Monday, June 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

A good place to start

A big step forward in eliminating and minimizing discrimination

Update : 12 Apr 2022, 01:37 PM

A nation’s overall progress is not limited to it’s GDP, per capita income, or indeed any other economic barometers. No, true progress lies in how equitable its people are treated, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities. 

To say that Bangladesh has failed in doing so would be an understatement, as reports and stories of everyday bigotry in our nation no longer surprise us -- just last month, we witnessed a law enforcer harass a hapless teacher for his own misbegotten views of what women should and should not wear. 

The proposed Anti-Discrimination Law 2022 is, therefore, a big step forward in eliminating and minimizing our nation’s rampant problem of discrimination. 

However, the draft still misses out on addressing a lot of key concerns, as it lacks any notable mentions of sexual minorities, freedom of religion, and most importantly, the many hurdles that women face in equitable treatment to this very day. 

All of these observations have been rightly pointed out by policy experts and members of our civil society as being prominent omissions within the proposed bill. Bangladesh is unfortunately home to a lot of needless discrimination that often manifest themselves in violent ways, with one of the more notable examples being the murder of LGBT activist Xulhaz Mannan around six years ago. 

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Other glaring omissions include factors such as existing retrograde laws such as the Special Marriage Act where, in an interfaith marriage, one party has to yield their religion and assimilate to the other’s. 

And there are numerous contradictions within the existing draft law as well: It makes little sense for a law to have provisions that protect the third gender, but does not take the entire spectrum of genders into account, for example. 

Despite the numerous issues left unaddressed in the draft law, it still signals a big step in tackling discrimination within our society. We sincerely hope our law-makers take the time to review the proposed law with each and every form of discrimination that occurs in Bangladesh.



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