Campaign for Right to Dignity (CARD)
Civic Bangladesh launched its Campaign for Right to Dignity (CARD) in December 2006, and created “Bangladesh Dignity Forum” to provide a national platform for civic participation in the campaign, and to give the campaign a national voice. CARD mobilizes mass participation in promoting the universal and constitutional right to dignity in the economic, social and political institutions, and calls for fulfillment of the constitutional obligation and universal commitment to equal dignity for all. The campaign is a civic response to Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, as well as the Constitution of Bangladesh (Article XI (ratified 4 Nov. 1972)) that states:
“The Republic shall be a democracy in which …respect for the dignity and worth of the human person shall be guaranteed…”
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 it’s Proclamation of Independence dated 10 April 1971 “to ensure for the people of Bangladesh equality, human dignity and social justice”. To facilitate the establishment of equal dignity for all, Civic Bangladesh participates in developing a model that may contribute eventually to building a dignitarian world.
President of Bangladesh Opens National Conference to Advance ‘Dignity For All’
The Honorable President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman inaugurated a daylong National Conference on Dignity for All: Bangladesh as a Model for the Global Community, on January 18, 2011 in Dhaka. The conference was organized at Osmani Memorial Hall by Civic Bangladesh in collaboration with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
The first national conference of its kind representing the culmination of four years of educational campaigns to rally and inspire people at all levels of society is expected to ignite a new social movement in Bangladesh that may eventually be replicable in the world.
Special guests at the conference included the Minister for Home Affairs Advocate Shahara Khatun; Minister for Information and Culture Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad; Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka; and Advocate Moinuddin Miaji, Ex MP, Chairman, Bangladesh Accreditation Board, Ministry of Industries, Government of Bangladesh. The conference was keynoted by the Co-founder of the World Hunger Project, a global campaigner of “Dignity for All,” and author of All Rise Dr. Robert W. Fuller, who was also Advisor to late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1970-71.
The inaugural and working sessions of the conference were attended by national and international human rights activists, thinkers, intellectuals, political leaders, educators, students, lawyers, journalists, physicians, cultural and developmental activists, and the members of Bangladesh Dignity Forum. (Bangladesh Dignity Forum is a platform that Civic Bangladesh has built to spearhead its Dignity-for-All campaign across the country.) The inaugural ceremony was followed in the afternoon by three different working sessions on dignity in governance, media, and education at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to build new models of development using the concept of dignity and to expedite ongoing work in the fields. With the participants assembling in the auditorium of Shilpakala Academy, the plenary was facilitated by Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Dr. Robert W. Fuller, Dr. Pamela Gerloff and Mr. Mustaque Shameem, Acting Director-General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
While addressing the plenary, Mr. Hasanul Huq Inu MP, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication emphasized the need to ensure dignity for all in order to strengthen the democratic institutions of the country. The plenary also attended among others by Editor of The Independent and former advisor to the caretaker government Mr. Mahbubul Alam, and lawyer Barrister Tania Amir, split into three different working sessions on governance, education and media. Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Executive Director, Civic Bangladesh, and Dr. Robert W. Fuller co-facilitated the working session on “Dignity in Governance: The Power of Dignity to Unify Political Factions and to Broker International Peace”.
Education and Human Potential Specialist and co-author of Dignity for All Dr. Pamela A. Gerloff and Chairperson of Bangladesh Dignity Forum Engineer Musbah Alim co-facilitated the session on “Dignity in Education: Realizing the Vision”.
Asia Regional Director of Internews Mr. Oren Murphy and Senior Vice-Chairperson of Bangladesh Dignity Forum Mr. Harunur Rashid co-chaired the session on “Dignity in Media: Establishing the Right to Information”, while senior journalist Mr. Hamiduzzaman moderated the session.
Professor Claire E. Sheridan of Saint Mary’s College in California, USA, and Mr. Sayeed Kazal, Executive Director, Communication For All, led an open video session on “The Voice of Dignity in Bangladesh”.
Before taking part in the working sessions at Shilpakala Academy, the participants took out a short road show from Osmani Memorial Hall and paraded the city streets between the two venues. The show drew public attention to the following call:Ensure dignity for all. While walking down the city streets, the participants also delivered the following message: Dignity is your right. It’s also everyone else’s. Posters, T-shirts and caps containing the above message were distributed among the participants and organizations working across the country.
Mayday Seminar on “Dignity and Rights of Migrant Workers”
Bangladesh Ovibashi Mahila Shramik Association (BOMSA), Civic Bangladesh and WARBE Development Foundation jointly organized a seminar entitled “Dignity and Rights of Migrant Workers” on the occasion of Mayday 2010 in the VIP Lounge of National Press Club, Dhaka.
Sponsored by European Commission (EC) and DanChurchAid (DCA), the seminar was keynoted by Ms Sumaiya Islam, Director, BOMSA, and Vice-Chairperson, Bangladesh Dignity Forum; and Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Executive Director, Civic Bangladesh, and General Secretary, Bangladesh Dignity Forum. Dr. Nurul Islam, Director, BMET; Mr. Kazi Abul Kalam, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment; Advocate Adilur Rhman Khan, Odhikar; and former Ambassador Ms. Nasim Firdaus, Executive Director, Bangladesh Alliance for Women Leadership took part as guest speakers in the discussion on the keynote papers.
The seminar was addressed by Mr. Mustak Hassan Md. Iftekhar, Director-General, NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB), Prime Minister’s Office; Mr. Syed Saiful Haque, Chairman, WARBE Development Foundation; and Mr. Mohammad Bashir, Member, BAIRA. Chaired and moderated by Ms. Hasina A. Inam, Chief Functionary, DCA – Bangladesh; the event was addressed by its chief guest Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The discussion was covered by the print and electronic media including Boishakhi Television, Ekushe Television (ETV), and ATN Bangla Television.
Seminar on “Bangladesh Leading the World: Dignity and Destiny in the 21st Century”
Civic Bangladesh organized a seminar entitled “Bangladesh Leading the World: Dignity and Destiny in the 21st Century” on 03 February 2010 in the VIP Lounge of Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka. The seminar was keynoted by Dr. Pamela A. Gerloff, coauthor, “Dignity for All”, and Founder and President, Compelling Vision; and attended by Barrister Tania Amir, Lawyer, The Supreme Court of Bangladesh; as the special guest. Professor Shafiullah Sarker, Executive Director, Climate Concern Foundation (CCF); Engineer Musbah Alim, Executive Director, Catalyst; Mr. Mozid Mahmud, Executive Director, OSACA; and Dr. Anisuzzaman, Assistant Professor, Gono University; took part in the panel discussion. Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Executive Director, Civic Bangladesh; and General Secretary, Bangladesh Dignity Forum, moderated the seminar.
Launch of Book titled “Sabar Jonno Marjada” (“Dignity for All”)
Civic Bangladesh organized the launch of a book entitled “Sabar Jonno Marjada: Padomarjadabadmukta Bishwa Gorhe Tolar Upay” on 02 February 2010 at the National Book Fair in Bangla Academy, Dhaka. Translated into Bengali by Mr. Bayezid Dawla and published by Civic Bangladesh, the book was launched by Dr. Pamela A. Gerloff who co-authored the original book entitled “Dignity for All: How to Create a World Without Rankism”, with Robert W. Fuller. The launch was attended by Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka, as the chief guest; and Professor Dr. Khondokar Bazlul Haque, President, Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), as the special guest. Translator of the book, Mr. Bayezid Dawla, who is also the Executive Director of Civic Bangladesh, spoke on the occasion.
Discussion on Jago Sabai (All Rise)
Civic Bangladesh organized a discussion on the book entitled Jago Sabai: Gonnobakti, Nogonnobakti O Marjadar Rajniti translated from its original book entitled “All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies and the Politics of Dignity” written by Dr. Robert W. Fuller. Presided over by Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Executive Director, Civic Bangladesh; the discussion was attended by Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka; Mr. Md. Sharful Alam, Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; and Mr. Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Editor, The Bangladesh Observer as special guests. (The Minister for Social Welfare of the Government of Bangladesh could not manage to attend the discussion due to change in his business.) The designated discussants were Dignity Forum members Ms. Sonia Jesmin, Mr. Quamruzzman Tapon, Mr. Kamran Jacob, and Abdullah-Al-Mamun Dipu.
Round-table Conference on Dignity, Democracy and Development
Building a dignitarian society is essential for a healthy and functioning democracy and while exercising and accessing equal dignity is the prerequisite for institutionalization of democracy.To make people aware of dignity as their right requires the involvement of all concerned including the political leaderships, civic and development activists and religious leaders, said the participants of a roundtable conference entitled “Rights and Justice: The Dignity Perspective of Development in Bangladesh” organized on 3 February 2009 in the VIP Lounge of Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka by Civic Bangladesh.
Global campaigner of Dignity for All and author of All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies and the Politics of Dignity, eminent scientist Dr Robert W Fuller keynoted the conference addressed by Mr. AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, Mayor, Rajshahi City Corporation as chief guest; and former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Professor Ali Ashraf MP and Ambassador Wali-ur Rahman, former Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, as special guests. Professor Claire Sheridan contributed to the roundtable as a guest speaker.
The roundtable was addressed, among others, by Mr. Farid Hossain, Bureau Chief of The Associated Press (AP); Barrister Tania Amir, Barrister Jenefa Jabbar, Mr. Kieron Crawley, Country Director, Concern Worldwide; Dr. Kamrul Hassan Khan; Mr. Azizur Rahman Khan (Asad), Development Consultant. Vision and Method; Dr. Nafeesur Rahman, Director, National Forum of Organizations Working with the Disabled (NFOWD); Mr. Sirajuddahar Khan, CEO, Interaction; Ms Afroza Rina, Women’s Right Activist; Ms Shamima Nasrin, Shadhin Bangla Garments Shramik-Karmachari Federation (SBGSKF); Mr. Moloy Chaki, Programme Coordinator, Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre (BDPC); Mr. Badrul Hassan, Deputy Programme Manager, Save the Children (USA); Kazi Sufia Akhtar, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad; Ms Sonia Jesmin, Advocacy Specialist, Concern Worldwide; Dr. Anisuzzaman, Lecturer, Gono University; and Ms Kohinoor Mahmud, Karmajibi Nari. Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Executive Director, Civic Bangladesh moderated the roundtable conference.
Publication Ceremony in National Book Fair at Bangla Academy, Dhaka
The book entitled “Jago Sabai: Gonnobakti, Nogonnobakti O Marjadar Rajniti”, translated into Bangla by Civic Bangladesh Executive Director Mr. Bayezid Dawla from its original English version of “All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies and the Politics of Dignity” written by Dr Robert W Fuller was launched in a publication ceremony organized on 2 February 2009 in the National Book Fair at Bangla Academy, Dhaka, by Civic Bangladesh. Author of “All Rise”, Dr Fuller unveiled the cover of the book in the ceremony graced by the attendance of Professor Arefin Siddique, Vice Chancellor, University of Dhaka as chief guest and Dr Syed Mohammad Shahed, Director-General, Bangla Academy as special guest. The author of “All Rise”, Dr Fuller, said he felt privileged to see “All Rise” had been translated into Bangla which is now a world language, and paid tribute to the language martyrs of the 1952. He hoped that the book now available in Bangla would be helpful for many of those willing to build a dignitarian society, a dignitarian nation and a dignitarian world. The festive moments of the launching ceremony along with interviews of the author and the chief guest were telecast live on different TV channels. Radio channels also covered the event including the interviews of the author.
Seminar at the University of Dhaka
The Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Dhaka organized an academic seminar entitled Special Lecture on DIGNITY AND DEVELOPMENT by Dr Robert W. Fuller on 2 February 2009 at RC Majumdar Auditorium of the university.
Presided over by Dr. Shaikh Abdus Salam, Professor and Chairman, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Dhaka; the seminar was attended by the university teachers and students.
Dr. Fuller delivered the keynote address in an interactive session which was participated in by the students and the teachers of the university. The address was preceded by introductory remarks by Mr. Bayezid Dawla, Executive Director, Civic Bangladesh. Professor Claire Sheridan and Professor Abul Monsur Ahmed also spoke on the occasion.