Submitted by Tanvir Alim
As a part of policy and advocacy initiatives, Bandhu Social Welfare Society BSWS arranged an open discussion titled “Voices against 377 – Regional Experience Sharing of Advocacy” on 7th July 2009 at the head office of BSWS. Ms. Madhu Mehra from Partners for Law and Development, India made a presentation followed by the open discussion.
BSWS was formed in 1997 to address concerns of human rights abuse and denial of sexual health rights, and provide a rights-based approach to health and social services for one of the most stigmatized and vulnerable populations in Bangladesh, kothis/hijras and their partners. Over the years it has emerged as a national ‘MSM’ non-government organization currently providing social and health services to a broad range of ‘MSM’ in 11 districts.
A core objective of BSWS work with MSM and Hijras is to advocate and provide for an environment where the respect and dignity of all MSM/Hijras, irrespective of their specific gender and/or sexual identity, or the lack thereof, is assured, along with the creation of a supportive social, policy and legal environment to enable MSM to more effectively respond to sexual health rights and basic human rights in our country, along with increasing their health seeking behaviors.