Drishtipat

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Drishtipat (Bengali: দৃষ্টিপাত) is a non-profit, expatriate Bangladeshi organisation that works on human rights in Bangladesh.[1]

The mission of Drishtipat is to empower and enable the underprivileged and the marginalised segment of the society and individuals living in social and economic poverty so that they can exercise their most basic human rights with dignity, opportunity and hope. Drishtipat is committed to safeguarding individual's basic democratic rights, including freedom of expression. It is opposed to any and all kinds of human rights abuses in Bangladesh.[2] Drishtipat tries to leverage technology to unite expatriate Bangladeshis from all over the world to work on specific issues related to social justice in Bangladesh. It also highlights tales of inspiration from the rural parts of Bangladesh. From its inception in 2001, Drishtipat has worked on various projects related to journalists' rights, minority issues, women's rights, and child abuse. Drishtipat's website also hosts a popular Bangladeshi group blog.

Details of Drishtipat's projects are available on their project page. Over the years, Drishtipat's work has been lauded in general as a vehicle for Bangladeshi expatriates to give something back to their home country.[2]

Diaspora philanthropy[edit]

Drishtipat raises funds for various philanthropic projects focused on the marginalised people in Bangladesh. Drishtipat also works to empower and enable the underprivileged and marginalised segment of the society and individuals living on social and economic poverty so that they can exercise the most basic human rights with dignity, opportunity and hope. Established in 2001, Drishtipat has quickly managed to establish itself as the biggest secular philanthropic organisation in the Bangladeshi diaspora.[citation needed] Started from a single website and one man effort, Drishtipat has mobilised quickly over the years and has grown into having nine chapters in five countries with more than 5000 members and donors. Since its inception, Drishtipat has so far successfully completed numerous campaigns, many petitions and appeals. Its notable campaigns include, Women of 1971 Campaign, Arsenic Project Campaign, the Tipu Sultan Campaign, Campaign for Survivors of Acid Violence, Ushnota and the Cheye Dekho Campaign. Drishtipat recently completed via the United Bangladesh Appeal one of the biggest[citation needed] fund raising projects for the victims of Cyclone Sidr through a compensation fund for the victims.

Advocacy[edit]

Advocacy and policy research is key part of Drishtipat. Drishtipat has no party affiliation[citation needed] but believes on forward looking and progressive agenda based on equal rights for all Bangladeshis regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation. Drishtipat is a non-profit, non-partisan,[citation needed] volunteer organisation, built up of membership of young people inside Bangladesh and the global Diaspora <http://www.drishtipat.org>. It mobilises the younger segment of society and collectively serves as advocates for the poor and the discriminated and launches awareness campaigns and educational projects to help leaders make informed decisions that eradicate poverty, injustice and discrimination. It assesses and develops action plans in areas of concern that need activism for protection of the affected or improvement of the quality of life. Areas of advocacy and action include natural disasters, violation of human rights, cultural freedom, right to civil liberties, access to justice against crimes against a group of people or individuals by any agency, poverty, environment or any form of violation of foundational and contingent human rights

Drishtipat works towards building human and economic rights for all citizens of Bangladesh. Drishtipat uses digital technology, including blogging, podcast, vlogging, online chat, electronic publications, etc. to organise and network between the global Diaspora and those living and working in Bangladesh. Drishtipat members have written numerous opinion essays for publications as diverse as Daily Star, New Age, Prothom Alo, Shamokal, Forum, Foreign Policy (US), Guardian (UK), etc. Drishtipat members have also appeared on RTV, ATN, CNN, and BBC to discuss matters of human rights. Its forthcoming book will be a compendium of all Drishtipat essays written in the run-up to Election 2008.

Recently Drishtipat Writers' Collective covered the electoral process extensively and produced over 20 op-eds leading up to the election arguing for a fair election for all. Some of the analytical reports generated front page headlines.[citation needed] Post election, Drishtipat members got wide national and international coverage. Analysing the election results, Executive Director Asif Saleh, he stated the victory of the winningAwami League party was a victory 'for a party that believes in secularism' and that the Bangladeshi people 'have abandoned the parties that ran a fear mongering campaign, used religion in politics' [1]. He was also featured in a CNN interview, as an expert on the region, covering the election. [2].

Political controversy[edit]

In 2005 the then Bangladeshi Minister of Law Moudud Ahmed of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, who was later convicted for corruption under the military regime [3], accused 'a New York-based expatriate organisation' of partisanship and propaganda against Bangladesh [4] regarding an Action Alert sent following the assassination of former Awami League minister Shah AMS Kibria. The Minister accused unnamed parties defeated in the 2001 general elections, in which the Bangladesh Nationalist Party emerged victorious, of trying to 'destroy the country's image through malicious propaganda in a planned and motivated way'[5]. The Bangladeshi government found this organisation's actions to be 'alarming' and 'mysterious'. Drishtipat responded to this allegation by stating that sending an appeal for action on human rights abuse cases is part of the practice of all human rights organisations and that Drishtipat has done that under both AL and BNP administration. It also again stated that the organisation was not affiliated with any party. A Drishtipat Blog article described Mr. Ahmed as a 'shameless political chameleon' [6].

References[edit]

  1. ^ Moser, Kate. (6 April 2006) The Christian Science Monitor. A place for young achievers to connect. Section: Features, Currents; Page 16.
  2. ^ a b "A Voice for the Violated". Star Weekend Magazine. The Daily Star. 3 June 2006. 

External links[edit]