Yunus Decision Delayed, Time to Take Action!


March 16, 2011
Jen Maurer, Sr. Policy Associate

On March 15, the Bangladesh Supreme Court decided to adjourn for two weeks to review the High Court’s ruling that supported the government’s firing of Prof. Yunus. We now have two weeks to continue mobilizing media and Congress.

ACTION #1: Ask Your Member of Congress to Make a Public Statement

If your member of Congress has been supportive of microfinance, please reach out to them now and ask them to release a statement condemning this action by the Government of Bangladesh and expressing support for the independence of Grameen Bank. Some members have issued statements, which has been very impactful.

Share our latest press release, which includes links to congressional actions and statements, with your member of Congress so they can see that they will join powerful company if they issue a statement. Contact Jen Maurer for questions or help.

Laser talk for calling your member of Congress: The government of Bangladesh is attacking the independence of Grameen Bank and trying to force Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus to resign. It has gone to court, and Yunus has appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear the case the week of March 28. The government has been attacking Yunus and Grameen for months. When allegations of corruption didn’t stick, they have resorted to trying to fire Yunus. These attacks hurt the people of Bangladesh and are not just against Grameen, but against independent civil society, which has been a critical partner in the poverty-alleviation progress Bangladesh has made. The US government has been actively defending the bank and Yunus, but additional public support from Congress is crucial now. Would the senator/representative issue a statement this week supporting the independence of Grameen and condemning the government of Bangladesh’s actions? I can send you statements and letters sent by your colleagues.

Resources:

Sen. Kerry press release

Rep. Schakowsky press release

Sen. Durbin press release

Bipartisan Letter to Prime Minister Hasina from the House Bangladesh Caucus

Bipartisan Letter to Prime Minister Hasina from Sens. Durbin, Enzi, S. Brown, Boozman, Bennet, and Rep. Holt

RESULTS press release (3/3/2011)

RESULTS press release (3/15/2011)

ACTION #2: Write a letter to the editor or an oped TODAY

While we are working on other media, your letter to the editor may be the fastest way to raise awareness in your community, inform your editors of the situation, and tell your members of Congress to take action. If your newspaper would take an op-ed, contact Jen Maurer for questions or help in writing one. And still try to get an editorial!
Remember to keep your letter under 150 words. Send your letter to RESULTS and to your members of Congress. Click here to find your newspapers.

Sample letter to the editor:

Title: Noble Peace Prize Winner Under Attack

Noble Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank are under attack from the Bangladesh government. Prof. Yunus is the father of microfinance. He started Grameen Bank to provide the poorest women with small loans to start businesses. They use the proceeds to care for their children and lift their families out of poverty. Without proof of corruption and without logical explanation, the government has spent the last four months attacking Yunus. They have now resorted to trying to fire him as managing director. If they succeed, they will effectively take over Grameen and set the rest of civil society on notice — if they can do this to a Noble Peace Prize laureate, who is next? I urge the US to continue to support Grameen and issue a clear statement to the press. I also urge rep/sen XXXX to issue a public statement condemning the actions of the Bangladesh government.

Recent grassroots-generated media:

Letter to the editorTrenton Times

Op-ed, Trenton Times (not online)

EditorialDeseret News

Letter to the editorLas Vegas Sun

Other Background

For background on the situation, review previous blog post.

Visit the Yunus Centre, which collects media and news

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