Experts, at a virtual event on Wednesday, emphasised a uniform civil code to ensure equal rights for women from all the religions of the country in settling and solving some issues like dower or denmohor, inheritance of property and others.
At a virtual dialogue, organised jointly by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF)and Citizen's Platform for SDGs, they said due to lengthy legal processes and other reasons, most women are deprived of dower or denmohor which is mandatory in a Muslim marriage. A uniform civil code can be a solution to this.
While addressing the event, Debapriya Bhattacharya, convenor of Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, said, "The issue of dower or denmohor and inheritance of property should be dealt with as a Uniform Civil Code - so that women's rights are protected as a whole."
Besides, he emphasised increasing the allocation of gender-sensitive social protection and ensuring the implementation of rights.
Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, who chaired the dialogue entitled "Obstacles in obtaining Denmohor: Issues and Challenges", also emphasised a uniform civil code.
A uniform civil code here refers to a single law, applicable to all citizens in personal matters such as marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance.
A report of a study conducted by the Madaripur Legal Aid Association (Mlaa) was also presented at the event.
While presenting the study report, Abdullah Al Faruque of Chittagong University said 90% of women in the country are deprived of their dower or denmohor due to lack of awareness, cost of the legal process and lengthy legal procedures.
Besides, the value of money decreases if denmohor is realised late, he added.
According to the study report, most women prefer Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or arbitration for obtaining the dower or denmohor.
When contacted over the phone after the event, Abdullah Al Faruque told The Business Standard that the report was prepared based on a survey of respondents from six districts.
Among the respondents of the study, 90% of women wanted a solution through ADR, he added.
Shaheen Anam, executive director of MJF, also said "We are still unable to eliminate the practice of dowry, which is sad for us. Even the anti-dowry law doesn't work at all as a deterrent."
Fazlul Huq, secretary of Madaripur Legal Aid Association, Khan Md Shahid, coordinator of the organisation, Advocate Borkot Ali, deputy director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), and Law Professor Shahnaz Huda of Dhaka University also spoke among others.