from The New Nation
Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday emphasised the need for eliminating poverty to ensure human dignity and justice for all.
"Poverty has both cause and effect linkages to continued violation of human rights, it also stands as the biggest obstacle to promoting human dignity and justice. Elimination of poverty thus remains an indispensable precondition for ensuring human dignity and justice for all," he said while addressing a function at Osmani Memorial Hall in the city.
The Chief Adviser regretted that many economically and socially disadvantaged people still do not have access to justice to vindicate their rights, over three decades after the country's independence.
"They are often deprived of basic legal and other institutional services, which put them in a situation of vulnerability where their entitlement to fundamental rights, dignity and justice is compromised," he said.
The Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, in collaboration with the UNDP, organised the function in observance of the International Human Rights Day-2007.
Adviser for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Information Barrister Mainul Hosein, Adviser for Foreign Affairs Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, Coordinator of UN system in Bangladesh and UNDP resident representative Renata L Desallien and Law Secretary Kazi Habibul Awal also addressed the function.
Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed said it is commonly recognised today that human dignity and human rights are indivisible and inter-dependent, and universality of human rights demands eradication of global inequalities.
"Effective empowerment of the people through human development by ensuring dignity and justice for all is an important aim of any legal system which is fully committed to human rights," he said.
He mentioned that the Constitution of Bangladesh in its preamble provides that it shall be a fundamental aim of the State to realise through a democratic process a society in which the rule of law, fundamental rights, freedom, equality and justice--political, economic and social - will be secured for all citizens.
The Chief Adviser said that his government's visions and approaches are to ensure dignity and justice for all.
He said the caretaker government is implementing various programmes aimed at protecting and promoting human rights, good governance, poverty alleviation, human resource development and access to justice to ensure human dignity and justice for all.
Referring to the different steps taken by his government including giving approval of an ordinance for setting set up National Human Rights Commission, establishment of fully independent judiciary, a reconstituted Election Commission, independent Anti-Corruption Commission, recast Public Service Commission and formation of the Regulatory Reforms Commission he said the steps would strengthen the foundations of democracy in the country.
"We firmly believe that respect for human rights, rule of law and good governance can create the framework within which development efforts and human dignity can be achieved and sustained," he said.
The Chief Adviser said human dignity lies at the very core of fundamental human rights, which have been emphasised in the Charter of the United Nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in international human rights instruments and in many national constitutions including our own.
Quoting from the former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, he said, "Full human dignity means not only freedom from torture, but also freedom from starvation. It means freedom to vote, as it means the rights to education. It means freedom of belief, as it means the rights to health. It means the right to enjoy all rights without discrimination".
He said the Universal Declaration spells out these rights as basic human rights, many of which were given the force of law in the two main international covenants on human rights, adopted in 1966 and entered into force in 1976.
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