Monitoring and Evaluating Progress

25. File Right to Information Act applications

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The Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act, 2013 (DRPA) requires district committees to submit annual reports to the National Executive Committee every October. But it is unclear whether district committees actually fulfill this obligation and also whether the National Executive Committee routinely reviews or has plans to publish the details of these reports. At the same time, the Right to Information (RTI) Act entitles Bangladeshi citizens to access certain public records by submitting RTI applications. These applications are an important transparency tool.

The experience of USAID’s EPD program is that DPOs can file RTI applications to obtain copies of district committees’ annual reports to the National Executive Committee. These reports allow DPOs, especially if their leaders are not committee members, to monitor the activities of district committees each year. DPOs can use these reports to keep track of committee decisions, to identify gaps or weaknesses in the committees’ activities, and to plan follow-up advocacy with relevant members. Also, DPOs can determine whether district committees are following up on Section 36 applications that have been filed, as well as track the number and disposition of committee decisions.

BlueLaw International supported Tangail DPOD to file an RTI application to verify its district committee's activities using the form shown above. On March 22, 2020, Tangail DPOD received a response from the District Social Services Office. Among other important information, the response confirmed the the district committee's date of establishment, August 17, 2018, and that the district committee had not filed an annual report with the National Executive Committee in either 2017 or 2018. Tangail DPOD also learned that none of the sub-district or city committees under the Tangail district committee's jurisdiction had submitted any reports to the district committee either. Through its RTI application, Tangail DPOD has gained important insights into the gaps in DRPA implementation in its district, which will inform its future advocacy efforts.

Additional Links: USAID Bangladesh • BlueLaw International

This website is made possible with the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under Cooperative Agreement No. AID-388-A-17-00005. The contents are the sole responsibility of BlueLaw International and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. Government.

This domain was previously home to a joint report by NGDO, NCDW, and BLAST entitled “Current Status of Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh: Legal and Grassroots Perspectives 2015,” produced with funding from the Disability Rights Fund. It is now available here.