means the domestic affairs and reproduction circle. Although a woman goes to carry out socially sanctioned duties but women’s movement restricted, veiled and keep seclusion, which is socially practiced the improper gender based violence in private - public sphere. Progressive minded men recognized to feel equal share/opportunity at home and outside in psychologically but they also silent in 5
  6. 6. practical field. Men considered women’s performance as head of house hold and perpetrators of family name and lineages. In general power of domination and preferential treatment to inheritance, position, policies and public affairs considered male preserved area. General position of women’s rights, power and position in the country are divided into class, caste and religion. Male dominated social structure and ideology of patriarchy is evident at the national level policy making process, culture and legal instrument. Therefore, existing conflict between man and women make hindrance in gender development and supporting in familial umbrella for rising and pushing traditional boundary. Women issues in Bangladesh are now publicly visible in formal and informal sector. Nonetheless, we observed that economic participation and social perception in women development does not effect in social change or positive response to share in private or public life. The area of domestic and non-domestic violence against women including rape, gang rape, sexual harassment, physical assault, fatwa, wife beating, trafficking, dowry, verbal and psychological torture, kidnapping, abduction, force prostitution, murder, eve teasing are high. The data of case study (in bellow) shows increase of nature of violence and its degree of increase. Generally law and public policy targeted the women sufficiently addressed the issues and need for development. Consequently despite this achievement and progress of women’s position have not changed the social position and attitude towards women. Violence and discrimination continue to pestilence the realization of women’s rights. A. General data: January to September 2011 (14 Daily Newspaper clippings) Sl no. Criteria Number Source 1 Rape 561 Bangladesh Mahila Prishad (BMP) The Daily News Clippings 2 Gang Rape 135 3 Murder after rape 76 4 Attempt to rape 112 5 Sexual harassment 112 6 Sexual assault 266 7 Paternal demand 14 8 Acid burnt 64 9 Death after acid burn 2 10 Burnt by fire 28 11 Death after fire burn 28 12 Kidnapping 144 13 Women and child trafficking 104 14 Sale to brothel 42 15 Murder for dowry 268 16 Torture for dowry 201 17 Physical assault 341 18 Violence to maid 35 19 Murder of maid 46 20 Suicide of maid 12 6
  7. 7. 21 Murder 668 22 Attempt to murder 43 23 Provocation for suicide 21 24 Attempt to suicide 9 25 Suicide 369 26 Eve Teasing 817 27 Suicide for eve teasing 23 28 Refusal of love 38 29 Fatwa 46 30 Child Marriage 63 31 Torture by police 1 32 Forced marriage 7 33 Others 567 Total 5359 B. Minority women’s data: January to September 2011 (Paper clippings & direct complaints received HRCBM divisional units of Bangladesh) Sl no. Criteria Number Source 1 Rape 9 The Daily News Paper Clipings, Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) 2 Gang Rape 3 3 Murder after rape 1 4 Attempt to rape 15 5 Sexual harassment 2 6 Sexual assault 1 7 Paternal demand 8 Acid burnt 4 9 Death after acid burn 10 Burnt by fire 11 Death after fire burn 13 12 Kidnapping / Abduction 104 13 Women and child trafficking 14 Sale to brothel 15 Murder for dowry 16 Torture for dowry 17 Physical assault 53 18 Violence to maid 19 Murder of maid 20 Suicide of maid 21 Murder 21 22 Attempt to murder 23 Provocation for suicide 24 Attempt to suicide 25 Suicide 3 26 Eve Teasing 7 7
  8. 8. 27 Suicide for eve teasing 3 28 Refusal of love 13 29 Fatwa 16 30 Child Marriage 31 Torture by police 32 Forced marriage 4 33 Others (Conversion) 22 Total 294 C. Gradual data of violence: 2002 to 2011 (Up to September) (Received complaints) Criteria Year No of Complaint Received Sources Legal Advice 2002 137 Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) Legal Advice 2003 143 Legal Advice 2004 93 Legal Advice 2005 85 Legal Advice 2006 52 Legal Advice 2007 44 Legal Advice 2008 29 Legal Advice 2009 50 Legal Advice 2010 25 Legal Advice 2011 (Up to Sept) 75 Direct Complaint 2002 113 Direct Complaint 2003 250 Direct Complaint 2004 253 Direct Complaint 2005 358 Direct Complaint 2006 314 Direct Complaint 2007 345 Direct Complaint 2008 335 Direct Complaint 2009 376 Direct Complaint 2010 315 Direct Complaint 2011 (Up to Sept) 97 Mediation 2002 22 Mediation 2003 50 Mediation 2004 58 Mediation 2005 78 Mediation 2006 93 Mediation 2007 84 Mediation 2008 95 Mediation 2009 25 Mediation 2010 50 Mediation 2011 (Up to Sept) 68 Investigation 2002 29 Investigation 2003 41 Investigation 2004 57 8
  9. 9. Investigation 2005 45 Investigation 2006 36 Investigation 2007 46 Investigation 2008 36 Investigation 2009 41 Investigation 2010 34 Investigation 2011 (Up to Sept) Case Filling 2002 19 Case Filling 2003 30 Case Filling 2004 20 Case Filling 2005 35 Case Filling 2006 26 Case Filling 2007 46 Case Filling 2008 120 Case Filling 2009 18 Case Filling 2010 40 Case Filling 2011 (Up to Sept) iv. Broad and specific objectives The general objective of this study is to explore and document the position of minority women and related gender relations of Bangladeshi people. Specific objective: 1. To explore the nature of discrimination and violence against Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Ethnic women 2. To assess the traditional socio-economic power/attitude ruled over the minority women 3. To investigate the minority women’s position and related gender relations in the family and community level 4. To identify the way to come out the traditional boundary v. Rationale of the study As human mobility has emerged as complex and multi dimensional phenomenon in the age of globalization, the international community attaches high importance to masculine issues relating to minority. It is high thought that sensitizing the people on masculine issues would defiantly have a positive impact on better justice. Theoretical and practical impossible has carried out for the reader by this research work which said multi dimensional assistance that would truly helpful for making task to success addressing minority, violence and masculinity. This work depicted the exact picture of masculinity of Bangladesh. The principal aims and objectives of this research has ensured, established, materialized and preserved the rights and privileges of marginalized and section of people in general and people termed as minorities as under privileged and victims of unequal application of laws in particular with a view to improving the social, educational, economic status and living conditions of the people. It spoke on the factors creating multi level torture, violence, persecution, conversion and their most possible resistance courses, albeit, in explications that has maintained spaces for furtherance of 9
  10. 10. explications of: assistance of meeting the growing operational challenges of minority management, advance understanding of masculine issues, encourage social and economic development through gender balance, uphold human dignity and well being of minorities women. 6. Research methodology i. Approach of the study The concept of Asian values has been used to support cultural relativist arguments in resisting certain fundamental human rights norms. While there may be in juncture between theories and practice even most ardent proponents of Asian values have rejected culture relativism as a defense against human atrocities, including the suppression religious minorities and women. It should be noted that the human rights dignity and freedom as well as principals of equality existed in Asia long before the liberal philosophers of the West began to extol them. It is unfortunate that issues of economic development have been conflicted between Asian and Western values with respect to fundamental issues such as human dignity and freedom of religion. To reiterate domestic law is found in the vast majority of cultures, it is most probably more universal that relative. It has been argued that the universality of domestic aggression in fact makes it particularly apposite to human rights intervention and the application of international law. Even if that argument is not accepted, it seems clear that a line can draw between cultural practices and violent discrimination against minorities the latter being something that simply should not be tolerated. In order to jurisprudence and reaffirm, there are certain universal and inalienable rights which should not be trumped by culture or religious practice. ii. Study of the area The study was organized in Dhaka city, Gazipur District, Tangail District, Shylhet and Rajshahi Division in Bangladesh. iii. Methods The methodology of this research has been mostly following the secondary sources of information like articles, books, journals and newspapers, research and investigative reports, case study, UN Conventions, etc. Relevant literary review has been collected through Internet browsing and consultation with the experts, legal practitioners, and different women rights organization along with HRCBM unites. The research has broadly informed by a collaborative approach as necessitated by a cultural research. A collaborative approach helps earn trust and easy access to the community. It is also pivotal to build corporation with the orthodox community members so that they could identified themselves with the study. The best effort is to make consult with the minority leaders, experts, practitioners, community members, educated personnel. They have selected the key aspect of the perspective that has created awareness among them and recognize the oppression and discrimination. The large patriarchal rigid and fundamental community men would be sensitizes using tools and techniques of qualitative investigation and participation in collaboration. The nature and purpose of tools of methods are like this: 10
  11. 11. Tools Nature Purpose Men and women group Open-ended Understand practice of discrimination among communities Formal Interview with experts, lawyers, academicians, Historians Issue based To clarify and corroborate issues and information and to know historical facts Case Study Thematic To understand the practical situation through a single phenomenon/event and to strengthen findings Daily activity Participatory To understand the nature of fundamentalism and men- women mobility iv. Field works The field work was three months. Since it is an empirical research, a great care was taken to build rapport with cultural sensitivity. It is also a personal development in the field, having most important regular discussion, exchange views, sharing information between local mentor and youth groups and their leaders who helped the research to make acquainted and updated as the personal development and ensure overcome religious barrier. The strategy of making space for minority women has not been interrupted by the environment as religious barrier. Several investigation by the individual researcher and the group leaders’ free movement and access in to the community relaxed the emotions and ideas directed by the local mentor. Local mentor has conducted a one day program along with his team members on 18.11.2011. vi. Topic and issue of inquiry Violence against Women is a common thing throughout the world. We should concern about the traditional practices, domestic violence, infanticide, rape, and sexual assault, commercialized violence such as trafficking in woman through challenges to traditional attitude towards women. Therefore, the major thematic inquiry was conducted like as bellow: Social issues Economic issues and practice Discriminatory legal instruments Negative Image (Violence) Family lineage, Marriage and divorce, widowhood, Decision making rights, Social perception, customs, rituals, religious belief, education, loss of population, privileged bodies, Issue of hegemony and Property inherence, Discrimination at workplace, perception and preferences, inadequate living condition, facilities and obstacles Constitution, personal law, Vested property act, registration act, presidents, HC orders, Hindu Law, unequal application of law , justice system Perception, domestic and no-domestic violence, persecution, torture, legislative enactment 11
  12. 12. masculinity, religious endorsement, rigorous tradition, security problems vii. Limitation of the study Violence against minorities is a common thing throughout the world. Mission of this research is to carry out a major hindrance for establishing human rights and advancement of minority (Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Ethnic) and underprivileged people overcoming constitutional and legal barriers of Bangladeshi women. Further unequal application of Law depicts the social, political, economical and cultural disparity which shows the exact scenario of ongoing discrimination, forceful eviction from the land and torture on minority. Discriminatory domestic laws provide survival inequality all over the country. Further the traditional approach towards gender issues, strong anti female demand and unequal facilities are the common trends of discrimination for eviction of entire family of minority women. Further low level of literacy among men, women and religious fundamentalists concern the different type of humiliation and threatening on this study. 7. Social structure i. Patriarchal system The Muslims are the first largest religious community who belong to patriarchal society in Bangladesh. The second largest is Hindu community. Christian, Buddhist and Ethnic people follow them to practice religious rituals and customary performance among the community. All the societal stature is headed by men or oldest male person of the family. The social structure of a patriarchal community generally represents certain typical gender relations manifestation through the number of norms and practices. Patriarchy designed to endorse male domination and hegemony within the household level as well as in the society. This has resulted in superior status of men and preferential treatments towards them in a number of ways. ii. Family lineage All religious doctrine comes from the male person. For this reason family lined carried through male dominated family names, traditions of ancestors and also funeral performance related rituals also entrusted by the male person of the Hindu community. It seems the very system of family lineage resulted by performance of male child and male person considered as household heads and practice of patri-locality. iii. Child preference and childlessness The child preferences of the Hindu community tend to favor boys over the girls. The sex considers male child and female child and equal share reflects during pregnancy. The perceived differences among the minority family, male and female can generally summarized like this: a. Female always consider household or care giver 12
  13. 13. b. Female are outsider of the family if she married c. Female are weak and less intellect than male d. Female can not move out from home without informing of male members of the family e. Female does not lineage directly for their family name or tradition f. Female does not prefer child as heir g. Male are always privileged h. Male are supposed to take care of their old age father and mother i. Male carry on family lineage j. Male considers as performer of the funeral rituals for the deceased person of their family k. Male inherits ancestral property l. Male stays their parental home after their marriage Usually a woman alone has to bear the brunt of childlessness within the family. If a couple does not have any child the wife is instantaneously blamed for infertility. Within the family she often has to face crushing comments by in laws, even in her presence at time is considered as ominous. Negative perception towards childlessness can at times to take an extreme from as exacerbated by the comment of the Hindu family. It is a curse to belong a female body of a Hindu family. Reproduction considered as the primary goal to survive among the family. The social mindset and trends to fever male partners indicates the responsible female for her infertility. It is unusual or improper or unworthy to blame or create any negative terms to a male for this. A couple who failed to reproduces, it is only responsibility for female partner. Female should have quality to produce male child for uphold the family name and fame. Most of the time, we see female become victim of many domestic violence for it. iv. Household head Usually a patriarchal family head is father or in his absence the next male, such as elder brother, or son is the head of household. The factor is considering as power of making decision, economic and skill of communication indicate the ability to become head of the family. Nonetheless female emphasize on the crisis management and important issues presented in traditional system. Since male are head so he can take decision, move anywhere he wants, could take part in social programs, arbitration, legal proceedings, can earn more than female, able to perform outside works and maintain hereditary as wide exposure. In Bangladesh generally female perceived the power of influence in decision making, ownership of property, It is also known that the real life challenges of women does not acceptable that mentioned as power, voice, position in the family or society. Sometimes we see that only old age mother can take the responsibility in absence of her elder son or head of male members. It is also true that sometimes it also ignored if her position become as neglected as undermined or inferior or less important in family. Women’s position also influenced with their male partner or characterized by their male respondent. The process of taking power belong ownership of the property or economic status of the family as well as society. Moreover, we see the privileged position of family the male also practice to have good food and women’s position sacrificed for their heads. 13
  14. 14. i. Division of labour It is also acceptable to all the family and society in Bangladesh, the women will look after children and their education, take care of domestic labour, mean, cooking, cleaning, washing, serving, feeding, nursing of old age and ill people of the family. On the other hand, male will go out for hard work, earn for the family, and behave manly. By this study we see women work within boundary. Work known as a “man’s task” are to be performed by men only. According to the people’s mindset except dwelling works men are able to do any kinds of physical work but women can not. Work nature depends on livelihood pattern, living condition, religious affiliation and so on. The type of nature and the frequency of works can be different among the religion and social structure. ii. Marriage practice Marriage is a very important and auspicious social occasion which institutionalized family in all religion. In Islam it is a contact between two parties. Nonetheless, it has systematic difference among Hindu community, Buddhists and Christian People. Among Hindu it is sacrament and certain ceremonies are essential to the legality of the marriage. From the ancient period, two schools of thought about Hindu law, Dayabhaga and Mitaksara, according to these two schools, marriage was eight kinds which approved by Vegas through giving status of women as human being. They were Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura, Rakshasa, Gandharva, Paisacha, of which the first four were approved and the last four unapproved in practical field in Bangladesh as well as in this region. All Bangladeshi Hindus are complying with it. However, there are many distinctions between male and female in Dayabhaga Law in Bangladesh perceived by the observer. Now-a-days, there are two forms of marriage have been practiced. One is arrange marriage and another is love marriage. Love marriage recognizes if both families accept as usual. If it is not well accepted by any family, within few days after marriage the conjugal dispute arise and girls are affected much. On the other hand, arrange marriage does not care about bride’s consent. All the relatives and families of both parties informed and organize a wedding ceremony. It is unimportant to match the bride and groom. Increasing problems has discovered by this research in this system. iii. Divorce and maintenance Divorce means division of one male and woman, who were united to live till last breath as a one entity by the name of marriage. The practice of it is not very frequent. As contact Muslim women have power to sent divorce notice if the husband authorizes to do so in the time of marriage fulfilling 18th column of Kabinnama (Marriage Registration Paper). Moreover, if the bride does not get power by Kabinnama, she can file case before family court claiming her rights. Nonetheless, the Hindu women have no power to divorce. They are entitled to have mutual separation. The family members of husband and wife initially try to resolve the dispute through discussion. If they fail the do so, the social action committee or social welfare organizations or arbitration council helps to mitigate the dispute by traditional “Salish” system. If the social action committee also failed to mitigate the dispute, the divorce agreed by both parties by name of mutual separation and socially that couple do not treat as husband and wife. Sometimes, society did not accept this mutual separation and mistreat the affected woman. Muslim women get dower money from the person she divorced. But Hindu or Buddhist women treated as wasted 14
  15. 15. disclosing the matter. Divorce is not uncommon and it is based on primary personal and conjugal problems. Muslim women socially accepted normally and she can remarry. Hindu divorced / separated women does not accepted normally as an applicable right in practice and most of the time she becomes abandoned by the parental family and neglected from the society. Not only that Hindu separated / divorced woman did not entitled to claim her property namely “Stridhan” in practical field which is her absolute property accepted in Hindu Law. viii. Decision making In a patriarchal family the principal decision maker always head of the male person. All of major or minor decisions have taken consultation with male head of family. It is no matter to keep far of the discussion or absent from apart of discussion of the women as responsible members of the family. If the head male person busies with his work the situation control the next charge making male of family affairs. There is no democratic system in family affairs. Since the male person is the owner of the land and economic empowered, so he should have the absolute power to rule over all members of family. No women can be a counterpart of the decision maker of the family. Especially traditional Hindu family is more restricted than other religion. Now-a-days we sometimes see the post of head man has changed in dispute resolution to women as very active person. Nonetheless, social decision, leadership is not consider as women’s advancement. Religious pattern and believe system also denied women’s position within the family. ix. Religious structure As an Islamic country Bangladesh observes Islamic religious activity in everywhere. Within conventional believe system women can not participate openly in religious activity. Equally, other believers’ especially Hindu women can not offering priest of religious events and Christian women also can not be the father of the Church. All religious people believe women do not poses the spiritual knowledge which included the religious area in performing events and they are not expert in the field of men’s area. The Allah by the name of Mohammad, Lord Sree Krishna, Lord Buddha, The God Jesus all are male headed religion granted women as their assistance or subordinated person who are not equal in power or decision making process. For getting social justices women face men and depend on male’s treatment. The patriarchal religion derived unequal treatment towards women in the real life and discriminatory behavior and undermining attitudes throw challenges to women in daily life. Religious subordination makes women inferior and creates unsatisfied relationship between men and women in the family and society which causes women’s marginalized in management and development. x. Widow re-marriage In 1856, we get a law on widow remarriage for that Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar started a movement in favor of widow re-marriage. Legally sanctioned but socially no well accepted. Most of the families send their young widows to India for re-marriage. As a result minority migration of India and other country keep continuing. Widow’s girl child and disable child (both male female) are deprived her fathers property. Especially widows of Bangladesh are most vulnerable in condition. They have no family as well as social recognition of women’s property as streedhan, guardianship or any other legal facility. 15
  16. 16. xi. Women’s position Women in patriarchal society are always discriminate and face challenge to reduce discrimination. The consent of Hindu women in marriage or other important relationship is not important to make any relation. And practices of Hindu rituals are stricter other than law. Divorce is unnatural in Hindu community. In general practice of freedom of movement granted by the family members, but it is only for limited places. Women carry baby and brought up that child with her all effort, unfortunately she is not guardian only custodian. Harassment and violence is common to women. Women’s positions indeed contrast with the presence of certain rights and privileges and absence of some basic rights and voices simultaneously. 8. Practices and violence i. Succession (inheritance) In patriarchal society of Bangladesh there is quite complicated discussion of selection of succession of the ancestral property. According of general law of the land a Muslim woman gets half share of a man. Though Women’s Advancement of Policy has been passed by the cabinet members for equal share of the male-female, but it does not access in practical field. On the other hand, in respect of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Ethnic women are not qualifying the status of sharer of ancestral property. In case of inheritance of Hindu Law of Bangladesh, only five classes of women inherit preference to get life interest that is limited rights and on their death the property would pass to the nearest male heir of the deceased male owner and not to the heirs of the female heirs. The woman or women inheriting in life interest can sell the property only for limited legal necessity. ii. Work opportunity It is also evident that the nature of gender division work opportunity differs in Bangladesh. Women’s task mostly household duties have been observed in all religion. Nonetheless, work division and work pattern of the patriarchal communities replicate the traditional system in favor of man to give them some privileges in the terms of nature of work and work load. The existing system enforces women less access to public life and productive works. Having less and weak performance man are privileged everywhere in problem facing skills and decision making authority. iii. Freedom of expenditure It is well known that women are subordinated within both places – at home and at outside of home. The freedom of expenditure and decision making power to spend her earned money is determinant factor to expose her position at home. In general observation women always try to spend their money in productive purpose or family welfare with the consent of male members of the family. At the same time, men do not disclose their amount of earnings to women members at his family and do not clarify expenditure to the female members of the family. It is very interesting that when women ask about the earning source or expenditure men become furious and start torture on women in different way. Beside this, women are always bound to clarify about their expenditure. There is very little unity to expense jointly. iv. Perception of violence 16
  17. 17. Violence is very important to analyze the women’s position in family and society. Gender based violence (GBV) can be define in two categories, such as non-domestic violence and domestic violence. Generally we see that women count multi-faced forms of torture / violence. Often women ignore or overlook the minor events which happen in home. As a result the male members count it as their weakness and more stressed on physical assault or abuse as violence. Most of the time we observe, slapping, scolding, illegal blaming, verbal abuse or psychological tortures at matrimonial home that ignored as violence. Women believe that husband’s have right to scold and slap or mistreat their wives because they provide food and cloths. It is interesting that marital rape or forceful intercourse or sexual assault by husband does not recognize as crime against humanity in Bangladesh. Women feel that they are safe husband’s custody, because male people treat as “God” by religious name of head “Pati Devota” or “Sattavan Yudhisthir”. v. Non-domestic violence A universal picture has been observed by the observer in terms of non-domestic violence in Bangladesh. Rape, gang rape, trafficking, forced marriage, force prostitution, kidnapping, abduction, conversion into Muslim and Christianity from Hindu and Buddhist religion, teasing, physical assault, fatwa, killing after rape, killing, blazed by fire, dowry demand, harassing, etc. are the common incidents cause of women victimhood. Generally we see, Hindu teen aged girls and unmarried women are targeted to forcefully accept other religions and kidnapped or abducted by the perpetrators. It considers patriarchal strong. It appears social values of marriage between perpetrator and the victim and create unwanted situation among the family and society. Non-domestic violence data: January to 2011 September (Direct complaints) Complaint Category General Minority Source Rape 3 4 Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) Gang rape 2 3 Murder after rape 1 Torture on domestic maid Murder of domestic maid Teasing and attempt to rape 2 Attempt to rape Suicide Murder 1 Murder after burn 1 False Marriage 1 Sexual Assault Acid Burn Abduction/Kidnapping 2 Conversion 17 Others vi. Domestic violence Domestic violence exists in every society. Beating, slapping, sending women back to parents’ house for dowry, verbal abuse, and abnormal behavior of in laws relations, 17
  18. 18. sexual abuse, physical torture, murder, forceful intercourse, sexual assault, false blaming, scolding and bicker, etc. are the common violence has been perceived by the researcher. Although Muslim married women can protest and protect them by applying Mohammadan Law to some extent. Nonetheless, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian can not apply their rights as per their family / personal law. Society also allows male’s decisions in respect of dissolving parents or matrimonial dispute. Raising claim by married women, if she is injured, denied and create abnormal situation that indicate more vulnerability of affected woman. The main causes of domestic violence are power exercise under the patriarchal system, male domination, conjugal conflict for various reasons, conflict for non payment of dowry, violation of men’s order, negative impact on child and old age caring by male members of family, etc. Domestic violence data: January 2011 to September 2011(Direct complaints) Complaint Category General Minority Source Torture for Dowry 47 15 Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) Murder for Dowry 2 Attempt to Murder for dowry 1 Physical and Psychological torture 70 32 Psychological torture 5 3 Marital Rape 50 13 Maintenance 19 Restitution of Conjugal Rights 2 Polygamy 23 viii. Social status of victim women At present, social statuses of victim women are not good at all. The nature of aggression varies the condition of violated women. Torture is a common known term as rape, gang rape, and so on criminal offence and systematical torture happens frequently in matrimonial and patriarchal society. The practice of believe in aggression among Muslim women considered as power of female position in within household and tradition. Nonetheless, minority women’s positions are not same. Generally, their (minority women) statuses are social isolation, ritual purification, difficult in arrange marriage and remarriage, increased demand of dowry, indirectly and directly forced to leave habitual place or country, humiliation, unnatural death, murder, etc. Therefore, violated women do not disclose the matter publicly. The social statuses of victim women demand otherwise and destroy the honor and loose the social position due to the negative impact of system. In larger scale, we see the some sensitive matters bear into positive result. Domestic violence does not include as violence in public or create sensation. As a result we see that women’s body is used to several purpose, like child bearing, caring, beating, harassing, sexual victimization, or punishing or treating as lesser human being and undermine feminine identity, grabbing their socio-economical status and controlling the common interest of male groups. 9. Concluding appraisal: observation 18
  19. 19. A. Legal definition of women and national laws According to section 10 of the Penal Code, 1860 the word ‘man’ denotes a male human being of any age and the word “woman” denotes a female being of any age. The term women is also define in section – 2 (G) of the Women and Child Repression Act 2000 (2003) as a woman of any age. In our constitution it is mentioned in article – 28 (2) that women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the state and of public life. The same article in clause – 4 states that nothing in this article shall prevent for the advancement of any backward section of citizens. By amending the constitution through XIV amendment it is provided that except three hundred seats of the parliament rest 45 will be preserved only for the women who will be selected as per the ratio of the political parties representing in the parliament. In article 27 of the constitution provide that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. In respect of criminal offences a woman will get some preferences that a man such as death penalty will not be applied against a woman if she is pregnant under section 382 of the CRPC and also a woman even after committing a non-bailable offence may be released in bail under section 489 of the same Code. There are some special laws in our country which was enacted to protect women from repression. Such as: Women and Child Repression Prevention Act – 2000 (2003), the Dowry Prohibition Act – 1980, the Child Marriage Restraint Act – 1929, the Acid Prohibition Act – 1980, the Child Marriage Restrain Act – 1929, the Acid Violence Prevention Act – 2002, the Domestic Violence Act – 2010, etc. B. How UN committee to the principle of equality? The Charter of the United Nations was the first International Instrument to mention equal rights of men and women in specific terms. In its preamble the Charter proclaimed the determination of the people of the people of the United Nations, “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the Economic and social advancement of all people” have resolved to combine efforts to accomplish this aims”. Article – 01, 08 also say about international cooperation and to keep no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women. Other articles also realize the human rights and fundamental freedom. The UDHR – 1948 also proclaimed the common standard of achievement for all people. The IICCPR – 1966 provides the States parties will undertake to ensure equal rights of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights. The ICESCR – 1966 also says about ensuring equal rights to enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights. The ILO 1958 define discrimination as including any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of sex which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation. The UNESCO Convention 1960 also defined discrimination based on sex. The first movement for women suffrage was raised in USA in 1861 and women suffrage was recognized in 1920. In England the women who are above 30 years of age got an opportunity to suffrage in 1808. In 1920 the women got equal opportunity in voting with man in England. In Japan the women suffrage was recognized in 1947. In Switzerland the women rights to vote was recognized in 1971. More international Instrument regarding rights of women like the Convention on the political rights of women – 1952, the convention on the Nationality of Married women – 1957, the declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against women – 1967, the Declaration on the protection 19
  20. 20. of women and children in emergency and armed conflict – 1974, the CEDAW – 1979 and Optional Protocol also has been signed by Bangladesh as a State party. Nonetheless, what we see in Family Courts and Hindu Law in respect of minority women in Bangladesh? C. Do family courts1 accept equality before law? In Bangladesh under the Family Courts Ordinances – 1985 section – 5 of the Ordinance provide that subject to the provisions of Muslim Family Law Ordinances – 1961 a Family Court (i.e. Assistant or Senior Assistant Judge) will have jurisdiction over the following matters i.e. (i) Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage (For Legalize of Marriage or Divorce) (ii) Restitution of Conjugal Life (its one kind of decree which can not be executed for) (iii) Dower (for Muslim women) (iv) Maintenance (For Minor Children) (v) Guardianship and Custody of Children (Woman is only Custodian not Guardian) Inheritance and partition suits will be tried by the Civil Courts. The family Court will act through ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) i.e. mediation, arbitration, conciliation. Section 10 if Family Courts Ordinance and Section – 2 of Muslim Family Ordinance at first and if fails to compromise the dispute through settlement than judicial proceedings will be continued. The Arbitration Council will be composed of by the Chairman of the concerning Ups or Municipal Corporations and two other members each from the parties. D. Does Hindu law recognize the principal of equality? As to status of women there are certain contradiction with the modern principal of human rights and fundamental freedoms but there are strict jurisdiction in this regard which will be clear from the following discussion: The ancient Hindu Law has its own version of the doctrine of equity, justice, and good consideration. According to Goutama, “In cases for which no rule is given, that course must be followed of which at least ten persons who are well instructed, skilled in reasoning, and free from covetousness approve.” Yajnavltkya said that when on a matter there were conflicting rules of law, the matter should be decided based on Nyaya, (natural equity and justice). In modern version, the equity, justice and good conscience as source of law owes its origin to the beginning of the British administration of justice of India. Justice, equity, and good conscience have been generally interpreted to mean rules of English law on the analogous matter as modified to suit the Indian conditions and circumstances. However, we find that there is an area of Hindu law where rules of Hindu law and English law have been blended together or where the rules of English Law have been grafted on rules of Hindu Law. 1 See DLR 1985 Vol XXXVII(37), Bangladesh Statutes, pp 159-165, 244-245 and the family Court Rules, from 335-236 20
  21. 21. E. Common concern of discriminations in Hindu law We find that there are much discrimination between man and woman in the Hindu Law in Bangladesh. Some points are discussed in bellow: • Marriage practice All Bangladeshi Hindus are complying with Dayabhaga law. There is hardly any restriction on marriage of a Hindu male. However, there are many distinctions between male and female in Dayabhaga Law in Bangladesh. Divorce is not in law except on a very limited ground of chastity of wife. Wife and children are however entitled to get maintenance from husband if left uncared. A widow is also entitled to get maintenance from father-in-law’s estate if her husband has not left enough for her maintenance. A Hindu widow can at will remarry. The law of remarriage was enacted in 1856 mostly at the pursuance of Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar. According to Hindu Law, marriage is a Holy union for the performance of religious duties. It is not a contact. It is sacrament and certain ceremonies are essential to the legality of the marriage. From the ancient period, two schools of thought about Hindu law, Dayabhaga and Mitaksara, according to these two schools, marriage was eight kinds. They were Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura, Rakshasa, Gandharva, Paisacha, of which the first four were approved and the last four unapproved. • Registration of marriage According to Hindu social customs, Hindu marriages are solemnized through religious rituals. There is no marriage registration system for Hindus in Bangladesh, except Bangladesh Special Marriage Act – 1872. There is also no Hindu marriage law or Hindu marriage registrar in the country except the said act. Therefore, if any Hindu woman suffers in the hands of her in-laws, she does not get legal help. There is no provision at all for the registration of Hindu marriages. It causes difficulty to women who seek to validate their rights. • Dissolution of marriage The concept of divorce is not recognized under the orthodox Hindu Law in Bangladesh. Manu believed that the duty of a wife continues even after death. She can never have a second husband. The reason is that a marriage from the Hindu point of view creates an indissoluble tie between husband and wife. Unless divorce is allowed by, the custom neither party to a marriage can divorce the other party. However, through the passing of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 in India some revolutionary changes have been introduced regarding marriage and divorce. It is a permanent and indissoluble union (Shasric Hindu law does not allow dissolution of the marital tie). Practically, there are increasing rate of desertions. Deserted women live in double trouble. • Adoption There are two motives in adopting a son; viz. (i) to perform obsequies rites is honour of the adoptive father and his ancestors, (ii) to be the successor of the adoptive father. Any sonless man may adopt a son; ‘sonless’ implies the absence of son, grandson, and great- grandson. Except for a Sudra, one cannot adopt a daughter’s son or a sister’s son. A person’s single son cannot be given in adoption. A woman cannot give away a son without the permission of her living husband. If the husband is dead, she can do so in the 21
  22. 22. absence of prohibition by the husband. An adopted son is placed on equal footing with a natural son. Adoption is recognized under Hindu law. The aim of Adoption under Hindu law is two fold.  To secure spiritual benefit to the ancestors and to the adopter by having a son for the purpose of offering funeral cakes and libations of water to the means of the adopter and his ancestors.  To secure an heir and perpetuate the adopters name. In Bangladesh, the Shatric unmodified law relating to adoption continues exist. Under this law have some condition:  Only a male can be adopted.  To the same caste as his adoptive parents.  Mother is not within the prohibited degrees to his adoptive father could not have married.  Only a man can adopt unilaterally.  A wife or a widow in most places may adopt only with the husbands express consent. • Property rights The main points of difference between Dayabhaga and Mitaksara are: (i) Dayabhaga does not recognize birthright to property, Mitaksara does so; (ii) Drayabhaga holds, right to inherit and order of succession are determined by principle of spiritual benefit; in Mitaksara blood relationship is the determinant. Spiritual benefit consists in performing obsequies rites and offering pindas (rice-balls). Plainly stated, the right of a person to a deceased person’s property is determined by his capability of offering pinda for the benefit of the latter; (iii) In Dayabhaga, members of a joint family hold shares in quasi- severalty; they can dispose of them even before partition; (iv) In Dayabhaga, even in an undivided family, the window takes the share of her husband dying childless; in Mitaksara, she cannot do so. All of the women are used her property in lifetime but unlimited right. Moreover, there is a provision of “Streedhan” in Hindu law as women’s property. But there is no definition of “Streeshan” and Bangladesh judicial system does not granted any provision for claiming “Streedhan”. • Maintenance The term maintenance has been used in a wide sense. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act – 1956 defines maintenance as provision for food, clothing, residence, education and medical attendance and treatment. In the case of an unmarried daughter, it includes reasonable expenses of her marriage. However, according to Hindu law, the husband has the duty to maintain his wife and minor children. A father is bound to maintain his daughter until marriage. The responsibility to maintain one’s wife is a personal obligation arising out of the fact that she is his wife and independent of the possession of any property by him. E. Comparative analysis • Right to marriage registration Bangladesh Muslim Law accepts marriage registration, nonetheless Bangladeshi Hindu marriage is sacrament, and it is a custom solemnized through religious rituals. 22
  23. 23. • Right to divorce In Bangladesh Hindu women have no right to divorce at all. If any woman wants to stay separately, she can file a suit for maintenance. On the other hand, in Muslim Law of Bangladesh permit the power of right to divorce of women and claim compensation from the other party. • Right to property According to Bangladesh Hindu Law, women get a limited share. They inherit life interest in the property. There are five female Sapindas according to the Dayabagha law, namely the widow, the daughter, the mother, the father’s mother, and the mother of father’s father. No other female relation is recognized as heir by the said school. Moreover, a daughter cannot receive any property; even she cannot get life interest in the presence of son, grandson, and great grandson. Although in neighboring India, laws in this regard have been updated since independence in 1947, in Bangladesh the pre-1947 laws are still prevailing. On the other hand, Muslim women can claim dower money applying before court. Hindu women can not. • Right to adoption In Bangladesh, no other religion granted adoption except Hindu believers. F. How do women deprive from their rights: In terms of our country, the gap is wide between the ideal and the practice and this is mainly historical reasons. But these reasons apart, it is the ingrained male feeling of superiority that has primarily created an atmosphere wherein women are deprived of all basic freedoms starting with education and thus are exposed easily to exploitation. Before addressing legal enactment for the oppression of women and protection of their rights these attitudes and wipe out the atmosphere of prejudice and neglect the privileges towards women. In Bangladesh society and family suffers from the viral trend of preferring a son over a daughter in all over the country. But disparity between men and women in minority community stares in the face and several following questions still do not have an adequate and satisfactory answer. The questions are: 1. How in public life – professions, business and services – women are not adequately represented? 2. How in private life – property, marriage, divorce, adoption, worship – are not guaranteed by religion? 3. Why the rate of suicide so high among women? 4. Why women are physical and mental subjected to torture or rape victim? 5. Why minority women are subjected to neglect? 6. Do Bangladeshi Minority women treat as equal as majority? iv. Concluding summery of observation Summary of observation in common discrimination among the people of Bangladesh women’s position are as following: • Women are subordinate to men • Women are bound to follow the all restrictions of Hindu religion • Women can not produce any evidence relating to valid marriage • Women (minority) are deprive form succession 23
  24. 24. • Women can not adopt any children without prior permission of male partner • Widows treated as a neglected person of the society • Widows remarriage do not well accept in Bangladesh • Women (Minority) can not dissolve marriage • Women do not get any compensation • Women usually do not want to go far away in search of job • Women are not aware about the gender based violence • Social recognition of women’s rights of inheritance and campaign to reduce negative perceptions does not address • Muslim women get privilege in application of existing personal law but Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and ethnic women can not • Family court is not equal v. Suggested measures • Family court’s Act – 1985 should be amended • Community people should be united to fight against such mal-practice • Since the matter is bargaining power to, power over and power of the people, so voice should be raised with more argumentative • People should sit together and discuss the dispute and decide not to discriminate women • Government should amend religious personal laws, such as: Hindu law of Bangladesh • Government should enact uniform family code • Government should amend customary hereditary laws which accommodate women’s property inheritance in personal law. • Parents should encourage to give there daughters a share along with the sons. • Government should formulation of national laws to become strong women community • Assess needs and adopt measures to provide access to justice and aware adopt holistic behavior approach • Government should establish separate rehabilitation centre for the minority victim women • Government should set up a Minority Human Rights Commission and a separate Ministry for Minority Welfare. • Government should take action against the peregrinators for any kinds of violation of minority women’s rights. vi. Concluding remarks During few decades, feminists publicized many of the social problems of women and advocated for equal rights for them in areas such as equal access to education, high quality medical care, nontraditional jobs, and sports. As the struggle for equal rights for women with men continued, women’s and children legal right to safety became an important issue. Until that time, this widespread social problem was shrouded in secrecy because women were fearful and ashamed to discuss their victimization publicly. Once 24
  25. 25. the extent of domestic violence became known, it became obvious that many women were forced to stay in violent relationships because they had no legal recourse, no one to turn to for help, no job skills or money with which to support their families, and no safe haven to go to. Bangladesh formerly East Bengal and then East Pakistan, shares two of he oldest and richest cultural traditions of the world. On the one hand, it roots back to ancient Indic civilization and on the other hand to Islamic culture. The crystallization of the Bengali language from of the classical Sanskrit during the Indian medieval period provides the region with a linguistic underpinning for its separate cultural identity2 .Moreover when the Muslim influence spread to Bengali the area already had a rich accumulation of Buddhist and Hindu cultures of at least fifteen hundred years and a complete structure of society3 Since the authority of religious and customary laws is perceived to drive from people,’s belief and practice from time immemorial any attempt at imposing change may be perceived as an exercise in cultural imperialism and rejected as such. In order to change such laws international instruments should seek to co necessity of the change. Such persuasion must be based on the complete and realistic understanding of the rationale or authority of these laws and of that way, they operate in practice. Moreover, no religion is static. There is always room for interpretation and consensus among the believers which can be utilized to obliterate perpetuation of gender discrimination at all levels of the society. In conclusion we can say that religious and class based discrimination has been observed by this research work. The state approach in relation to gender is conflicted by the following points: 1. The effort to bring of women in the stream of development driven by economic and various national and international compulsion 2. Maintain and retain the structural and strategic gender based dominations under influence of conventional and patriarchal outlook 3. Pressure of growing conservative reactionary process 4. Maintain patriarchal attitude and mentality of the society 5. Some strategic facilities have positioned men upgrade 6. Limited impact of domestic violence 7. Access to internal and external social and economic resources are not equal 8. Non-domestic violence positioned women in bellow/ lower 9. Minority women’s position in respect of domestic and non-domestic violence is remarkable other than majority women 10. Practice and violence accepting the growing repression of women. Ensuring full compliance with the human rights laws for women has relevance and importance not just to women’s status in society, but also to the general health and well being of the whole community. Without women’s full and equal contribution, society will 2 Spear, Percival: The Medieval Hindu Kingdoms from the Death of Harsha in A.D. 647 to the Muslim Conquest’. Spear, Percival (ed.): The Oxford History of India, Oxford 1958, Page – 197 3 Ali, Anwer: ‘Muslim Mind and Society in Bangladesh: An Historical Retrospect’. In Ali Asgar (ed.): Islam in South and South –east Asia, New Delhi – 1985, page - 185 25
  26. 26. be the poorer and millions of women will continue to suffer personally. It is an issue not only of human rights but also justice and humanity. Lastly, we can end an optimistic message exemplified by the well loved Maori blessings: “May the calm be widespread, may the sea glisten like the greenstone, may the shimmer of summer dance forever across your pathway” Thank You 26

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