Human rights and religious backlash : the experience of a Bangladeshi NGO

As part of a human rights education campaign, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) fixed 700,000 posters throughout Bangladesh. This met with opposition from religious organisations. This paper investigates the nature and cause of the backlash and sets out strategies for how development organisations can achieve their objectives in the face of opposition. The opposition was found to be in response to interpretations of the posters based on the Holy Koran and Islamic practices, and a perceived intrusion into the professional territory of religious organisations, which affected the socio-economic interests of these organisations' representatives. It was therefore concluded that development organisations should pre-empt such opposition by spelling out their objectives to potential critics, and formulating programmes that do not provide scope for opponents to undermine their development activities. This article is freely available as a chapter in Development and Advocacy.