German Human Rights Prize for Monira Rahman
Acid Survivors Foundation Bangladesh
amnesty international Deutschland
19th March: Over the last six years, more than 2,000 young women in Bangladesh have been the victims of acid attacks. Monira Rahman, Executive Director of the Acid Survivors Foundation, is awarded the German Amnesty International Human Rights Award for her fight against these violence.
On 19th March 2006 she will be awarded this prestigious prize at a gal evening at Berlin in presence of Irene Khan, international general secretary of amnesty internationally. The prize will be handed over by the German president Dr. Horst Koehler. The German section of the human right organization Amnesty International (ai) distinguishes every two years personalities, that exert themselves under often difficult conditions for the human rights since 1998.
Among the past awards winners are the Russian human right defender Swetlana Gannuschkina (2003), the Turkish woman barrister Eren Keskin (2001) as well as a group of 12 human right defenders from all world (1998). The price is endowed with 7.500 Euro.
Monira Rahman was working in a project for the homeless when she first saw girls who had been disfigured by acid attacks. Meeting them changed her life.
"I was very much shocked and also frightened when I saw two very young survivors of acid violence in 1997," she says. "But I was also amazed when I talked to them. They were very, very confident, very strong girls. They had also a wider perspective about women's issues, about the issues concerning violence against women, and about what should we do. And at that time I decided I should work with them, I should know more about them, I should do something for them."
Acid throwing is a vicious form of violence against women. Although we know that violence against women is a universal phenomenon, what many of us may not know is the extent and form the violence takes. This differs from one society to another. Bangladesh has the highest world-wide incidence of acid violence and acid burns. Acid throwing is an extreme form of violence where the majority of throwers are men and the majority of victim-survivors women. Long-term goals of Mrs. Rahman and their organization are the consistent criminal pursuit of acid assassins as well as control of the acid sales.
The Acid Survivors Foundation collects and publishes data over amount of, victim and background from acid assassination attempts. On the occasion of world woman day in 2004 organized Monira and her organization a demonstration, with which 5,000 men made protest against the acid assassination attempts. The government of Bangladesh partly took up in the meantime the demands of the ASF, since 2002 apply the "Acid Crime Control Act", that plans higher punishments for authors of acid assassination attempts - a political success for ASF, which reflects itself in the society and before court however not yet sufficiently. Monira Rahman is conscious herself that women in their country apart from acid assassination attempts suffer many other kinds of violations of human rights. With its fight against the acid assassination attempts she wants to motivate women to mobilize the public against crimes and injustice and use themselves for changes.
-Monaz Haque, Berlin
[For further information see the website of ASF www.acidsurvivors.org
and amnesty international Germany website www.amnesty.de
and Germany have co-operated on development for more than three
decades. GTZ the German Technical Cooperation has actively co-operated,
gathered experience and added commitment of its own.
Germany in cooperation with Bangladesh Ministry of Energy has
planed a new project called "Promotion of the use of Renewable
Energies in selected rural regions". Decentralised energy systems
are the most economical option of the power supply in rural
area. The target group of the project is the rural population.
The target group should get better chances of income generation
through the measures of this project. The project mobilises
local resources, helps educate mass people, expands the volume
of local economic circle; thus it promotes and enhances local
has announced recently that this project will support the Bangladesh
Government' s efforts to find meaningful, and sustainable solutions
to meet the challenge of rural development. The following activities
Definition of organisational
demand and the strategic concept of an institution (Rural
Energy Development Agency) for the co-ordination of national
activities in the area of use of RE
of commercial spread of RE for its productive use in small
Improvement of local marketing chances of selected RE by
the quality of the product and/or marketing and maintenance
of effective operation of RE in service sector of social
Renewable Energy requires new institutional measures in the
field of international cooperation. In Bangladesh it is raising
the use of solar and other renewable energy, but still we require
sweeping changes in the energy infrastructure. Despite the development
of modern solar energy in the world, the technology still needs
a higher profile and more involvement from scientist engineers,
environmentalists and entrepreneurs. To take part in the global
happening a new generation of solar-energy pioneers has to be