Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by United Nations, 11 are directly linked to human rights. Therefore, it is obvious that human rights are the core of SDGs. And it is being increasingly recognised that ensuring human rights is the key to achieving sustainable development goals.
Although there are divergent views about human rights situations, it cannot be denied that the government has taken important steps to turn sustainable development into reality by involving public and private stakeholders, development partners and civil society members. The Principal Coordinator of SDG Affairs in Prime Minister’s Office recently said the government has taken all-out measures to achieve SDGs to deliver desired progress in the field of economy, human rights and gender equality. It is welcome.
But there are some serious concerns as well. Disappearance is one of the major human rights problems in Bangladesh. We are observing with great concern that the problem has been going from bad to worse. If the government cannot tackle this basic human rights violation, the country will will find it difficult to achieve SDGs. Moreover, it will remain as a big dent on the reputation of Bangladesh globally.
The 17 SDGs are designed to “leave no one behind” in pursuit of development. That means leaving no one poor. Security of livelihood is also a human right. It is also a major challenge for the country as a sizable number of the population lives below the poverty line.
From several surveys it appears that people living in extreme poverty have reduced proportionately (to 12%), but the number is still big due to increase in population. These people have to be lifted out of poverty with proper policy, institutions and job creation. That means there are tremendous tasks ahead, and the responsibility to fulfil this challenge falls squarely on all of us. The government and non-government organisations must work together to achieve the targets of establishing human rights as part of the overall objective of SDGs.