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Health Minister Dr. A word to Samant Lal Sen

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Dr. Samant Lal Sen, you have been appointed in charge of the new Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. I am a burnt woman. I want Bangladesh to be the first country in the world to list burnt people as persons with disabilities according to the UN Charter.

A team of experts will determine what percentage of the body and to what extent a burn will reach the level of disability. Dr. Let Samanta Lal Sen fulfill this demand.

By fulfilling this demand, Bangladesh will be the first country in the world to ensure the human rights of burn victims by listing their disabilities.

The United Nations passed the Charter in 2006 to raise awareness of people with disabilities worldwide. These charters and laws are as important to a person with a disability as they are to the normal population of society. 4 types of disabled people are written in this charter. They are: physical, mental, intellectual and sensory disabilities.

In the light of this charter, the law enacted for the disabled people in Bangladesh is called ‘Rights and Protection of Persons with Disabilities Act 2013’. A total of 11 types have been mentioned in our country’s law ‘Rights and Protection of Persons with Disabilities Act 2013’, referring in detail and specifically to the four types of disability. Types are – Autism, Physical Disability, Mental Disability, Visual Impairment, Speech Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Hearing Impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Multidimensional Disability. The number of our national identity card is determined by adding a hyphen at the end of the number and writing this sequence of numbers. The Act states, if any new type of disability is identified, it will be added to this serial number.

As a burn person, it is important to define ‘burn disability’ as a distinct category to define burn identity. The Ministry of Health will take initiative to provide disability identity to burnt people. This has been my burning desire for the past 27 years.

Why is it necessary to identify burns as a disability?
The answer to this question can be said – the skin is the largest organ of the human body. The exact percentage or extent of these organ burns that lead to disability has yet to be determined. There is only one woman from Bangladesh as a human rights activist in the world as a burn survivor. This woman is working to establish the human rights of other burn survivors. For this reason, the BBC included this human rights activist in the list of 100 inspiring women in the world in 2023.

In my personal life, I am honored to be included in the list of 100 most inspiring women in the world. From the experience of personal life adversity, I have seen in the human rights awareness work of women with disabilities, women with burn disabilities are discriminated against in almost all human rights. In cases where we are discriminated against, we want to express our demands to remove those discriminations. That is why it is important to be sure of our identity first of all.

Sheikh Hasina Burn Institute is the premier treatment center for burn patients in Bangladesh. This medical center was developed through the efforts of Dr. Samant Lal Sen. Hopefully, Bangladesh will be the first country in the world to recognize burnt people as disabled citizens. If the government recognizes burn-related disabilities as a specific type, the world will become known as a disability-friendly country.

As a burned woman, I am working in the organization “Voice and Views” because of the desire to work for the rights of other burned women. Voice & Vision is the only organization in the world working to raise awareness of the human rights of burn victims.

Whatever the cause of the burn, eg: carelessness, accident, violence or destruction in war. Regardless of the type of burn, such as: hot water, chemical explosion, short circuit, acid splash, fire accident or combat injury. What we want to achieve is that the human rights of a burnt person are not violated. As a burn survivor, this is the demand of the newly appointed Health Minister.

Author: Human rights activist and one of the BBC’s 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World.


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