ASIA/BANGLADESH - Christian women against violence and for rights and dignity


Dacca - “Women in Bangladesh are subject to violence all through life and this prevents them from realizing their dignity and violates their rights as human beings. Daily submission prevents them from education, work, and opportunities”: Fides was told this by Bengalese activist Maria Haldar, who is a Christian, on the occasion of a seminar held in Dacca on the issue of “Fighting violence on women”.
“Violence on women in Bangladesh is deeply rooted in the historical, cultural and political context, and government structures, social institutions and laws help this to continue. The vast range of violence on women in Bangladesh includes: violence by the partner, domestic violence, abuse of minors, sexual harassment, early marriages, human trafficking, infant mortality, homicide and violence connected with the dowry question”, the activist affirms.
Taking part in a recent conference in Dacca, organized by the ecumenical organization Christian Conference of Asia in partnership with the National Council of Churches of Bangladesh, numerous activists of the civil society and of local religious communities called on the government to apply the law to end gender violence in the country. “Many government policies and services continue to reflect a sexist tendency. Despite juridical protection against various forms of violence, juridical systems still have to overcome barriers which hamper the reform”, she says. “Even religious institutions and norms reinforce unequal gender relations and contribute to violence against women”, she added.
Christian communities in Bangladesh intend to support women’s ecumenical initiatives to prevent violence, including the Ecumenical Women’s Action against Violence . Ms Sunila Ammar, head of EWAV, tells Fides: “There can be no peace in the countries of Asia as long as violence against women continues. This battle is not feminist or ideological, it refers to the law and to humanity. Many men all over the world work to promote the rights of women ”. EWAV also recalls that the UN Goals of Sustainable Development include gender equality and promotion for women. We urge therefore the leaders of Churches to be aware of this necessary commitment, and to take up the challenge, sensitizing public institutions and governments.