The goal of this platform is to ensure appropriate humanitarian response for women, girls and children within a shortest possible time in Bangladesh.
Thirty two women rights organizations came together under the newly launched Bangladesh Women’s Humanitarian Platform (BWHP); to build the capacity of humanitarian actors to effectively address gender-based violence (GBV) during any crisis.
The non-political voluntary platform was launched on Monday at the CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka. The official announcement of launch was made by United Nation’s Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo.
The idea of the platform emerged in October 2017 when a workshop was held to engage women’s rights organizations in disaster and humanitarian action in Bangladesh.
According to Mia Seppo, the goal of this platform is to ensure appropriate humanitarian response for women, girls and children within a shortest possible time in Bangladesh.
Emphasizing on risks during disasters and humanitarian crisis, Mia Seppo said everyone should learn basic skills to protect themselves and increase awareness among community.
“Disasters don’t discriminate but people do. Disasters reinforce, perpetuate and then increase gender inequality, making a bad situation for women,” she said.
She also emphasized on challenges to ensure written commitments in reality.
According to the Asia Foundation’s State of Conflict and Violence in Asia: Bangladesh report: “Women and girls face various forms of gender-based violence, including domestic, physical and psychological abuse, dowry-related, rape, and early marriage. Deeply rooted patriarchal social norms and traditional practices and a weak and corrupt criminal justice system enable such violence.”
At the launching ceremony, Oxfam in Bangladesh’s Gender Justice Manager Nazmun Nahar said the platform aims to better understand humanitarian crises from a gender perspective, including the unique needs and challenges for women and girls in disasters.
“BWHP will advocate for improved data on sexual violence and human trafficking, and more media and public awareness. Women and gender issue is for everyone working in humanitarian crisis as well as all kinds of emergencies,” she said.
BWHP’s principles include protecting the confidentiality and safety of gender-based violence survivors, witnesses, and information sources, as well as the principles of respect, non-discrimination, and a participatory approach to all work.
The platform will work with all partners including national and international NGOs, UN agencies, government, human rights and community-based organizations.
NaripokkhoProject Director and member Rowshan Ara gave a presentation about BWHP while Ashroy Foundation Executive Director Momotaj Khatun briefed what the platformwas all about.
Director General of Department of Disaster ManagementReaz Ahmed was present as chief guest at the launching ceremony.