Bangladesh

High Court Directs Government to Immediately Implement Sexual Harassment Guidelines in all Educational Institutions, and ensure that Women Not Forced to Veil or Cover their Heads. Advocate Salahuddin Dolon v Bangladesh, Writ Petition No. 4495 of 2009. Summary: The High Court today directed the Ministry of Education to take immediate steps to implement the Guidelines on Sexual Harassment declared earlier in BNWLA v Bangladesh, and to ensure that no woman working in any educational institution, public or private is forced to wear a veil or cover her head, and may exercise her personal choice whether or not to do so. The Court also observed that Section 27A of the Government Servants Discipline and Conduct Rules 1979, must be read alongside these Guidelines, to ensure that public officials are held to account for any acts of sexual harassment.

Bangladesh’s High Court has ordered authorities in an eastern district to protect and produce in court a 16-year-old girl who was lashed 101 times earlier this month after becoming pregnant as the result of a rape. The girl, who has not been named, received the punishment on the orders of village elders in the Brahmanbaria district who issued a “fatwa,” or Islamic ruling, declaring that she be flogged for immoral behavior. The elders pardoned the 20 year-old rapist. The incident occurred five months after the country’s highest court issued a ruling ordering authorities to investigate incidents of extra-judicial punishments and take action against those responsible.

Bangladesh’s dozens of Islamic political parties must drop Islam from their name and stop using religion when on the campaign trail following a court ruling, the country’s law minister said on Monday. The Supreme Court on Sunday upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court from 2005 throwing out the fifth amendment of the constitution, which had allowed religion-based politics to flourish in the country since the late 1970s. “All politics based on religion are going to be banned as per the original constitution,” Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said.

Catherine Makino interviews leading Bangladeshi human rights activist Sultana Kamal.
Newspaper article to be published on 3 September 2009 – International Day for CEDAW.
The High Court today issued a Rule Nisi today on the Government and the Inspector General of Police as follows:
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has received information and requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh.
The High Court gave a landmark judgment today in the first application of its Sexual Harassment Guidelines pronounced on 14 May.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the number of seats reserved for women in Bangladesh parliament would be raised from 45 at present.
There are many laws that are still discriminatory towards women and even those laws that do protect women are not enforced properly.
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