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EC adding 'Hijra' as a gender identity in voters' list

  • Published at 10:13 pm January 13th, 2018
EC adding 'Hijra' as a gender identity in voters' list
The Election Commission has started adding the "Hijra" in the gender identity section of voter's list as a mark of recognition to their right as the citizens of the country. The hijras or members of the third-gender community will be able to pick the 'Hijra' gender identity alongside the 'male' and 'female' options from the coming update of the voters' list. "The Election Commission took the decision principally and it would be finalized soon," Acting Secretary to the commission’s Secretariat Helaluddin Ahmed told BSS in Dhaka on Saturday. He said the Hijra community would get the identity section after four years of their official recognition. The commission has also decided to amend the Voters' List Act 2009 and the Voters' List Regulations 2012 accordingly. According to the updated draft voters' lists published by the Election Commission recently, the number of total voters in the country at present is 10,40,51,883 while the national identity cards have been distributed to eligible voters since the start of photo voters' list registration. Commission sources said the members of the Hijra community were able to register previously for 'male' or 'female' options on the list. A Cabinet meeting officially recognized the gender identity of Hijras and approved a policy on the matter on November 13, 2013. The commission then attempted to add the proposed Hijra option to the 2014 voters' registration forms but were unable to do so because there had been no amendment of the Voter List Act and the Voter List Regulations. Helaluddin Ahmed said the matter was raised at a meeting on amending the regulations at the commission Secretariat on December 27 in 2017. "The commissioners, however, decided that it is necessary to amend the existing law and regulations to include Hijras as a gender identity alongside men and women on the voter information gathering list," he said. According to a survey of the Ministry of Social Welfare, there are around 10,000 hijras living in Bangladesh.