Dalits marched in Bangladesh to demand that the Government enact anti-discrimination legislation – important to the protection of rights of marginalised groups like the Dalits. The Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement also organised a seminar on housing and land rights for Dalits.
Two Dalit organisations, The Bangladesh Dalit Parishad (BDP) and Parittran, organised a long march urging the Government to immediately enact the proposed anti-discrimination law to protect their rights. The march was covered in the news; Dalits still treated as untouchables (The Daily Star), Call to ensure rights of Dalits (The Independent – Bangladesh), Enact law against discrimination(The Daily Star).
“The Dalits are being deprived of their fundamental rights and people do not even let them enter social places like hotels and restaurants, said Raghunath Das, president of the divisional unit at the Bangladesh Dalit Parishad (BDP).
Parittran Coordinator Shefali Sarker said the Dalits are being oppressed by the society even though nowadays they are educating themselves.
They even have to conceal their identity in fear of disparities when they go for higher education, she said, adding that the condition of their women and children is even worse.” (Daily Star)
To address discrimination in accessibility to housing and land rights for Dalits in Bangladesh the Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) organised the seminar ‘Housing and Land Rights: Accessibility and Realities of Dalits in Bangladesh’ – where stakeholders met to discuss ways forward.
List of key seminar recommendations on access to housing and land rights for Dalits in Bangladesh:
· Conduct physical survey on the housing and land situation of the Dalit community and take practical and special steps including adequate budget allotment for removing housing problem of the Dalit.
· Ensure permanent housing of the Dalit community; allot existing land to the Dalit community where they have been living for generation. Stop eviction by the land grabber, influential people, bring them under law and ensure exemplary punishment.
· Proper monitoring by the govt. to ensure that the allocated budget for housing of Dalits is being used properly.
· Ensure adequate rooms for the families in the Dalit colonies, construction of new buildings, deliver in time, maintain quality, ensure hygienic toilet and drainage system.
· Conduct massive awareness campaign to change the mindset of the mainstream people towards the Dalit, ensure acceptance of them in the mainstream society (in terms of buying land, renting house etc.)