Two official bodies have agreed to work on a set of recommendations to the Government of Bangladesh on special legislation against caste discrimination.

The country’s Law Commission will organise a conference in January next year together with the National Human Rights Commission to produce the recommendations, the Law Commission’s Acting Chair, Dr Shah Alam, said earlier this month.

He announced the joint initiative at a ‘South Asian Consultation on Social, Economic and Legal Protections for Dalits and Socially Excluded Communities’ in Dhaka on 1-2 December. Participants at the event discussed the role of state institutions, the academia and human rights organisations and made calls to address regional institutions on the issue of caste discrimination.

The consultation made recommendations to the Government of Bangladesh for the development of a national action plan, taking guidance from UN human rights frameworks and experience from other countries in the region.

Participants pointed to the need for a comprehensive study to assess the scale of the human rights problem and the social and economic issues to be addressed. Such a study should also include facts and exact figures. Recently, the Ministry of Welfare published new figures on the population of Dalit and other excluded groups, arriving at 6.6 million in total.

The conference was organised by Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) and Nagorik Uddyog. Participants from the host country were joined by Dalit rights campaigners from India and Nepal as well as international human rights campaigners and researchers.

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News report on the consultation

Consultation programme

IDSN database on caste discrimination in Bangladesh