Stories written by Eresh Omar Jamal

‘In Bangladesh, democracy was not allowed to take root’

Sultana Kamal, lawyer and human rights activist, member of CPD board of trustees, former Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra, and former advisor to the caretaker government of Bangladesh, talks to Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star about the upcoming national elections and the state of human rights in Bangladesh.

There Is More at Stake Than Freedom of Press

The notion of today's press freedom is deeply rooted in the idea of freedom of speech and expression, intellectual freedom, liberty of thought, etc. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, given that the basis of a democratic government is “the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right [to freely express one's opinions].” Because, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

Unshackling the Chains of Poverty

Two very positive economic developments have recently come to light. One is Bangladesh moving up a notch to rank 106th among 138 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index. Second, that the country's extreme poverty has declined to 12.9 percent in the financial year (FY) 2015-16 from 18.5 percent in 2010, according to the latest Bangladesh Development Update released by the World Bank (WB).

The tragedy in Yemen

While the slaughter of Yemenis continues, the world remains silent in response to their screams. Why is that? Has the world lost its senses, especially to feel the sufferings of the tormented? In an alleged effort to defeat the Houthi rebels, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, supported by the United States and the United Kingdom have been bombarding Yemen, already one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with air-strikes since March 2015, sending it literally back to the stone-age.

Increased regional cooperation – Promising prospects in troubling times

The World Bank (WB), at the end of April this year, had some very encouraging things to say about the Bangladesh economy. In its Bangladesh Development Update report, the bank highlighted that the “economy continues to do well” despite external and internal hurdles, but that “weak private investment rates continue to be a concern with its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) growth declining from 1.5 percentage point to 1.3 percentage point”. Since then, the economy has had to endure quite a few punches including the Gulshan attack that has shrouded businesses with fear and uncertainty.

Blame It on Cronyism, Not the Free Market

The current condition of global economic inequality should be of concern to all. An Oxfam report published this year titled, An economy for the 1%, revealed that “the richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined.” It also said that "62 of the richest people now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world's population. In 2015 it was the 80 richest, in 2014 it was 85 and in 2010, only six years back, it was 388 richest that owned similar wealth”, showing that inequality is actually growing at an increasing rate. This is also made evident by the fact that “the wealth of the poorest half of the world's population has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010, a drop of 38 percent" while “the wealth of the richest 62 has increased [during the same period] by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion.”