When Malala Yousafzai and her companions were shot by the Taliban, the whole of Pakistan expressed outrage. The attack on a young girl fighting for her right to education was shocking to many Pakistanis.  What was unusual about this event was, unfortunately, not the targeting of girls, but the fact that there was a national outcry.

Press Release

We, the undersigned strongly protest the arrest of Mr. Yunus Ali, the Head Teacher of KC Technical and Business Management College of Pirojpur, on 4 January, 2012. Mr. Ali was arrested or having allegedly kept a copy of writer Taslima Nasreen's novel "Lajja" ("Shame") in the college library. This arrest is a clear breach of the right to freedom of speech and shows the presence of a broad range of communal and generally reactionary forces in our society.

The study reviews the formal and customary laws and practices governing the rights of women to inherit land in six South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). The study includes an analysis of existing laws and customs and their impact on inheritance and land rights in all six countries. It also provides recommendations for how to design interventions that can attempt to improve women’s inheritance rights.

The authors test the unitary versus collective model of the household using specially designed data from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and South Africa. Human capital and individual assets at the time of marriage are used as proxy measures for bargaining power. In all four countries, we reject the unitary model as a description of household behaviour, but fail to reject the hypothesis that households are Pareto-efficient. In Bangladesh and South Africa, women's assets increase expenditure shares on education, while in Ethiopia it is men's assets that have this effect.
This desk study provides an analysis of the constraints and discrimination that women face with respect to access to rural land with the hope of informing future policy and civil society interventions. The country studies investigate statutory and customary discriminations, and they attempt to place the theme of women’s access to land into a larger socio-cultural frame of reference.

The Bangladesh government should take urgent measures to make sure that religious fatwas and traditional dispute resolution methods do not result in extrajudicial punishments, Human Rights Watch said today.  The government is yet to act on repeated orders of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court, beginning in July 2010, to stop illegal punishments such as whipping, lashing, or public humiliations, said the petitioners who challenged the practice.

Police in Bangladesh broke up angry protesters blocking a main highway in the capital Dhaka, over a new law giving women equal property rights. Dozens were arrested and injured as police used tear gas and batons. Schools, businesses and offices across the country remained closed in a nationwide strike enforced by a group of Islamic parties. Bangladesh has a secular legal system, but in matters relating to inheritance it follows Sharia law. Under Bangladeshi law a woman normally inherits half as much as her brother. But under the new rules, every child would inherit an equal amount.

The High Court has ruled that no women can be forced to wear burqa at work and educational institutions. The bench of justices A H M Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Sheikh Mohammad Zakir Hossain also ruled that they cannot be barred from taking to culture and sports. The orders came in the wake of a public interest petition filed by Supreme Court lawyers Mahbub Shafi and A K M Hafizul Alam on Sunday. 

Asma was 13 years old and in eighth grade. She was living with her parents and other siblings in a remote village of marsh land in Bangladesh. She had to walk a mile, cross a river and then walk another mile to attend the high school. She was only girl from her village who was attending high school. Most of the girls of her age were dropt out after completing primary education, getting married and giving birth. She had moved away from home to live with her aunt, who was located much closer to the school because she was under constant harassment on her way to school by a man of 27 years who proposed her a marry. As Asma refused his proposal and failed to push her to accept his offer than he sent his family to Asma’s family with a marriage proposal. The man was uneducated and a “bad boy.” Neither Asma nor her family approved of him. Moreover, Asma’s father told the family, “I want my daughter to continue her studies and I’m not going to marry her off now.” 

Film in eight parts by Hasan Mahmud, Director of Sharia Law, Muslim Canadian Congress, Canada.

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