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Gender Platform seminar held on BILS research to analyze effectiveness of Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee in RMG industry

Analyzing the activities of the committee to prevent sexual harassment in garment factories and making recommendations to improve the activities, presenting the results of the research conducted by BILS on behalf of Gender Platform Bangladesh with the aim of taking up future advocacy activities with all concerned parties, a seminar for the purpose of making recommendations was held on September 11. 2023 at a local hotel in Topkhana of the capital. Senior officials of various government ministries, business leaders, trade unions and leaders of Gender Platform Bangladesh were present at the seminar.

Research has shown that most factories do not have a specific number of members of the sexual harassment prevention committee. The choice of members to be included in the committee is generally the preference of the owners. Apart from this, there is no standard operating system for managing this committee. However, various programmes have been taken up by the committee on its own initiative in some factories. The main recommendations that came out in the research report were to create standard operating system for the management of the committee, repeal the controversial parts of the labour rules, provide proper training for the committee members and specify the number of committee members.

Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan, MP, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment, was the chief guest at the report presentation programme organized under the chairmanship of BILS Advisory Council Member Shah Mohd Abu Zafar. Md Taufiqul Arif, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Employment and Advocate Salma Ali, President of Bangladesh Women Lawyers Association spoke as special guests. Among others, BILS Vice Chairman Amirul Haque Amin, G-SKOP Joint Coordinator Naimul Ahsan Jewel, Bangladesh Employers Federation Vice President Tahmid Ahmed and Senior Legal Officer Habibur Rahman, BKMEA Joint Secretary Farzana Sharmin, BGMEA Senior Assistant Secretary Navila Al Mona, National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh Deputy Director Sushmita Paik, ILO Gender Specialist Shammin Sultana, Bangladesh Labour Foundation Executive Director AKM Ashrafuddin, Awaz Foundation Executive Director Najma Akhtar, Bangladesh National Workers Federation President Shamim Ara, Labour Rights Journalists Forum General Secretary Ataur Rahman including trade unions civil society leaders and media representatives also spoke. Jagannath University Associate Professor Mostafiz Ahmed presented the research report and the programme was conducted by BILS Director Nazma Yesmin.