Activists ask for a sexual harassment prevention law | 2018-09-20 |

Activists ask for a sexual harassment prevention law

Deputy Speaker asks an MP to pilot a bill

UNB     20th September, 2018 06:39:31 printer

Activists ask for a sexual harassment prevention law

National Child Advocacy Forum on Thursday handed over draft of a proposed law on preventing sexual harassment to Deputy Speaker Md Fazle Rabbi Miah.


The forum, a platform of child rights organisations, proposed for formulation of a law titled ‘Sexual Harassment Prevention and Protection Bill- 2018’ and prepared a draft of it in cooperation with the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights and Girls Advocacy Alliance of PLAN Bangladesh.


At a programme held at IPD Auditorium of Jatiya Sangsad Bhavan today the forum presented the draft’s copy to the deputy speaker with an expectation that a bill would be piloted in the parliament soon as a private member’s bill.


After receiving the draft, the deputy speaker advised Navana Aktar, a parliament member present in the programme, to place the bill to the parliament as a private member’s bill immediately and she took the responsibility.


The draft took into cognizance the issues of any kind of sexual harassment in public places as crime and prescribed to punish the offenders in it.


In the description of sexual harassment in public place, the draft said any kind of physical approach and expression which are sexually indicative, offering to make unethical relation using professional or institutional power, making any write-up, cartoon or massage in public places to offend anyone sexually, harassment through digital media and making or preserving any digital content to assault or threat anyone will be considered as crime. 


The draft also proposed to create a five members’ complaint committee in every private and public institution within 90 working days after passing of the bill to take care of these kinds of issues.


According to it, the victims can complain in the complaint committee of their institutions as well as in police stations or magistrate courts.


It asked the government to establish at least two sexual harassment prevention courts in each metropolitan city and one for each divisional city.


Depending on the intensity of the offence, the draft proposed different ranges of punishment from verbal warning to jail and fine.


Fazle Rabbi Miah said “In November 20, 2017, at a programme of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights on sexual harassment, I advised the National Child Advocacy Forum to make a draft of a sexual harassment bill and today they made it and are handing over it to me.”


He also said the sexual harassment in public place became a big problem now and if the country has a separate law regarding it, it will help to ensure a safe public environment for the women and children.


“I will try from my level and cooperate MP Navana in this regard”, he assured.


In the programme, at least 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) attended along with the other NGO activists.