Leading academics presented as part of a two-day workshop held by WISERD and the Indian Institute of Technology, in New Delhi on 24 and 25th January. The event, ‘Civil Society and Good Governance’, was part of a project funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Global Challenges Research Fund and led by Professor Paul Chaney (WISERD) and Professor Sarbeswar Sahoo (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi).
Keynote addresses were given by Neera Chandhoke (former Professor of Political Science, Delhi University) and Professor Vedi R. Hadiz (Melbourne University).
Other contributors included:
Dr Anindita Chakrabarti (IIT Kanpur)
Gender Rights, Civil Society and Personal Law: Towards a Sociology of Marriage, Divorce and the Minority Question in India
Dr Seuty Sabur (BRAC University, Dhaka)
Gender and Social Movements in Bangladesh: The Changing Political Field
Dr Yashpal Jogdand (IIT Delhi)
Persecution of Minorities: Understanding the Psychological Dimension
Dr Inaya Rakhmani (University of Indonesia)
Islamic Identity and Illiberal Democracy: Looking into Indonesia’s Largest Religiously-Driven Mass Demonstration
Dr Sarbeswar Sahoo (IIT Delhi)
Illiberal Civil Society
Professor Paul Chaney presented a paper exploring civil society organisations’ (CSO’s) views on the contemporary situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Bangladesh. He argued that there is a gap requiring attention because of the country’s poor and deteriorating human rights record.
The presentation analysed the level of attention to prevailing human rights violations and the critical framings in the body of CSOs’ submissions to the United Nations third cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR), 2013-18.
Workshop participants heard how a series of key pathologies – including, violence, intimidation and discrimination – affect the lives of LGBT people.
The wider significance of this study lies in highlighting that, while not a replacement for judiciable rights, the discursive processes offered by the UPR are of key significance in seeking to advance LGBT rights. This is particularly the case in countries like Bangladesh, where oppression combines with extremism and political elites’ refusal to embrace equality in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation.
A further workshop is scheduled for later in the year.