HRW Report: Abuses in Bangladesh’s Legal Recognition of Hijras
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT:
“I Want to Live With My Head Held High”
Almost two years ago, the Government of Bangladesh officially recognized the Hijra community of Bangladesh. Hijra, or a third gender are assigned “male” at birth and often identify as feminine later in life.
Even though the implementations of acknowledging and protecting hijras have taken place recently, serious violation of human rights are prevalent.
There are certain guidelines, for example, that are absent in policies outlining the measures individuals must take to legally change the gender marker on official documents, i.e., from “male” to “hijra”, and there is no clarification to who qualifies as a hijra.
Therefore, officials involved in implementing the hijra circular often act on their personal understandings of what hijra means.
This report (linked below) documents the harms that can ensue, focusing on the unintended but nonetheless destructive and rights-abusing consequences of the government’s first attempt to implement the “hijra” category through an employment program.
Despite taking the initial important step of officially addressing hijras, the country still needs to implement a rights-based procedure for their recognition. Anything less will leave hijras exposed to further abuses.