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magazine on human rights & social justice

Posts Tagged / bangladesh

  • May 01 / 2012
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Journal

Without a country Burma’s Rohingya people

Under Myanmar’s 1982 citizenship law, Rohingya children - both registered and unregistered - are stateless and face limited access to food and health care. Many are prevented from attending school and used for forced labour, contributing to a Rohingya illiteracy rate of 80 percent. More than 60 percent of children aged between five and 17 have never enrolled in school.  Photo: Digital Media

Under Myanmar’s 1982 citizenship law, Rohingya children – both registered and unregistered – are stateless and face limited access to food and health care. Many are prevented from attending school and used for forced labour, contributing to a Rohingya illiteracy rate of 80 percent. More than 60 percent of children aged between five and 17 have never enrolled in school. Photo: Digital Media

On August 8th, 1988 thousands of Burmese poured into the streets calling for democracy. Soldiers opened fire at the unarmed golden-robed Buddhist monks, students, professionals, women, and children. The shooting didn’t stop for ten days, but the people kept flooding the streets in protest. As many as 10,000 people were killed, thousands more were arrested, and many were tortured.

Nur Hashim Salim, co-founder of the Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization (CBRO), was one of the protestors. A high school student at the time, he feared for his life especially because he belongs to the Rohingya ethnic minority, a marginalized Muslim community in the north-western part of the country. Denied citizenship rights and persecuted by the military, he went into hiding. His parents were detained and tortured for weeks to reveal his location, and so he fled to Bangladesh to save his life. Continue Reading

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  • Jan 01 / 2012
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Journal

Chaining the mentally ill

A mentally ill boy

A mentally ill boy is held by restraints as a precaution against him turning violent, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

Across the islands of Indonesia, people commonly use iron shackles, wooden stocks and rope to restrain individuals with mental illnesses. This is known as pasung, and includes physical restraints and confinement.

Many nurses and mental health workers chain patients or place patients in seclusion rooms to establish a sense of order in hospitals. Fearing a family member with a mental illness, families use similar practices at home, often in emulation of the professionals in the hospitals.

Such treatment compromises the health of the mentally ill, argues Dr. Soumitra Pathare, a psychiatrist in Pune, India, and expert in human rights law and mental health. He has assisted several countries, including Indonesia, develop mental health policy and law. Continue Reading

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  • Mar 10 / 2010
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Journal

World in crisis: four global challenges four Canadian responses

Paul Martin

Paul Martin

Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May

George Stroumboulopoulos

George Stroumboulopoulos

William Watson

William Watson

Julia Pyper

Julia Pyper

I’m a young Canadian who wants to know what the world will look like in 20 years. I want to know the challenges I will face. And I want to know about the major issues in the world today, so I can imagine a better tomorrow.

As naturally curious and self-aware beings, humans have often questioned the future, and have been skeptical about its promise. Shortly after the horrific First World War, Yeats described the apocalypse he felt was close at hand in his poem “The Second Coming”: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.”

Today, there is also a lot to be concerned about. The world is experiencing multiple global crises — a severe economic downturn, persistent global poverty, climate change, war and conflict, and resource depletion. It’s difficult not to be discouraged. Continue Reading

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  • Nov 01 / 2009
  • 1
Journal

The Dalits of Bangladesh

The term "Dalit" is a Sanskrit word that means “those who have been broken and ground down deliberately by those above them in the social hierarchy." Dalits live at risk of discrimination, dehumanization, violence, and enslavement through human trafficking every day. Dalits constitute the largest number of people categorized as victims of modern-day slavery. - Dalit Freedom Network

The term “Dalit” is a Sanskrit word that means “those who have been broken and ground down deliberately by those above them in the social hierarchy.” Dalits live at risk of discrimination, dehumanization, violence, and enslavement through human trafficking every day. Dalits constitute the largest number of people categorized as victims of modern-day slavery. – Dalit Freedom Network

The lowest of the Hindu castes, these “untouchables” fight for a voice

The Pongue Sweeper Colony, a dense network of one-room shanty houses built from scavenged bamboo, wood, and corrugated metal, sits on what is essentially an oversized ditch between the Dhaka Orthopedic Hospital and the World Bank in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The ground in the slum is wet and stagnant, the homes built on bamboo poles two or three feet off the ground. Often, more than one family lives in a single house, without electricity or sanitation. They share latrines dug into the earth and get their drinking water from a small pipe that winds its way through the reeking debris.

Most of the one hundred and ten families there are “sweepers” – cleaners of the city’s roads and sewer systems. They are Dalits, the lowest of the Hindu castes, for centuries “untouchable.”

N. Sree Ramu, the twenty-eight year old Joint Secretary of the Bangladesh Dalits Human Rights (BDHR) organization, lives here with his wife and three year old daughter. While showing me around he told me that his family and most of the others in the colony have been there since the government of Bangladesh plowed over their old shanty houses and relocated them from another part of the city in 1993 – their fourth relocation since 1979. Continue Reading

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