The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations, Ms. Mia Seppo, and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Swiss Embassy, Mr. Christoph Fuchs, spoke at the event. Eminent human rights activist Ms. Khushi Kabir, Professor ANM Wahid and Professor Bokhtiar Ahmed of the University of Rajshahi participated in the panel discussion, while Ms. Sheepa Hafiza, the Executive Director of ASK, moderated the discussions. Highlighting the importance of human rights, the panelists talked about various aspects of civil rights and women’s rights as well as the recommendations of the 3rd Universal Periodic Review of Bangladesh in this regard. The discussions followed a lively interaction with the audience who used the platform to express their views about and experience of exercising human rights in their everyday lives. The event was widely attended by Rajshahi based human rights and civil society activists as well as university students. The award winning Swiss film “Sonita” featuring gender rights issues was screened at the event.
The UN Resident Coordinator noted that the “the importance of the Universal Declaration cannot be overemphasized: it put countries on the road to rights and justice for all, leading away from discrimination, violence and lack of a voice.” Mr. Christoph Fuchs said, “Human rights are intrinsically linked to development and vice versa. To this end, Switzerland will continue to work with the government, as well as civil society organizations and NGOs for the promotion of human rights and development in Bangladesh.”
The event in Rajshahi is part of an international human rights film tour in over 45 countries organized by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva. In Bangladesh, the film tour is traveling to six cities in total, including Dhaka, Rangpur, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and Chattogram.