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Dhaka Consensus : Regional Initiative for South Asian Human Rights Mechanism

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The concluding document of the National Consultation in Bangladesh on 3-4 December 2012, organized by the Regional Initiative for a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism

Dhaka, 4 December 2012: ‘Regional Initiative for South Asian Human Rights Mechanism’ is a network of organizations and individuals which aims to create an environment conducive to the establishment of a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism.

This network has originally been created as the successful outcome of a meeting when these organizations and individuals met on in New Delhi during the 19-20th July 2012. The network acts more as a collaborative initiative than as an organization per se. All members of the network are free to continue to carry out their respective activities and may work together when the need arises. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is acting as the Secretariat of this network.

A Task Force comprising of six eminent persons; Dr. Sima Simar-Afghanistan, Dr. Mizanur Rahman-Bangladesh, Dr. Rinchen Chophel-Bhutan, Mr. Miloon Kothari-India, Mr. Subodh Raj Pakyurel-Nepal and Ms Hina Jilani-Pakistan are providing leadership in terms of the strategy. Mr. Miloon Kothari is the Convener of the Task Force.

As part of the ongoing advocacy the regional network, a National Consultation Meeting was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the 3-4th December 2012, where over 100 participants ranging from CSO representatives, academia, journalists, students and other professionals took part in the discussion and discussed the future course of action.

Outcome of the meeting: ‘Dhaka Consensus’

I. A Core Group has been proposed to carry out the future national level advocacy activities with following eminent personalities on board-

  • Prof. Mizanur Rahman, Chairman, NHRC
  • Adv.Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, ASK, Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government
  • Dr. Hameeda Hossain, Member, SAHR
  • Dr. Saiduzzaman, Trustee, CPD
  • Ms. Rasheda K. Chowdhury, Executive Director-CAMPE, Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government
  • Mr. Mahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star
  • Mr. Mahiuddin Ahmed, Former Ambassador

To prepare a concept note that traces the role of the ‘Core Group’ to foster the national level advocacy and campaign activities in Bangladesh.
The concept note should fully examine:

  • The rationale and the urgent need for a regional mechanism for which interventions at the regional as well as national level have become indispensable;
  • The expectations of the citizen groups of the region at large and that of the Bangladeshi citizen groups from such mechanism;
  • The potential impact of such an initiative on the practices of states and strengthening of regional cooperation amongst state institutions in resolving human rights issues of common concern;
  • The lessons that can be drawn from other regional human rights mechanisms

III. This concept note will also identify themes (for example-women and children including trafficking, rights of the migrant workers with a focus on female migration, right to food, climate justice, equitable utilization of common natural resources, social exclusion and marginalization of communities, increased people to people mobility etc) and initiatives, programs or actions that could gain support of the people for regional action and persuade national state institutions to convene and consult at the regional level.

IV. A time-bound action plan with specific implementation strategies will also be illustrated in the concept note;

Adopted on 4 December 2012 at Dhaka, Bangladesh. Handed over to Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh on 6 December 2012

Please click here to download the PDF file.