Dhaka, 21 October 2021: Accessing public services is still a far cry for the marginalised in the country as they often face discriminatory attitudes while seeking government services, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) study unveils today.
Besides, filing complaints doesn’t help much as they fall victim to harassment and threat instigated by local public representatives and a section of government officials, finds the study.
The research also portrays accountability mechanisms (hotline number, filing official complaints, meetings, public hearings, laws and policies, etc.) designed by the government are not inclusive of the marginalised as their language proficiency, financial ability and technological literacy was not taken into account while putting the systems in place.
Qualitative in nature, the study titled ‘Access of Marginalised Communities to Public Services: An Assessment of Accountability Mechanisms’ was conducted between October 2020 and September 2021 to assess the state of access to and exercise of the existing institutional accountability system by the marginalised people, namely indigenous communities, acid attack survivors, Dalits, tea workers and transgender communities.
During the launching event of the study, TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, “Marginalised people are being deprived of the development and government services of the country and unable to access the accountability mechanisms (such as laws) that can help end the deprivation (of the marginalised). As a result, their marginalisation is being accelerated. The key essence of the SDG is to Leave No One Behind, but now it seems to be a far-fetched dream. We feel that our constitution's promise of a non-discriminatory state is being trampled down
Moreover, the study also reports that public officials have discriminatory mindsets against marginalised communities, which discourage members of these communities from resorting to the accountability mechanisms when their fundamental rights to education, health, land and safety are stripped off by communal forces or by the state itself.
Furthermore, the injustices prevail in accessing and protecting land owned by marginalised communities, as the government continues to remove indigenous people from their ancestral lands to preserve forests, while in reality, protected forests are the most often destroyed and overtaken by politically affiliated land-grabbers and industrialists.
The study also unveils that students from marginalised communities face racial discrimination from their classmates in educational institutions, and the authorities do not take appropriate action. Moreover, members of marginalised communities are not included in school governing boards, enabling discriminatory behaviour against indigenous communities and Dalit members of the society.
Alongside the report, TIB also put ten recommendations to curb discrimination against marginalised communities, of which the enactment of the anti-discrimination act is the most prominent.
For the full report and other relevant information, visit - Marginalised Study - Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) (ti-bangladesh.org)