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Mariyam Akhtar Pakhi

HRD, Headmistress
Mayadwip Shishu Patshala

Mariyam Akhtar Pakhi is a woman human rights defender and headmistress of Mayadwip Shishu Patshala, which is a school for children belonging to low-income households, especially coming from the fisher-folk communities residing in Mayaswip island in Nunertek village. The school was founded by the local social organization Subornogram Foundation in 2007 with the intention of providing free education to children belonging to low-income households.

Bangladesh protest

Human rights defenders in Bangladesh face judicial harassment, arbitrary arrest, fabricated charges, abduction, physical attacks, torture and extrajudicial killings. Local extremist groups pledging allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent often claimed responsibility for the attacks, which have targeted HRDs who write about women’s rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, freedom of religion, and other human rights issues. Despite these risks, there was no impetus on the part of the government to address the protection needs of HRDs. The authorities have so far failed to properly investigate a majority of the murders and impunity remains a serious concern.