Protecting Human Rights: The Role of NGOs in Bangladesh

Conference Paper: Rawalpindi, Pakistan (March 29-31, 2012)

'International Conference on Implementing Human Rights (ICIHR 2012): A Way Forward', Dept. of Gender Studies, Fatima Jinnah Women University

18 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2012 Last revised: 24 Apr 2012

See all articles by Saber Ahmed Chowdhury

Saber Ahmed Chowdhury

University of Dhaka - Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies

Date Written: March 28, 2012


Since the late 1970s, NGOs have played prominent roles in the nation’s development process of Bangladesh. But the NGOs particularly dealing with human rights in Bangladesh have proliferated dramatically in the last decade. This NGO sector is highly organized and relatively homogeneous which has mostly been led by donor enthusiasm, many of whom are altruistically motivated. However, the escalation of human rights advocacy in Bangladesh is the cause of the gradual emergence of powerful and effective NGOs. In this article, two questions will be answered regarding the role of NGOs in promoting human rights in Bangladesh; one is normative - what do NGOs do? while the other is operational - How do NGOs perform their actions? The growth of NGOs, including women rights activists, environmental protesters, researchers, and the media, has immensely helped to raise awareness about the impact of economic disparity, social repression, and environmental exploitation on human beings. In Bangladesh, NGOs are working as a pressure group on the government to formulate and employ human rights related legislation. However, their efforts are not beyond criticisms. It is a general predisposition of NGOs in Bangladesh to shift their working priorities, ignoring the local demands, in preference to the donor’s priorities. Consequently most of the NGOs focus on attracting donor funds by changing their actions and hence are acting in accordance to the donor’s guidelines to uphold human rights in the country.

Suggested Citation

Chowdhury, Saber Ahmed, Protecting Human Rights: The Role of NGOs in Bangladesh (March 28, 2012). Conference Paper: Rawalpindi, Pakistan (March 29-31, 2012) . Available at SSRN:

Saber Ahmed Chowdhury (Contact Author)

University of Dhaka - Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies ( email )

Ramna, Dhaka
Dhaka, 1000
+8801716403959 (Phone)

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