A Mission to Bangladesh – One Step further for the Third Cycle of NES Bangladesh

Friday, 10th March 2017

This year, Bangladesh has entered its third year of the NES cycle. In order to start the process, ILC Asia members in Bangladesh, led by ALRD (Association of Land Reform Development) have set up a series of activities as the initiative to formulate the strategies to be applied for the next three years. Supervised by ILC Secretariat’s NES Coordinator, the process took place from 5 to 11 February, 2017. 

Bangladesh paints the grim picture of the perennial yet unresolved issue of land ownership and squatters in the country. The government of the country is now on their way to level up their status of the country as a middle-income country, while countless people are landless. The parliament of the country is also drafting a bill restricting the voices of NGOs speaking out against the government.

Based on such challenges, Bangladesh members of ILC in the country try to engage with numerous stakeholders through the NES, and continue the struggle by addressing the rights of the people on land. Positive response were perceived from the multi-stakeholder met; the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, the European Commission, Transparency International Bangladesh,  IFAD Bangladesh, and the Government’s Directorate of Land Reform. This is to see whether a possible collaboration for year III NES Bangladesh is existing in these areas. The result of this visit was not only welcoming the idea, these stakeholders were conveying their willingness to be engaged further in this year’s NES.

Together with The Association of Land Reform Development (ALRD), ILC engaged with numerous stakeholders in the country to seek further potential collaboration for this year’s NES. The objectives of this year’s NES mission from the Secretariat were to:

1. Assess the outcomes and achievements of NES implementation in 2016;

2. Introduce members to new NES cycle features and support new 3-year NES planning;

3. Meet with all national members;

4. Organise bilateral meetings with IGO and INGO members to increase their level of engagement and support vis-à-vis the NES;

5. Organise bilateral meetings with SP and other potential donors to mobilise fresh funds nationally;

6. Organise meetings with government agencies to better position the NES and improve collaboration

A workshop conducted within the series of this activity, hosted by ALRD, ILC Asia members in Bangladesh; Kappaeng Foundation, Association for Realisation of Basic Need (ARBAN), and Community Development Center (CDA), as well as other relevant partners were sitting together to formulate the strategies which to be implemented for the next there years, and also to share the outcomes and lessons learned from the last year activity.

 

The mission is also to review the past year’s NES implementation, which include a visit to the community in Dinajpur district, Bangladesh. This visit was hosted and facilitated by CDA. A strong empowerment of NES was vividly shown in Basindapara Janasangathan Village. The land of this village was declared as Khasland since 2005 by The GoB, whilst 26 families are staying on this land, and are currently submitted the land ownership after several attempts in 2006, 2008, 2015, and 2017. The document which they submitted is housing/residence documents, and was submitted as husband and wife ownership. On 9 January 2017 this village was set on fire by a land grabber who also claiming this land. After the incident, Federation of Landless Peoples Organization (FLPOs) organized a media campaign and a rally in the district town on 13th of January 2017. The news was vastly spread throughout the country by printed and electronic media.

Based on article 32 of the Constitution, mentioning about Right to Live, the High Court has finally declared that they are allowed to live on the land. Five of the burning suspects are currently being detained. 

In this village, CDA is providing the local people with training on Human Right Livelihood, with the following focus:

  • Educate the rights of the people
  • How to plan social movement
  • Educate against corruption
  • Educate citizen charter and role of the government
  • Right to information
  • Right to association

This visit was covered by numerous local media, both on printed and online media, as well as TV news.

 

It was clearly reflected how NES is not only connecting, but at the same time mobilizing the community, and provide influence for the wider society.