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1971-1996 People's Struggles

"The major concerns of [bagladeshi] NGOs is economic development and self reliance, democratic rights of women, health and education and environment"
This year is the 25th anniversary of independence of Bangladesh. These have been turbulent 25 years in the history of this country. It was established as a secular democratic country after having won its independence in 1971. Military dictators ruled Bangladesh for over fifteen years. The end to the military regime was brought by the highly politicised population which has once again placed a democratic government at the Centre.

People of Bangladesh have an immensly rich cultural heritage. The people's struggle in Bangladesh, with a population of 110 million, has been a long one and it continues on many fronts.

  • Political persecution and poverty have forced a large number of Bangladeshis to find homes in other countries including Canada. Continued denial of rights and systematic persecution of the tribal people has become a major concern.

  • International agencies have embarked upon using all forms of birth control measures to limit the population. These programs represent one of the grossest violation of reproductive rights of women and have become one of the very important concerns of women's organisations.

  • Attempts by the international institutions to replace the traditional fishing by export oriented mega projects with little regard for immediate consequences to the rural poor and long term consequences to environment have become a major concern of many NGOs. The dispute over Farraka Dam, which threatens the very lifeline of Bangladesh, is of major concern to the people of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has an extensive network of non governmental organisations working both in the rural and urban areas. The major concerns of these NGOs is economic development and self reliance, democratic rights of women, health and education and environment. These concerns necessarily culminate in demands for political reform.

Given the significance of different issues and relative lack of knowledge of these issues in Canada, CERAS has organised this conference. Several participants from Bangladesh, India and North America will address various sessions and workshops.

This conference would not have been possible without the political and financial support provided by Inter Pares and International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development.

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