News : Good practice

NHRC consultation builds case for protecting transgender rights

Graphic: Members of the Hijra community take part in a rally, Bangladesh

Members of Bangladesh’s Hijra community shared their experiences of discrimination when trying to change their name or gender on official documents.

Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon has told a workshop organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that policy changes were needed to promote and protect the rights of the transgender community in Bangladesh.

Menon, who was keynote speaker at the event, said the stigma of being a Hijra in Bangladesh starts within the family.

Hijras are deprived of their legal rights, including their inheritance rights, he said.

"We should work from the policy level to ensure their rights in all aspects," Menon said.

"Social awareness should also address the challenges the Hijra community faces and the bureaucracy should be strengthened to ensure their rights," said Menon.


Graphic: Presenters at the conference on the legal recognition of gender identity


Members of the Hijra community shared their experiences of harassment and discrimination, including the challenges they face when trying to change their name or gender on official documents, such as passports and the national identity card.

NHRC Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said the Commission had proposed an anti-discrimination law, with a draft presented to the Ministry of Social Welfare for review.

He added that the Education Board should accept an affidavit from transgender individuals to have their name and gender changed on certificates, an issue he said he would discuss with the relevant authorities.

Reazul also urged the Election Commission to make a separate voting list for the Hijra community or instruct presiding officers to make special arrangements to enable them to cast votes without complication at the upcoming national election.

Health Secretary Md Sirajul Haque, Norwegian Ambassador Sidsel Bleken and representatives of different local and international organisations also spoke at the workshop.

The Consultation on Legal Gender Recognition: Challenges and Way Forward, held in xx October in Dhaka, was supported by the APF.

Date: 22 October 2018


Image credits

  1. Members of the Hijra community take part in a rally, Bangladesh - Labib Ittihadul, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2rXfabE
  2. Presenters at the conference on the legal recognition of gender identity - National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh