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Rights activists call for bridging gap between rich and poor to end discrimination

  • Published at 11:33 pm January 18th, 2020
Rights activists
Rokeya Kabir speaks at a press conference organized by South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication at the National Press Club on Saturday, January 18, 2020 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

They made the comment at a press conference organized by South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication at the National Press Club on Saturday

Ending discrimination altogether in Bangladesh will not be possible if the existing economic system fails to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, right activists said at a seminar in Dhaka.  

They made the comment at a press conference organized by South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication at the National Press Club on Saturday. 

Dr MM Akash, distinguished professor of economics at the University of Dhaka, said development is not all inclusive in Bangladesh and the poor often end up committing acts of moral turpitude, when they are not part of development. 

"Health sector is crucial to our development effort; however, only a handful of rich people have access to and can afford quality health care. The poor ones of society receive below par health service at places like Dhaka Medical College Hospital, whereas, the rich get health care services in expensive hospitals in Singapore." 

Rokeya Kabir, an eminent rights activists, said it is high time to recognize women and unpaid caregivers in general who deliver round-the-clock services at the household.

"Unpaid care work by women and girls is an issue all over the world. In South Asia, it is mostly women do all the care work without getting paid," she said. 

The way we currently measure our economies ignores a large portion of unpaid care work that affects all of us. Most of this work is done by women and girls for free, every day. Around the world, they are responsible for 75% of unpaid care and domestic work in our homes and communities. So these issues are not just hypothetical, but critical to achieving inclusive economic growth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

In a scathing criticism, veteran politician and Oikya Nap President Pankaj Bhattacharya questioned who will raise voice for the people being discriminated in a country where a Nobel peace laureate himself has been a victim of discrimination. 

Shedding light on the prevailing culture of discrimination, Dr Lelin Chowdhury, general secretary of Khelaghar Ashor, said parents often instill in their child that people born in a well-off family are superior to the children of poor families.  

Other notable speakers and social activists also demanded an economic structure that ensures equality for women and peasants. 

Professor Dr. Rashid-E-Mahmud, president of Health Rights Movement National Committee, and Tanzim Uddin Khan, professor at the University of Dhaka, also spoke at the press conference.