NETZ does not pay any money to public authorities, except for official fees. These are incurred primarily for state registration as an international organization. There is a clear zero-tolerance policy regarding corruption. This also applies to all staff and local partner NGOs. Partners are selected who are firmly rooted in the project regions and have a good reputation. Netz ensures the quality of the projects and has established a comprehensive financial control system to check compliance with the anti-corruption policy. For example, external auditors and monthly audits of partner NGOs' expenses by NETZ financial experts ensure that projects are implemented properly and that no money is misappropriated. Corruption has many faces. Nepotism is not uncommon in Bangladeshi NGOs. It is not uncommon for relatives of staff to be hired, even if they are less qualified. Therefore, there are clear guidelines for the projects supported by NETZ. Applicants are not allowed to be hired if they are related to the management of the organization. For this reason, NETZ is also involved in personnel decisions for project staff.
Justice instead of fear
Everyone has been wronged at one time or another. But what if you can't defend yourself against it? What if you can't even call attention to it and demand justice? Because everyone else looks the other way - out of indifference or fear of becoming a victim themselves.
When the rights of individuals are violated, this is an alarm signal, because it concerns everyone. Human rights are not individual but universal. Those who threaten and disregard them pave the way for injustice and abuse - from the village to the highest levels of national politics.
It does not have to be this way! Together and in dialogue, human rights can be strengthened. If everyone joins in, no one has to be left out.
Attacked without fault
The legal system in Bangladesh is modern and, in many cases, progressive. Nevertheless, many people are discriminated against - individually and as entire social groups. Gender, religion, ethnicity and even social status are the reasons why people are attacked through no fault of their own. This can happen quietly and inconspicuously, for example when state social services are withheld from them for no reason, such as widows not receiving their pensions. Or it happens brutally - when people are driven off their land, women are abused at home or girls are forcibly married.
The people affected are usually in such weak social positions that they cannot defend themselves independently - even if, like some indigenous communities, they form large communities.This is a vicious circle: Their situation makes the rights violations possible in the first place. And at the same time, it ensures that nothing will change. When we talk about human rights violations, we are not just referring to individual cases of corruption or abuse of power by local officials. In the course of the country's economic development, land grabbing for infrastructure projects and the associated resource struggles between the state, investors and long-established settlement communities are major challenges. How can such conflicts be buried? And how can this be done fairly when the disadvantaged hardly know their own rights?
Network of active people
The NETZ approach to supporting human rights work in Bangladesh focuses on one thing above all: to act independently. This involves neither trying out external ideas nor disrupting the social order. NETZ supports five local organizations throughout the country in their work - in places where a particularly large number of people live in poverty, their way of life is threatened and they are structurally disadvantaged. Together, structures are being created locally for volunteers and full-time citizens to work on human rights. This means that the people attend training sessions on human rights issues, meet regularly, produce analyses and take action: 8,400 people are thus campaigning against violence, child marriages and land grabbing. In the catchment area of 2 million people, they strengthen elementary rights and ensure that people receive the state social services to which they are entitled. They put a stop to corruption and arbitrariness and make politics and administration accountable. They prevent violence against women and early marriage.
The participants are as diverse as the cases: Those affected in small unions often become activists themselves. At the heart of this work are village groups that are established as part of the projects. People come together there and gradually begin to learn about human rights work. They address problems, outline circumstances and pave the way for solutions.
In the same way, however, support is also given to people who have been fighting for human rights for slightly longer, either professionally or as volunteers, and who are repeatedly harassed in the process. From the remote village to the capital, a large network of activists is created who seek dialogue with political decision-makers, identify problems and contribute ideas for the non-violent transformation of conflicts.
The most important thing is to work in a solution-oriented way. Often, human rights violations are difficult to grasp because they happen in secret or because the perpetrators put pressure on the victims. The human rights activists of the NETZ program therefore collect and analyze reports, present the problems and work for just solutions - together with political decision-makers. For sustainable solutions.
A successful approach
What the activists achieved in 2020
- 13,540 human rights defenders protected people in their communities against discrimination and violence.
- The volunteer activists have organized themselves into 506 committees, which serve as contact points for those affected.
- 5,000 youth and adults have received training on human rights issues, gender justice, and democratic dialogue with public authorities.
- 3,120 students run Student Forums at 104 secondary schools.
- They promote the rights of women and girls, serve as role models for their peers, and reach a total of 12,480 fellow students.
- 1,552 cases of human rights violations were documented, reported to state authorities and processed.
A total of 43.000 human rights defenders
have been trained and educated by NETZ projects.
human rights groups were established in villages and strengthen the civil society.
2 Millionen people
are included in the catchment area in which human rights groups and defenders are active.
Our partners are experienced and renowned human rights organizations. The projects are always focused on what they find most important at the time.
People affected by human rights violations are involved and become part of a wide network of activists who create change.
The projects empower people who are not granted rights. They can defend themselves, legally and through social printing.
about human rights and our approach
What is NETZ's stance on corruption?
Who are and what exactly do "human rights defenders" do?
NETZ's human rights program mobilizes women, men and young people who want to stand up for human rights and against injustice in Bangladesh. They are active members of all age and social groups - from students to pensioners, from housewives to teachers. The people work on a voluntary basis and sometimes also as full-time human rights advocates from the village to the capital Dhaka. Strengthened with training, they facilitate dialogue with politicians, the judiciary and perpetrators. They contribute ideas for conflict transformation and solve cases of violence, corruption and land theft. Organized in groups, the majority of human rights defenders in rural areas ensure that people from socially disadvantaged groups receive the social services to which they are entitled. They put a stop to corruption and arbitrariness. They make politics and administration accountable - for the democratic participation of all. They prevent violence against women and early marriage. The activists in the village organize themselves into groups and set a positive example: together they plan their commitment. They specifically promote the inclusion of women, minorities and young people. They document their experiences and make successful approaches visible throughout the country.
What does NETZ do against child marriages?
NETZ-Bangladesh focuses on sustainability in all projects. This also applies to the protection against child marriages. By founding human rights groups in schools, students are sensitized to the issue of child marriages. These groups also serve as a contact point for those affected. Furthermore, NETZ helps to found human rights groups in the village communities. These groups carry out prevention work through education, as well as raising awareness of the serious consequences of child marriage for those affected. Furthermore, the groups are in constant exchange with local authorities. Through the various measures, child marriages are thus combated jointly and sustainably.
Do you have any questions about us?
Hello, I am Habibur Rahman Chowdhury, Country Director of NETZ. Don't hesitate to contact us.