Bangladesh: South Asia Court of Women

The Daily Star
A three-day 'South Asia Court of Women on the Violence of Trafficking begins on August 11.
The Asian Women's Human Rights Council (AWHRC) organises the event in collaboration with the Policy Research for Development Alternative (UBINIG) and Narigrantha Prabartana.
More than 1500 women rights activists, experts, academics, media personnel, legal experts, and testifiers from seven South Asian countries will attend the programme, organisers said at a press conference yesterday.

"The court will neither be a substitute nor parallel to any existing court of law, rather a symbolic one, which will particularly concentrate on women's subjugation," said UBINIG Executive Director Farida Akhter.

"Fundamental character of this court is that the jury will hear the plaintiff in absence of judge and defender, and will draw future work plan," she explained.

The jury members will come from South Africa, Ireland, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the US, and host Bangladesh.

The court endeavours to provide women with an alternative space where they will get an opportunity to recount different forms of violence they faced, Farida said.

"Women and child trafficking occurs with the aim of sexual slavery, forced marriage, and collecting human organs. But once a trafficked woman is rescued, she suffers further social stigma in the name of HIV test," she said.

The court of women will seek to understand the issues in the context of violent global order calling upon the states and governments to make appropriate economic, social, and legal provisions to protect the rights of victims of trafficking.

Sayyda Akhtar of UBINIG said that 647 members of 102 organisations from across the country had already confirmed their participation.

The AWHCR has held 17 similar courts so far in India, Pakistan, Nepal, China, Japan, Egypt, Lebanon, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Australia, and Cuba. The event in Dhaka will be funded by the UNDP.

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