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Article From News From Bangladesh archives

UK-based body to move court for justice to arsenic victims

The Bangladesh International Action Network (BIAN), an England-based non-political organisation set up recently will seek justice from both domestic and international courts for the people of Bangladesh dying from arsenic poisoning.

Chairperson of the BIAN Councillor Kumar Murshid of London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Regeneration Advisor of the Mayor of London, disclosed this to newsmen while speaking at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club yesterday.

He said the BIAN working with the issue of debt relief has now launched a major international campaign against arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh. "Today a fundamental human right of the people-the right to water and therefore to life- is at stake", Murshid said.

Describing the arsenic poisoning in water as a national crisis of Bangladesh, the BIAN chief said referring a World Bank statistics that 20 million people are currently at risk and 75 to 80 million people are potentially at risk of arsenic poisoning from tubewells.

Murshid also raised a three-point demand that included a ban on sinking of all shallow tubewells, immediate formulation of a regulatory framework for drinking water and accountability and transparency of international and domestic water agents.

Organised by the BIAN in association with its local partners Brotee, a non-government organisation and Dhaka Community Hospital, the press conference was also addressed by Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, Trustee-Co-ordinator of Dhaka Community Hospital, Sharmeen Murshid, Chief Executive Officer of the Brotee, Ayub Karam Ali of the BIAN and Barrister Ajmalul Hossain, Legal Advisor to BIAN.

Replying to a question, Barrister Ajmalul Hossain said that the BIAN was fully equipped with facts and figures for litigation in court here on public interest relating to arsenic poisoning by April and also seek compensation for the victims. The litigation on the issue with the international court would be filed after the litigation in the domestic court, he added.

Answering to another query, Dr. Mahmudur Rahman said one out of ten deaths is caused by arsenic poisoning in the country. He stressed the need for using surface water including rain water harvesting as a remedy for the problem. ( The Independent )

Copyright 1998 Global Amitech


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