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Workshop on Business & Human Rights for Journalist and HR Defenders

With the aim to create an alliance between the media, civil society actors to uphold human rights threatened by business interventions through media action and supporting the communities a workshop on ‘Business & Human Rights for Journalist and HR Defenders’ jointly organized by Participatory Research Action Network-PRAN and ActionAid Bangladesh on June 22-23, 2019, BRAC CDM, Savar, Dhaka.

Speakers said the development of our country is measured by statistics like GDP and GNP. Life and livelihoods of the common peoples is being suppressed by several development projects. The negative impact of such reckless and imprudent projects are effecting socio-environment, climate and also violating the fundamental human rights of common peoples in the localities’. Such a violation of human rights is one of the main obstacles in the way of achieving sustainable development goals.

Dr. Salimullah Khan, Director of Center for Advanced Theory, University of Liberal Arts; Mr. Jyotirmoy Barua, Bar-at-Law and Coordinator of Life and Nature Platform; Dr. Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, Associate Professor of Dhaka University; Dr. Niaz Ahmed Khan, Former Country Representative of IUCN Bangladesh; Asgar Ali Sabri, Director of ActionAid Bangladesh; Aaman Rahman, Director of CARE Bangladesh; Hasan Mehedi, Focal of Bangladesh Working Group of External Debts; Mir Masrur Zaman, Senior News Editor of Channel I, Harunor Rashid, News Editor of Bangla Tribune; Iftekhar Mahmud, Special Correspondent of the Daily Prothom Alo were conducted various sessions of two-days’ workshop; where 30 journalists from national and local level media, Civil Society members and Human Right Defenders from affected communities participated.

In the context of the various discussions, like Legal and Institutional framework of Business and Human Rights, Development Model and Social and Environmental Safeguard, Political Economy of Mega-Infrastructure based Development, Development Displacement and so on, the speakers mentioned that human face is absent in the development plan of Bangladesh. In the current situation of our country, this is impossible to meet the demand for sustainable development because the directions of environment and development are inversely opposite. Highlighting the importance of raising the question how viable development plans are, which exclude people, natural resources, environment, they said there are some immediate benefits of mega-projects, no doubt but its worth is disproportionately contributed. Development needs to be measured not on the basis of quantitative quality, rather on the basis of qualitative quality. At the same time, they emphasized on adopting a development plan that will reduce social discrimination.

At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their interest on some specific issues related to business and human rights of which they are interested to work with and also mentioned that the laws, policies and technical issues they came to know from this workshop will help them to advocate for affected people and environment.

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