Dhaka, 16th February 2010. Today EquityBD, along with twenty one other right based organizations, organized a rally and human chain in front of national press club, Dhaka in parallel to the on going ‘Bangladesh Development Forum’ meet while they claimed that the development partners in Bangladesh and their allied elite class and bureaucrats are responsible for misuse of foreign aid and they made the country increasingly indebted since the liberation of Bangladesh. The organizers demanded sovereign, democratic and responsible financing to ensure that the benefit of aid and loans reaches the poor through a transparent and accountable manner. The protesting rights organizations are; Arpan, AMKS, Eso, Bangladesh Krishak Federation, CSRL, EquityBD, Kishani Sohva, Lead Trust, On line knowledge centre, Protikrit, Karmajibi Nari, La via campesina, MFTD, Prantik, Purbasha, RCSV, Swadin Bangla Garments Sramik Federation, Solidarity Workshop, Sirajgaonj Flodd Forum, Uddipan, Voice, and World Development Movement – UK.
This group also organized similar type of rally yesterday simultaneously in Dhaka and London. In London World Development Movement, Friends of the Earth, Jubilee Debt Campaign and Christian Aid organized the demonstration in front of the DFID office, while they urged DFID not to press government of Bangladesh to accept climate funds through the World Bank.
In a written statement the organizers mentioned that Bangladesh has right to have development aid, but a lion share of foreign aid misuses and repatriates to the aid providing countries in the form consultancy and technical assistance fees. A study, conducted by Prof Abul Barkat, reveals that 30 % of the aid goes to donor country, 25 % goes to the bureaucrats, 25 % goes to the local elites and politicians and only 20 % reaches to the poor. Such a misuse has been happening for unexpected control of the financing by the donors and their allied bureaucrats. The urged the government and donors to follow sovereign, democratic and responsible financing. They propose a charter in this regard which contains specific demands like, (i) all aid and loan money have to be discussed and approved in parliament, at present there is no such a obligation in the constitution, (ii) all loan and aid agreement have to be transparent and accessible by mass public, but no such provision in the Right to Information Act, which is in place now, (iii) separate audit commission to audit foreign aid and loan project and all audit reports on foreign aid and loan projects have to make public by Comptroller and Auditor General Office, (iv) during implementation foreign aided project in local level spaces for participation of beneficiaries, local government representatives and civil society organizations should be ensured, (v) there should be a legal limit of receiving loan both from foreign and domestic source, as in no way it should not hinder investment in essential service sector like health and education. Speakers also urged that project serving mutual interest both of the aid recipient and loan providing countries should not be with loan money, it must be grant.
Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD moderated the rally while Babdurl Alam of La Via Campesina, Feroza Ahmed from Lead Trust, Farzana Akhter from Voice, Saleha Begum from Kishani Sohva, SM Mamun of Karmajibi Nari, Abdul Kader Hazari of Arpan, Syed Aminul Haque, Md. Shamsuddoha and Rezaul K Chowdhury of EquityBD spoke.