VOICE- Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment

Asia
Bangladesh

About VOICE
VOICE’s mission is to build an equitable and just society drawing on the interactions, choices and power of indigenous cultures and resources. Since inception, issues surrounding human rights have remained at the forefront and as a cross-cutting theme in all of VOICE’s initiatives. As a principle, VOICE continues to observe International Human Rights Day and Press Freedom Day every year with or without donor funding since its beginning. VOICE’s experience in the field of civil and political rights is diverse.

Commitment Summary

VOICE is a rights-based research and advocacy organization based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. VOICE is actively engaged in SDG implementation and review process. It is committed to achieving SDG16 by working on 16.1, 16.3, 16.6, 15.10, 16.a, 16.b in particular. VOICE has been working on strengthening freedom of expression including online freedom and also on violence against women having UNDP’s and other donor-supported projects. It strategically works through networking and partnership establishing a micro-macro linkage to generate increased support for policy influencing on SDG 16 in particular.

Full Commitment

In 2012 VOICE implemented a project on freedom of expression online with Global Partners Associates (UK) funded by Foreign and Commonwealth Organization (FCO) and in 2013, VOICE undertook a project titled “Strengthening Freedom of Expression Online” in collaboration with the international Web We Want Coalition. Under this project, VOICE reviewed the situation of freedom of expression in online platforms i.e. social media, blogs and news. This is the first ever non-government initiative in Bangladesh to research how online surveillance affects human rights.

From 2014 – 2016, VOICE implemented another project titled “SAFEGUARD: The Surveillance and Freedom – Global Understanding and Rights Development” with funding support from Privacy International. It was a collaborative research and advocacy project aimed to enhance respect for human rights and right to privacy in Bangladesh. This was the first time a non-government organization in Bangladesh delved into ‘privacy’ as human rights issue and explored the current situation of it in the country. Also VOICE worked in a collaborative project by NGOs on Press Freedom was supported by UNESCO Country office, Dhaka in 2005-2007. And on Community Radio advocacy and campaign VOICE worked in partnership with NGOs and UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF etc,. VOICE submitted report to the UN Special Rapporteur in 2015 outlining the human rights situation in Bangladesh. Also, VOICE translated and distributed the “Internet Rights Charter” into Bangla to popularize such emerging human rights issues that are largely unknown to people in Bangladesh.

In 2018, VOICE executed a research and advocacy project that performed a comprehensive and systematic review of the ICT Act and the Telecommunication Act of Bangladesh and their effect on human rights. Implemented with support from Association for Progressive Communication (APC), this research revealed the freedom of expression landscape in Bangladesh in great details and performed several policy advocacy and capacity building events. VOICE has the experience of conducting research and advocacy activities in collaboration with Privacy International-UK (funded by IDRC), Global Partner Associates-UK (funded by Foreign and Commonwealth Organization), Open Net Initiative (ONI)-Canada (funded by IDRC), Alternatives- Canada, Bank Information Centre- USA, EURODAD-Belgium, Association of Progressive Communication (APC), and Asia Pacific Research Network, Reality of Aid Network, Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), Global; Transparency Initiative (GTI) etc,. VOICE is also a member of Association of Progressive Communication (APC), Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS), World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), NGO Forum on ADB etc.