The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have made the lives of very vulnerable people more devastating, CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said on Sunday.
There is no proper legal framework to ensure medical care and food for the country's citizens although the constitution speaks of such provisions, added the public policy analyst.
He said it is possible to have recourse to legal action if any other rights are violated but there is no provision to file a case for medical and food security.
Debapriya Bhattacharya said this at the second phase of a seminar titled "Recognising and Honouring 10 Heroes During the Pandemic" organised by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MFJ).
He observed that the effects of Covid-19 on the lives of ethnic minority populations are devastating.
On one hand, the members of ethnic minority groups face discrimination in many ways, and on the other hand, they bear the brunt of the pandemic.
As a result, their lives are more endangered than before. Besides, low- and middle-income people have been greatly affected by the pandemic's effects.
The noted economist observed that not only the lower- and middle-classes are deprived of basic healthcare during the pandemic, many well-to-do people are also failing to get optimum healthcare facilities.
The fundamental rights of low-income people have been severely violated, Debapriya said, adding that although the government tried to provide them with incentives in various ways, the incentives have not reached them properly.
He said not all traders in the country and those eligible to pay income tax pay tax properly.
Only 10% of GDP comes from tax, and thousands of crores of taka are smuggled abroad.
As a result, the government cannot implement all programmes that it takes up for the good of the people, said the CPD fellow.
Debapriya adds that floods and Amphan hit people's lives hard which could be dealt with properly.
The webinar was moderated by MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam and Chaired by Mizanur Rahman, former chair, National Human Rights Commission and MJF governing body member.
Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the prime minister, was present at the programme as the chief guest at the event.
In his address, Gowher Rizvi said, "As so long as we as human beings have empathy and sympathy for others, everything is possible."
The government is actively considering passing the anti-discrimination act, he said, adding that a commission for the minorities will be formed soon.
Rizvi also sought non-governmental organisations' full cooperation in reviewing all discriminatory laws that are detrimental to the interests of women's rights and empowerment.
British High Commissioner in Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson was present at the event.
In his address, he congratulated all the heroes recognised at the MJF event on Sunday.
"Human rights must ensure respect for everyone in society, including the most excluded and marginalised," he said, adding that these 10 brave human rights defenders have done wonderful things for the society.
MJF governing body member Mizanur Rahman said, "If the pandemic has taught us any lesson, I think the first lesson is how fragile our healthcare system is."
He observed that human development should be at the core of any development initiative to make development sustainable.
MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam said, "Today we are honouring those young men and women who risked their lives, spent from their meagre incomes and worked tirelessly to help others in distress."
"We pay our tribute to those hundreds and thousands of faceless, nameless people who, with no thought of getting recognition or reward, continued to volunteer just for the sake of humanity," he said.
Christine Johansson, deputy head of mission and head of development cooperation, Embassy of Sweden, and Phedra Moon Morris, head of aid, Canadian High Commission in Bangladesh, were special guests at the programme.
Rina Akhter, Kazi Taif Sadat, Tahiyatul Jannat, Md Saifur Rahman Shakil, Sandha Rani Roy, Md Musa, Joyeeta Poly, Tasnuva Anan, Shotej Chakma and Babita Khatun received the awards.