As a result of sustained advocacy in collaboration with different partners and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), MJF was involved in the drafting, enactment, formulation and reformulation of the following laws and policies:
- Right to Information Act 2009
- Domestic Violence Prevention Act 2010
- Minimum wage in garment and shrimp processing industries
- Migrant Workers Protection Act
- Labour Laws and Policy
- Hindu Marriage Act
- Child Labour Prevention Policy 2010
- Child Pornography Control Act 2012
- Legal Aid Services Act 2000
- The Anti-Discrimination Act was drafted with MJF support and is now awaiting enactment
Besides this, in recognition of MJF expertise, a number of staff are members of various high level policy committees and forums set up by different ministries.
Right to Information Act (RTI): MJF commissioned a rapid assessment in 2004 that revealed that perception about RTI was more related to freedom of information with respect to the media than right to information as a governance or development tool. MJF took up several strategies involving different stakeholders to take the demand for RTI law further. Three Core Groups were formed: the Law Drafting, Policy Advocacy and Awareness/Capacity Building. Eminent persons and experts were members of these Core Groups, legal experts, academics, NGO’s, media personalities, activists, researchers etc., were also included. With support from CHRI, a regional conference was organized in Dhaka. Networking and Alliance building with different Stakeholders including media also begun in 2005. MJF commissioned another study in June 2007 for identifying Act/Law and other policy procedure which have access provision. With help from CHRI and Article 19, a draft law was placed before the Government in 2007. The RTI Forum Bangladesh was formed in August 2008, MJF became its Secretariat. Through a consultative process with MOI and Cabinet, RTI Law was passed as Ordinance in 2008 and finally came into being as Law on 29 March 2009.
Domestic violence protection and prevention act 2010:
MJF provided financial and technical support to Bangladesh National Women’s Lawyers Association (BNWLA) to raise public demand for the law. A total of 38 Human rights and women rights organizations formed a coalition called Citizen Initiatives on Domestic Violence Act (CIDV) for drafting the law, advocating and lobbying with Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) MJF was one of the active members of CIDV and contributed in the process.
Rules on Domestic violence protection and prevention act 2010:
. MJF was actively involved in drafting the rules as member of CIDV.
Labour Policy 2012, Labor law 2006 and amendment in 2013:
MJF was involved in drafting and advocating the policy and law jointly with representative from Trade Union, Bangladesh Institution of Labour Studies (BILS), representative from BGMEA, Bangladesh Employers Federation and Ministry of Labour and Employment. MJF provided support to Ministry of Labour and Employment. Issue of agriculture workers was incorporated in the labour law for the very first time.
Minimum Wage 2013 for Ready Made Garment, Shrimp Processing and Rice Processing (Chatal):
MJF supported BILS to conduct a research on standard of minimum wage in each sector, capacitated Trade Union representatives to bring the issues to the governmentWage Board.
Migrant Workers Law 2013:
MJF was part of the committee formed by Overseas Employment and Expatriate Ministry on drafting the law, participated in different consultation and contributed to the process.
Incorporation of disability rights in the manifesto of major political parties:
MJF supported Action in Disability and Development (ADD) to consult with organizations of persons with disability and collect their views and recommendation from local level. National Forum of Organisations Working with Person with Disability (NFOWD) is MJF’s partner that advocated with policy makers and incorporated disability issues in the manifesto. MJF also actively took part in the processes of advocacy with ADD and NFOWD.
Persons with Disabilities Rights & Protection Act 2013:
In partnership with NFOWD and ADD, MJF initiated advocacy activities both at local and national level. 500 DPOs (organisations of person with disability) were formed by ADD at the grassroots involving more than 15,000 disabled people from different parts of Bangladesh. These DPOs produced practical evidences for drafting laws for disabled people.
At the national level NFOWD also organised consultation with Social Welfare and Law Ministries along with Parliamentarian’s Caucus on Disability and organised dialogues for generating consensus among the policymakers in favour of new disabled people’s law. Eventually on 3rd Oct 2013 a new law for the disabled people was adopted in the parliament. MJF was been involved throughout the process.
National Child Labour Elimination Policy 2010:
Through a long consultative process MJF and a number of child rights organisations assisted the government to formulate National Child Labour Elimination Policy in 2010. The policy is aimed at removing hazardous child labour from Bangladesh by 2015. MJF facilitated the nationwide consultations to collate the views of different stakeholders regarding their need and submitted policy recommendations. Moreover, MJF closely involved in the drafting process and national level sharing initiatives taken by the government.
Code of conduct for domestic workers:
MJF has been supporting BILS to formulate a code of conduct and welfare policy. BILS has formed a Domestic Workers Rights Network (DWRN) with human rights organizations working with domestic workers and trade unions. DWRN drafted a code of conduct and Welfare Policy and submitted it to the government. But consultations with different stakeholders are still going on.
Labor Rule 2013:
MJF was involved in drafting the Labour Rules jointly with Representatives from Trade Unions, Bangladesh Institution of Labour Studies (BILS), Representative from BGMEA, Bangladesh Employers Federation and Ministry of Labour and Employment. There were several consultations organised by Ministry of Labour, BILS and MJF with relevant stakeholders in the process of drafting the Labour Rules.
Implementation of labour law 2006 and the amendment 2013:
MJF’s partners Awaj Foundation, Mamata, BILS, Shobujer Ovijan and SAFE are raising awareness of the workers on legal rights and duties, organizing the workers, building their capacity for collective bargaining with the management and employers. Provided training for midlevel management of the factories to improve their capacity to deal workers. Partner organizations are organising meeting with workers’ representatives, government inspection department and employer’s representatives for improving the working environment. MJF is building the capacity of partner organizations to implement the law.
National Decentralization Policy:
MJF has worked together with a national coalition on ‘Decentralization & local governance’ named Governance Advocacy Forum (GAF). As a result of this, a national decentralization policy has been drafted in consultation with citizens, local government associations, academicians, LG experts, bureaucrats, politicians and local government activists. The draft policy has been shared with the concerned Minister and handed over to the Secretary, MLGRDC.
Future plan: MJF with GAF will strengthen lobby with the policy makers for adopting the decentralization policy for the country.
Shifting Government Employees at Union Parishad Complex:
MJF-Racine project has raised the issue at Union, Upazila and District coordination meeting. By their continuous efforts the district administration- Faridpur issued an office order to the concerned departments to have their officers at union complexes. As a result, officials of concerned departments have moved to the UP campus..
Future plan: MJF will try to expand such mobilization in other parts of the country and raise the issue with national policy makers.
Resource mobilization of Local Government Institutions:
MJF- LG projects has been supporting local government institutions for years. By this time, it has gained lessons on resource mobilization. Accumulating those lesions, MJF will try to initiate policy discussions on the issue.
Engaging civil society in public finance audit procedure:
MJF along with Wave Foundation and Governance Advocacy Forum has planned to work with OCAG (Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh), one of the important guardian institutions of the country. The objective is to take joint initiatives to bring transparency in the public spending.
Effective implementation of National Child Labour Elimination Policy 2010:
MJF is advocating with government for the effective implementation of the policy and through MJF’s partners also contributing to the national target.
Protect children from digital pornography:
MJF in Bangladesh conducted a study in 2009, first of its kind, on Child Pornography and started advocating with government to enact a new law for the protection from pornography. MJF took many initiatives including media campaign to bring the issue in front of the policy makers and submitted recommendations to relevant ministries for the enactment of new law. This issues has been raised by MJF to the UNCRC committee, too, which resulted a concluding recommendation from UNCRC committee was made to enact a law to protect child pornography. Finally in 2012 Pornography Control Act was enacted. Now, MJF is taking different initiatives to aware people about the law and advocating with government to ensure the effective implementation of the law.
Strengthen National Child Labour Unit in the Ministry of Labour & Employment:
As per National Child Labour Elimination Policy 2010 there is a provision to set up a Child Labour Unit to coordinate all the interventions nationally regarding child labour issues under the leadership of Ministry of Labour and Employment. Though government has set up this unit but it is not functional yet. MJF is advocating to strengthen this Child Labour Unit and making this unit the key coordinating platform with all stakeholders related to the issue of child labour.
UNCRC Alternative Report and Annual Child Situation Report:
As a part of international advocacy, MJF along with its partners has prepared Alternative UNCRC report from Bangladesh and presented the CSO views in UN sessions. This alternative reporting process is an ongoing activity of MJF to communicate the child rights situation of Bangladesh with UN committee on UNCRC and the international community. This is also an effective tool to advocate with the government on different contemporary needs of the children in Bangladesh.
Annual Child Situation Report:
MJF annually shares a national child rights situation report to the media and other stakeholders through scanning the national daily newspapers. This report is considered as a source of authentic data of child rights situation of the previous years. Many organizations and media use this data for their report and other initiatives.
Customary land law notification of CHT:
The Customary land laws of the Indigenous communities of CHT are unwritten. CHT Regional Council (RC) took initiative to compile the customary land laws, with support from MJF.
Government of Bangladesh enacted Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act and formed Land Commission aimed to resolve land dispute at the CHT which is the main spirit of Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord that was signed in 1997 between Bangladesh Government and Parbattyo Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS). The land related customary laws of the Indigenous communities of CHT is recognized in the Land Commission Act and the land related disputes are resolved by following the customary laws, so it is urgent to compile the un-written customary laws of the Indigenous communities and document it in written form. CHT RC is now engaged with capacity building activities of headman and curbary (traditional leader) as part of the advocacy initiative for notification of customary land law.
Adopting Bangladesh Supreme Court legal aid policy as a part of Legal Aid and Services Act:
MJF conducted a research study that recommended necessary amendment to the Legal Aid Services Act, 2000 so that effective legal aid services plan/outline may be introduced and provided in the Bangladesh Supreme Court. Through various consultative processes, a detailed operation plan of Supreme Court Legal Aid policy has been suggested. A draft bill is also prepared for necessary amendment of Legal Aid Services Act, 2000, regarding implementation of Supreme Court Legal Aid.
Formal Recognition of Women’s Unaccounted Work
MJF strongly believes that violence and discrimination against women will decrease if they are accorded respect at home and in society. If women do not get their due status and recognition, national development goals will remain unfulfilled along with the SDGs. It should be noted that it is the unaccounted work of women, both productive and reproductive, that underpins society’s well- being, social development, and economic growth. One of the ways to increase their status is to highlight their contribution in all its dimension, both paid and unpaid work. MJF has launched a nationwide campaign, “Equality through Dignity,” and initiated advocacy “to recognize women’s unaccounted work and give it formal recognition. Formal recognition through Satellite Accounts to monetize their unaccounted and unpaid work n will assist in changing mindsets regarding women’s contribution.
MJF has produced several policy briefs to identify gaps between policies and realities for better use of Government allocated gender responsive budget and reallocate budget on women’s unpaid care work as a part of practical gender needs. Several academic studies have also been commissioned to renowned research organizations like CPD, SANEM, and Bangladesh Agricultural University to identify gaps and design possible solutions. Expert recommendations are regularly disseminated among policymakers, media, and wider stakeholders through policy dialogues and discussions.
A research on situation analysis of different marginalized groups and review of anti-discriminatory laws of different countries has been completed. MJF jointly with Human Rights Commission and Law Commission will draft a law on anti -discriminatory law which will address discrimination issues of different marginalized groups.
Total 19 land laws had been reviewed and a comprehensive land law has been drafted. This was commissioned to HDRC, a research organization which followed a series of consultations with different stakeholders. A national Steering Committee is involved in the process from the beginning. MJF and Steering Committee will advocate and lobby with policy makers to adopt the comprehensive law.
Implementation of disability act 2013:
All partner organizations of MJF will take initiatives to implement the law through awareness raising of the person with disability and their family, community and duty bearer so that person with disability gets dignity and better services as per law.
Research and evidenced-based advocacy will be the central pillar of MJF’s work. By mapping macro policy context, MJF will continuously gather, organise and formulate information and data into effective argument to influence the policymakers, political and social leaders, to create an enabling policy and legislative environment and allocate resources equitably for the disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Bangladesh.
The key areas of policy context will be: good governance and accountability in public service delivery system; CSO space and freedom; policy and law implementation and practices such as bureaucratic culture, legal streams and participatory approaches. Using various analytical tools such as problem-tree, force-field, political economy, stakeholder influence mapping, SWT analysis, MJF will also assess interaction between political context, evidence, links and external influence by applying Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) analytical framework of Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
Using credible and internationally acclaimed research approaches and methodologies, MJF will generate research results supportive to its change agenda as well as information needs of policymakers. All relevant stakeholders will be mobilised in all stages of policy and advocacy cycles. Using lobbying and campaigns, MJF will communicate evidence better — including packaging and translating evidence generated to target products with clear messages. During this strategic phase, MJF will also explore piloting on policy entrepreneurship through parliamentary caucus on disadvantaged and marginalised communities so that its research evidence is picked up by policymakers for bringing necessary reforms. MJF will also work on policy and legislative advocacy to enact, introduce or reformulate policies and laws in favor of ethnic community and proper implementations of those policies and laws.
Equality through Dignity মর্যাদায় গড়ি সমতা Campaign launched to showcase women’s contribution
ManusherJonno Foundation and partners launched a campaign ‘Equality through Dignity-মর্যাদায় গড়ি সমতা ‘ on March 5, 2014. The Honorable President Md. Abdul Hamid himself launched the campaign where Minister for Cultural Affairs Mr. Asaduzzaman Noor and Meher Afroze Chumki, Minister of Women and Children Affairs were also present.
The campaign aims to change society’s current negative perception of women by highlighting their contribution to the family, community and state. It is believed the campaign will be able to change attitude towards women and raise their status which will result in reducing discrimination and violence against them.
Goal: To change mind set and attitude of society towards women and enhance their status in private and public domain hence reducing discrimination and violence against them.
- Build knowledge and in-depth analysis among stakeholder regarding the women’s contribution to the economy through both, paid and unpaid work.
- Creating mass awareness about the contribution of women to the family, society and state.
- Sensitizing policy makers and planners that the under valuation of women’s contribution to the society is a hindrance to meeting development goals and impacting negatively on the GDP.
- Sensitizing the media, print and electronic, advertising companies, private sector etc to portray women in a positive way and reject the stereo typing of women.
- Create empirical evidence on women’s economic contribution through research and study.
MJF along with its 102 associate organizations and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs are running the campaign, with support from DFID. A study on “Estimating women’s economic contribution” is being conducted by the Centre for Policy Research (CPD). Maatra is the communications partner of MJF in this campaign.
The campaign will be inclusive and will try to include all other organizations and campaigns on women’s rights. It is hoped that a huge demand will be raised to respect women and achieve equality of women.