Civic Bangladesh engages with the global civil society to glocalise common concerns and interests, and contribute to the efforts at ‘building a more just and equitable world’. At home, it mobilises civic participation in Bangladesh Dignity Forum (BDF), Civic Media Net (CIMEN), and Civic Youth Democracy Alliance (CYDA).
Bangladesh Dignity Forum
Bangladesh Dignity Forum (BDF) is an umbrella established in December 2006 by Civic Bangladesh to promote dignity for all in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Dignity Forum calls for civic participation and engagement in a campaign launched by Civic Bangladesh to promote human dignity as committed by the Constitution of Bangladesh and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Constitution of Bangladesh states:
“The Republic shall be a democracy in which ...respect for the dignity and worth of the human person shall be guaranteed...”
--From The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh ratified 4 November 1972
It is remarkable that Bangladesh is one of the few countries that include dignity in their constitutions. While most countries are only beginning to recognize the significance of dignity and are only beginning to use the language of dignity, Bangladesh did it early in history in its Proclamation of Independence dated 10 April 1971 “to ensure for the people of Bangladesh equality, human dignity and social justice”. Civic Bangladesh promotes this campaign also in tune with Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.
Bangladesh Dignity Forum (BDF) provides a platform for individuals and civic organizations to advocate with the Government to Bangladesh (GOB) and the United Nations to fulfil their constitutional obligations and commitments.
To help build a dignitarian society by raising mass awareness of the evils of rankism and mobilizing popular resistance against the violation of dignity
To create a culture of dignity in the economic, social and political institutions of the country based on the principles of cohesiveness, flexibility, tolerance, openness, and mutual empathy, respect and co-operation
- To cultivate the values of civility and humility;
- To promote the spirit of mutual respect, co-operation, harmony and peace;
- To promote the values of tolerance and respect for diversity and differences;
- To eliminate social discrimination, injustice and humiliation, resolve conflict and extremism; and
- To reduce the degree of humiliation in the cultural and political institutions of the society.
Bangladesh Dignity Forum Pledges Countrywide Network Drive
The National Steering Committee of Bangladesh Dignity Forum met on 17 April 2010 at Civic Bangladesh, the Secretariat of the Forum, and reiterated its commitment to work for extending the network across the country, developing a popular dignity movement, and creating a culture of dignity with an aim to build a dignitarian society in Bangladesh.
To reinforce the Forum’s action towards achieving the end gradually, the Steering Committee underwent reorganization and co-opted new leaderships having proven experience, capability and commitment.
The new office bearers are Engineer Ms. Musbah Alim, Chairperson; Mr. Harunor Rashid, Vice-Chairperson; Ms. Sumaiya Islam, Vice-Chairperson; Mr. Bayezid Dawla, General Secretary; Mr. Sadequl Islam, Treasurer; and Mr. Mofizul Islam Milon, Organizing Secretary.
The meeting discussed and approved the Terms of Reference (ToR) presented by the Forum’s General Secretary Mr. Bayezid Dawla, who is also the Executive Director of Civic Bangladesh.
Further, the meeting approved a plan to form the Rajshahi Metropolitan Forum and Rajshahi Divisional Forum on 8 May 2010, and Rangpur Metropolitan Forum and Rangpur Divisional Forum on 9 May 2010. The Committee also decided to announce dates soon at convenience to organize the remaining five metro forums and five divisional forums.
The meeting was presided over by Dr. Anisuzzaman, Vice-Chairperson of the outgoing Steering Committee.
Civic Media Network (CIMEN)
Civic Media Network (CIMEN) is an emerging network of local media professionals committed to building an informed, alert and vibrant civil society, promoting human rights and improving governance. Civic Bangladesh has created this network to empower the local media through training, research and campaigns to promote press freedom, freedom of expression, right to information, e-governance, transparency and accountability as well as to curb public corruption, indignity and injustice.
CIMEN monitors progress in the implementation of the constitutional and legal obligations of the Government of Bangladesh and its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I. Constitution of Bangladesh
Article 39: Freedom of thought and conscience and of speech
39 (1) Freedom of thought and conscience is guaranteed.
39 (2) Subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence –
(a) the right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression; and
(b) freedom of the press;
II. Right to Information Law 2009
The Government of Bangladesh framed the Right to Information Law 2009 to ensure the free flow of information and people’s right to information. The law argues that the law has been approved since The Constitution of Bangladesh recognizes the freedom of thought, conscience and speech as people’s basic right and since the Right to Information is an integral part of the freedoms of thought, conscience and speech.
III. Article XIX, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
— Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19.
To promote the right to information and freedom of expression though promoting community journalism and mainstreaming the voices of the remote and excluded communities in the media
The objectives of the CIMEN are:
To develop a grassroots network of community journalists;
To empower communities through information transfer, and develop an information society;
To develop an e-media network to incorporate the inaudible voices excluded from the democratic development process;
To promote role of community journalists in promoting good governance by increasing transparency and curbing public corruption;
To feed information into the campaigns led by Bangladesh Dignity Forum;
To monitor the implementation of the Right to Information Law; and
To influence policy reforms relating to the constitutional and legal obligations of the government of Bangladesh and its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Civic Youth Democracy Alliance (CYDA)
Civic Youth Democracy Alliance (CYDA) mobilises youth participation in developing civic leadership, skills and cultures, and promoting values and principles to deepen democracy, promote dignity and facilitate access to justice.
Civic Bangladesh is a member of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation (http://www.civicus.org/new/media/MembersDirectory.doc) and networks with World Movement for Democracy (WMD), and World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD). Also, it engages in active participation with Dignity for All, and the Global Core Team of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (http://www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/coreteamlong.php#dawla).