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Marginalised, ethnic minorities discriminated from public services: Speakers tell Research Initiatives, Bangladesh seminar

Staff Correspondent

Communities of ethnic minorities and those marginalised in the country are facing discrimination in getting public services because of the lack of accountability and transparency in activities of agencies concerned, speakers told a seminar yesterday.
Although the constitution guarantees equal rights for all and non-discrimination when it comes to benefiting from services such as social safety net programmes, only influential people can enjoy those due to the absence of proper monitoring and implementation of laws, they observed. It is important to ensure massive awareness campaigns so that those deprived can be conscious and vocal against “state-patronised” discrimination, the discussants added.
Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) organised the seminar on “Vulnerable Groups' Access to Social Safety Net Programmes through Participatory Action Research and Right to Information Act” in the capital.
Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury said it was more urgent to bring a change in politics before going for social reforms. “There is no accountability in Bangladesh. Corruption, violence and different irregularities are increasing. The country's image is being maligned before the international community,” he said. “If we cannot change the existing exploitative nature of the state, the discrimination will not be eliminated,” he added.
Rights activist Hameeda Hossain said women and those being marginalised faced discrimination because influential people denied them their rights.
RIB Executive Director Meghna Guhathakurta presented a keynote paper on working with 1,500 people of ethnic minority communities and those marginalised in Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Rajshahi, Jessore and Satkhira to see how they benefited from social safety net programmes and whether they used the RTI act. RIB President Shamsul Bari chaired the seminar while Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir and former information commissioner Sadeka Halim also spoke.
12:00 AM, August 10, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:42 AM, August 10, 2016

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