Over the last few months, the Government of Bangladesh has provided generous support and shelter to the refugees, but as the refugee population grows and as the duration of the displacement is prolonged, there is increased pressure on the host communities in Cox’s Bazar. Prices are fast rising, and there is growing competition for livelihoods resulting increased risks of tension and dispute between communities. Recognizing these dynamics, the Commission helped to convene a multi-religious leaders’ forum in Cox’s Bazar to discuss workable solutions and facilitate resolution of disputes between communities.
Despite efforts, there are many challenges, and the crisis is far from over. Collective actions are very much needed to surmount political obstacles and find avenues to uphold the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to ensure that justice, fairness and equality are truly for all.
UNDP advocates for strong institutions as cornerstones of a national systems for promotion and protection of human rights. One critical aspect of our work is supporting national human rights institutions (NHRIs). We have supported over 90 NHRIs around the world and support the regional and global networks of NHRIs to promote and protect human rights. In Bangladesh, UNDP has been supporting the NHRC since 2010 to deliver on its mandate to promote and protect human rights, with a particular focus on the rights of marginalized groups.
As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the aspiration of the statement “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” continues to be a distant reality for some. Human rights are inherent, indivisible and universal. They are not rewards to be given and taken away. Nor are they time bound or limited by colour, caste or creed.
*Not her real name
About the author
Sharmeela Rassool works in the UNDP Bangladesh as the Chief Technical Advisor on Justice and Human Rights. Follow her on Twitter: @Sha_Rassool