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Bangladesh: Protecting Human Rights

The Protecting Human Rights (PHR) project is a five-year domestic violence prevention and protection program in Bangladesh, implemented by Plan International across the country, focusing on 102 unions and eight upazilas of six districts: Barguna, Bogra, Chittagong, Dinajpur, Jessore, and Sylhet. The project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to reduce domestic violence and related human rights abuses in Bangladesh. To implement the program, PHR works in partnership with the Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) and 11 local organizations at the district, upazila, and union levels.

Project Start Date
March 2011
Project End Date
March 2017
Technical Areas Covered
Gender-Based Violence; Human Rights; Domestic Violence; Child Marriage; Trafficking; Protection

In order to achieve its goal of educing domestic violence and other human rights abuses in targeted areas, PHR is designed around USAID’s four relevant Intermediate Results (IRs): IR 1: Key Domestic Violence (DV) and Human Rights (HR) Legislation and Policies Enforced; IR 2: Increased Use of Formal and Informal Justice Systems by HR Survivors; IR 3: Increased Support Services to HR Abuse Survivors; and IR 4: Public Awareness on HR Issues Improved. Each of these intermediate results is linked to five major program areas: 1) advocacy of legislative reform and enforcement to reduce domestic violence; 2) capacity building of key stakeholders involved with the protection and promotion of human rights; 3) increasing access to justice for survivors of human rights abuses; 4) providing survivor services for victims of domestic violence and human rights abuses; and 5) building mass awareness and implementing educational campaigns on domestic violence and other human rights abuses.

The PHR program has stressed the importance of forming partnerships, alliances, and collaborative efforts that foster preventive, protective, and legal human rights measures and developing linkages between and among local and national government representatives, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and community leaders. The coalition, working together as agents of change with local communities, spearheads efforts to eradicate domestic violence and related human rights abuses such as dowry, child marriage, sexual harassment, trafficking-in-persons, stalking, rape, and child abduction; protect and support survivors; and prosecute perpetrators.

PHR has seen some remarkable successes including:

  • Passage in April 2013 of the Rules for the Domestic Violence Act of 2010, and continued education amongst the public and service providers on the proper application of these rules.
  • Strengthened civil society coalitions that are advocating at the national and district levels, called Human Rights Advocacy Forums. These multi-stakeholder groups have been meeting regularly and leading initiatives to reduce child marriage and strengthen the services available to survivors.
  • Establishment of active community-based Social Protection Groups that are leading community activities to change attitudes on domestic violence and ensure that survivors receive necessary services.
  • Over 8,683 survivors of domestic violence have received legal services.
  • More than 49,000 instances of psychosocial counseling services provided.
  • Training of thousands of human rights advocates and government employees on domestic violence and child marriage.
  • Education awareness campaigns with teachers and youth in over 100 schools.

Project Materials

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