News / Asia

Yunus Loses Final Legal Battle to Challenge Sacking from Grameen Bank

Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, center, comes out of the High Court in Dhaka, Bangladesh (File Photo - March 3, 2011)
Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, center, comes out of the High Court in Dhaka, Bangladesh (File Photo - March 3, 2011)
Anjana Pasricha

In Bangladesh, the supreme court has dismissed a final attempt by microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus to challenge his sacking as head of Grameen Bank, which he founded three decades ago.

After a brief hearing, a seven-member bench of the supreme court dismissed two petitions seeking to overturn the sacking of Muhammad Yunus as head of Grameen Bank. The petitions had been filed by Yunus and nine directors of the bank.

Tuesday’s order ends a two-month legal battle by the Nobel laureate to save his job as head of the institution which extends tiny loans to poor people.

Age discrimination?

Yunus, 70, was dismissed for staying past the retirement age of 60. His supporters believe he was politically targeted for briefly trying to start his own political party in 2007.

The debate in Bangladesh is now moving to how the controversy will impact the work for which Yunus won international acclaim and a Nobel prize in 2006. His concept of microfinance is credited with helping millions of poor people in Bangladesh and other parts of the world.


Debapriya Bhattacharya heads the Center for Policy Dialogue in Dhaka and is a public policy analyst. He says the government must ensure that Grameen Bank’s stability is not affected. The bank has more than eight million borrowers, spread across more than 80,000 villages,
and is a significant feature of the country’s rural economy.

He says the government must also clarify its policy toward numerous other microcredit institutions which are working in the country.

"Given what has happened to the Grameen Bank’s leadership transition, it is important to note that the other microcredit operators at the field level should not feel threatened," he said. "No atmosphere of hostility should be created so that they do not feel it is not Grameen, but it is microcredit, as a whole, which is being challenged. It is very important for the government to reassure all these thousands of microcredit organizations operating in the field so that they do not feel any adverse environment. "

No worries

The government has dismissed concerns that Grameen Bank will be affected by the removal of Yunus. However, fears about the government’s attitude to microfinance institutions arose after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called Yunus a “blood sucker of the poor.”

In recent years, microfinance institutions have faced criticism for charging high interest rates. In neighboring India, local governments have accused some microcredit lenders of predatory practices aimed more at enriching investors than helping the poor.

But most economists say microfinance has played a useful role in poverty alleviation in one of the world’s poorest countries. They say the loans, given without collateral, also help poor people overcome crises such as illness or loss of job.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs