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Friend of Bangladesh Dr Peter Custers passed away

54Ansar Ahmed Ullah ::

Longstanding friend and a campaigner for Bangladesh Dutch citizen Dr Peter Custers died on Thursday, 3 September at 20.15 hours at his residence in Leiden, The Netherlands from a sudden severe heart attack.

Peter Custers was a campaigner, journalist, author and theoretician. He wrote several books, articles focusing on social change and development. Among many, his famous book ‘Capital Accumulation and Women’s Labour in Asian Economies’ obtained momentum in the left political movement and thinking. He wrote many books on Bangladesh that included ‘Proceedings of the European Conference on the Flood Action Plan in Bangladesh’ in1993 ‘Food Security, FAP and Bangladesh in 1997, ‘The Peasant Movement and the Future of Bangladesh’ in 1998, ‘Democracy and Human Rights in Bangladesh’ in 2006 and ‘Moulana Bhashani. Leader of the Toiling Masses’ in 2012 amongst many others.

But he was best known to Bengalis for  involvement in 1970s grassroots peasant organising, while based in Bangladesh as a leading Dutch journalist, writing for both Dutch and international newspapers and magazines. During the 1980s, he actively participated in the Dutch peace movement against the threat of nuclear war.

Peter Custers had an M.A. in International Law from Leiden University, The Netherlands (1970). He subsequently followed a three-year course in International Relations of the Johns Hopkins University, in Washington D.C. He obtained his Ph.D. in Sociology from the Catholic University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (1995).

In 2007/2008, Custers was an affiliated fellow, researching on religious tolerance and the history of Bangladesh, at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, the Netherlands. In 2010, he was granted an award as Human Rights’ Defender and Friend of Bangladesh, by the country’s current government. He was working as special European correspondent of the Bengali language daily Prothom Alo and as a columnist of the English language newspaper The Daily Star, Bangladesh.

He leaves behind his wife Sumati Nair and his son Sukanto Custers.