People's Republic of Bangladesh
Gana Prajatantri Banladesh
Joined United Nations: 17 September 1974
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 19 October 2012
161,083,804 (July 2012 est.)
Sheikh Hasina Wajed
Prime Minister since 06 January 2009
President elected by National Parliament for a five-year term
(eligible for a second term); Last election held: 11 February 2009
Next scheduled election: 2014
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or
coalition is appointed prime minister by the president. Last
election: 29 December 2008
Next scheduled election: 2013
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Bengali 98%, tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims (1998)
Muslim 89.5%, Hindu 9.6%, other 0.9% (2004)
Parliamentary democracy -6 divisions; Legal system is based on English common law
Executive: President elected by National Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the
leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually appointed prime minister by the president. Elections last held: 29 December 2008,
(Next scheduled election: December 2013
Legislative: Unicameral National Parliament or Jatiya Sangsad; 300 seats (45 reserved for women) elected by popular vote from
single territorial constituencies; members serve five-year terms
elections: last held 29 December 2008 (next to be held: December 2013)
Judicial: Supreme Court (the chief justices and other judges are appointed by the president)
Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
The exact origin of the word Bangla or Bengal is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from the Dravidian-speaking tribe
Bang that settled in the area around the year 1000 BCE. Other accounts speculate that the name is derived from Vanga(bôngo),
which came from the Austric word "Bonga" meaning the Sun-god. According to Mahabharata, Purana, Harivamsha Vanga was one
of the adopted sons of king Vali who founded the Vanga kingdom. The Muslim Accounts refer that "Bong", a son of Hind (son of
Hām who was a son of Noah) colonized the area for the first time. The earliest reference to "Vangala"(bôngal) has been traced in
the Nesari plates (805 AD) of Rashtrakuta Govinda III which speak of Dharmapala as the king of Vangala. Shams-ud-din Ilyas
Shah took the title "Shah-e-Bangalah" and united the whole region under one nationality for the first time. The Proto-Australoids
were the earliest inhabitants of Bengal. Dravidians migrated to Bengal from Southern India, while Tibeto-Burman peoples migrated
from the Himalayas, followed by the Indo-Aryans from north-western India. The ancestors of modern Bengali people were a blend
of these peoples. Pathans, Iranians, Arabs and Turks also migrated to the region in the late Middle Ages while spreading Islam.
Remnants of civilization in the greater Bengal region date back three millennia. The civilization that flourished in this region before the
Aryan conquest was the Alpine civilization. The Alpines (Eastern Bracycephalic) from Taklamakan Desert in Central Asia settled in
eastern India (Bengal, Orissa and the plains of Assam) and formed the main elements of today's Bengali people. The Alpines were
divided into various indigenous tribes: Vanga (south Bengal), Pundra (north Bengal), and Rarh/Suhma (West Bengal) according to
their respective Totems. According to Mahavamsa, Vijaya Singha, a Vanga prince, conquered Lanka (modern day Sri Lanka) in
544 BC and gave the name Sinhala to the country. In 326 BCE, with the invasion of Alexander the Great the region again comes
into prominence. The Greek and Latin historians suggested that Alexander the Great withdrew from India anticipating the valiant
counter attack of the mighty Gangaridai and Prasioi empires which were located in the Bengal region. The pre-Gupta period of
bengal is shrouded with obscurity. Before the conquest of Samudragupta Bengal was divided into two kingdoms Pushkarana and
Samatata. Chandragupta II had to defeat a confederacy of Vanga kings. Bengal was a part of the Gupta Empire. However, the
Mrigashikhaban Stupa of Varendra is a strong proof that the Guptas themselves had originated from Bengal. This implies that the
Guptas were Bengali and the Gupta empire was in fact a Bengali empire. Even today the origin of the Guptas is still hotly debated.
By the sixth century, the Gupta Empire ruling over the northern Indian subcontinent was largely broken up. The first independent
Buddhist king of Bengal, Gopala I came to power in 750 in Gaur by democratic election. Gopala founded the Buddhist Pala
dynasty which lasted for four centuries (750-1120 AD), ushering in a period of relative stability and prosperity. The Palas were
followed by the Sena dynasty who brought the East and West Bengal under one ruler only during the twelfth century. The Sena
dynasty brought a revival of Hinduism and cultivated Sanskrit literature made its first appearance in Bengal during the twelfth century
AD when Sufi missionaries arrived. Later occasional Muslim invaders reinforced the process of conversion by building mosques,
madrassas and Sufi Khanqahs. Beginning in 1202 a military commander from the Delhi Sultanate, Ikhtiar Uddin Muhammad bin
Bakhtiar Khilji, overran Bihar and Bengal as far east as Rangpur, Bogra and the Brahmaputra River. The defeated Laksmanasena
and his two sons moved to a place then called Vikramapura (south of Dhaka), where their diminished dominion lasted until the late
thirteenth century. The period after Bakhtiar Khilji's death in 1206 devolved into infighting among the Khiljis - representative of a
pattern of succession struggles and intra-empire intrigues during later Turkish regimes. Ilyas Shah founded an independent dynasty
that lasted from 1342-1487 which successfully repulsed attempts by Delhi to reign them in. The Habshi rule gave way to the
Hussain Shahi dynasty that ruled from 1494-1538. Alauddin Hussain Shah, considered as the greatest of all the sultans of Bengal
for the cultural renaissance during his reign, conquered Kamarupa, Kamata, Jajnagar, Orissa and extended the sultanate all the way
to the port of Chittagong, which witnessed the arrival of the first Portuguese merchants. The last Sultan of the dynasty, who
continued to rule from Gaur, had to contend with rising Afghan activity on his northwestern border. Eventually, the Afghans broke
through and sacked the capital in 1538 where they remained for several decades until the arrival of the Mughals. Portuguese traders
and missionaries were the first Europeans to reach Bengal in the latter part of the fifteenth century. They were followed by
representatives of the Dutch, the French, and the British East India Company. During Aurangzeb's reign, the local Nawab sold three
villages, including one then known as Calcutta, to the British. The British East India Company gained official control of Bengal
following the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Scandals and the bloody rebellion known as the Sepoy Mutiny prompted the British
government to intervene in the affairs of the East India Company. In 1858, authority in India was transferred from the Company to
the crown and the rebellion was brutally suppressed. As the independence movement throughout British-controlled India began in
the late nineteenth century gained momentum during the twentieth century, Bengali politicians played an active role in Gandhi's
Congress Party and Jinnah's Muslim League, exposing the opposing forces of ethnic and religious nationalism. By exploiting the
latter, the British probably intended to distract the independence movement, for example by partitioning Bengal in 1905 along
religious lines (the split only lasted for seven years). British India was partitioned and the independent states of India and Pakistan
were created in 1947; the region of Bengal was divided along religious lines. The predominantly Muslim eastern half of Bengal
became the East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan) state of Pakistan and the predominantly Hindu western part became the
Indian state of West Bengal. Almost from the advent of independent Pakistan in 1947, frictions developed between East and West
Pakistan, which were separated by more than 1,000 miles of Indian territory. East Pakistanis felt exploited by the West Pakistan-
dominated central government. Linguistic, cultural, and ethnic differences also contributed to the estrangement of East from West
Pakistan. The Language Movement began in 1948 and reached its climax in the killings of 21 February 1952, and ended in the
adoption of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan. The question as to what would be the state language of Pakistan was
raised immediately after its creation. Great differences began developing between the two wings of Pakistan. While the west had a
minority share of Pakistan's total population, it had the maximum share of revenue allocation, industrial development, agricultural
reforms and civil development projects. Pakistan's military and civil services were dominated by the fair-skinned, Persian-cultured
Punjabis and Afghans. Only one regiment in the Pakistani Army was Bengali. And many Bengali Pakistanis could not share the
natural enthusiasm for the Kashmir issue, which they felt was leaving East Pakistan more vulnerable and threatened as a result. After
the Awami League won all the East Pakistan seats of the Pakistan's National Assembly in the 1970-71 elections, West Pakistan
opened talks with the East on constitutional questions about the division of power between the central government and the
provinces, as well as the formation of a national government headed by the Awami League. After the military crackdown by the
Pakistan army since the night of March 25, 1971 Sheikh Mujib Mujibur Rahman was arrested and the political leaders dispersed,
mostly fleeing to neighbouring India where they organized a provisional government afterwards. The people were at a loss. At this
crucial moment with a sudden forced political vacuum, the Eighth East Bengal Regiment under the leadership of Major Ziaur
Rahman revolted against the Pakistan Army and took up the Bangladesh flag as its mainstay on the night of March 26 - March 27,
1971. Major Zia declared, on behalf of the Great Leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the independence of Bangladesh. The two
nations had fought a war in 1965, mainly in the west, but the refugee pressure in India in the fall of 1971 produced new tensions in
the east. Indian sympathies lay with East Pakistan, and on December 3, 1971, India intervened on the side of the Bangladeshis. On
December 16, 1971, Pakistani forces surrendered, and Bangladesh ("Country of Bangla") was finally established the following day.
The new country changed its name to Bangladesh on January 11, 1972 and became a parliamentary democracy under a
constitution. Shortly thereafter on March 19 Bangladesh signed a friendship treaty with India. In January 1975 economic and
political difficulties led to Sheikh Mujib's assumption of the presidency with greatly increased powers and he also nulled multi-party
system by creating one party rule. On August 15, 1975, he was killed in a military coup. Following two further coups (November 3
and November 6), Major General Ziaur Rahman emerged as de facto ruler, assuming the presidency in April 1977. In May 1981,
Zia in turn fell victim to a failed coup attempt; ten months later, on March 24, 1982, Lt. General Hossain Mohammad Ershad took
power, holding office until his resignation (December 6, 1990) that was engineered by western donors who now felt that, with the
Communist threat gone, they could do without dictators. Bangladesh had known only four years of democracy after its inception;
now the experiment was resumed following 2007 military rule under a State of emergency. Legislative elections were held in
December 2008 with Sheikh Hasina resuming the role of Prime Minister. Zillur Rahman was elected President in February 2009.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Bangladesh
The economy has grown 5-6% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power
supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-governed
nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, 45% of Bangladeshis are employed in the
agriculture sector with rice as the single-most-important product. Bangladesh's growth was resilient during the 2008-09 global
financial crisis and recession. Garment exports, totaling $12.3 billion in FY09 and remittances from overseas Bangladeshis, totaling
$11 billion in FY10, accounted for almost 12% of GDP.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Bangladesh)
The 2006–2008 Bangladeshi political crisis began in October 2006 when a caretaker government — designated by the constitution
to oversee the vote — assumed power without exhausting the provisions of selection of Chief of Caretaker government at the end
of October. Its purpose was to steer the country through the scheduled parliamentary elections. However, on 3 January 2007, the
Awami League made its predicted announcement that it (and the 18 smaller parties attached to it) would boycott the general
election scheduled to be held on 22 January 2007, questioning its fairness and the non-availability of an accurate voters list. This
announcement led to widespread violence and political rioting. This on-going political crisis has stemmed largely from an apparent
politicalisation of the civil administration, election commission and defense force that was perceived to be skewing the election
process towards a pre-determined result. This follows on from almost 2 decades of bitter rivalry between the Awami League and
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The BNP-led government stepped down in October at the end of their term. Although the
caretaker government was appointed immediately afterwards, Awami League and its allies maintained their position regarding the
fairness of the upcoming election. Violence erupted throughout the country, killing more than 40 people.
A general election was held in Bangladesh on 29 December 2008. The two key parties in the election were the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP), led by Khaleda Zia, and the Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina. The Awami League formed a fourteen-
party grand alliance (Mohajot) including Ershad's Jatiya Party, while the BNP formed a four-party alliance which included the
Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami. The election was originally scheduled for January 2007, but it was postponed for an extended
period due to protests by the opposition and threats of general boycott.
The election resulted in a landslide victory for the Awami League-led grand alliance, which won 263 seats. The main rival four-party
alliance led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh received only 32 seats, with the remaining
4 going to independent candidates.
Zillur Rahman was elected President by the National Assembly after running unopposed on 11 February 2009. He was sworn in the
next day. Extremist groups Shahadat-e-al-Hikma Bangladesh and Hizb-ut-Tahrir Bangladesh were banned on 22 October 2009 by
the government, as the group was trying to destabilize the country by stoking the army after the 2009 BDR mutiny.
Source: Wikipedia: Bangladeshi General Elections, 2008
Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Prime
Minister Singh's September 2011 visit to Bangladesh resulted in the signing of a Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement
between India and Bangladesh, which had called for the settlement of longstanding boundary disputes over undemarcated areas and
the exchange of territorial enclaves, but which had never been implemented; Bangladesh struggles to accommodate 29,000
Rohingya, Burmese Muslim minority from Arakan State, living as refugees in Cox's Bazar; Burmese border authorities are
constructing a 200 km (124 mi) wire fence designed to deter illegal cross-border transit and tensions from the military build-up
Refugees (country of origin): 229,226 (Burma) (2010)
IDPs: undetermined (land conflicts, religious persecution) (2012)
Current situation: Bangladesh is a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of
forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; a significant share of Bangladesh's trafficking victims are men recruited for work
overseas with fraudulent employment offers who are subsequently exploited under conditions of forced labor or debt bondage;
children are trafficked within Bangladesh for commercial sexual exploitation, bonded labor, and forced labor; women and
children from Bangladesh are also trafficked to India and Pakistan for sexual exploitation
tier rating: Bangladesh is placed on
Tier 2 Watch List because it does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is
making significant efforts to do so, including some progress in addressing sex trafficking; the government did not demonstrate
sufficient progress in criminally prosecuting and convicting labor trafficking offenders, particularly those responsible for the
recruitment of Bangladeshi workers for the purpose of labor trafficking (2012)
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Bangladesh
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed led the Awami League (AL) alliance, a 14-party coalition
with an overwhelming majority of parliamentary seats. International and domestic observers considered the 2008 elections to be free and
fair, with isolated irregularities and sporadic violence. There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently
of civilian control.
The most significant human rights problems were killings and torture by security forces; societal violence and discrimination against
women, despite recent progress in their economic and social status; and the government’s discrimination against and failure to protect
indigenous persons from societal violence.
Other human rights problems included abuses by security forces, which were responsible for disappearances, custodial deaths, and
arbitrary arrest and detention. Prison conditions at times were life threatening, and lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem.
An increasingly politicized judiciary exacerbated problems in an already overwhelmed judicial system and constrained access to justice
for members of opposition parties. Authorities infringed on citizens’ privacy rights. There were instances in which the government
limited freedom of speech and press, self-censorship continued, and security forces harassed journalists. The government curbed
freedom of assembly, and politically motivated violence remained a problem. Widespread official corruption remained a serious problem.
Violence against children remained a serious problem, as did trafficking in persons. Discrimination against persons with disabilities was a
problem. Societal violence against religious and ethnic minorities persisted, although many government and civil society leaders stated
that these acts often had political or economic motivations and could not be attributed only to religious belief or affiliation. Discrimination
against persons based on their sexual orientation remained a problem. Limits on worker rights, child labor, and unsafe working
conditions also remained problems.
Impunity continued to be a serious problem in several areas. Most members of the security forces acted with impunity, the Rapid Action
Battalion (RAB) in particular. The government did not take comprehensive measures to investigate cases of security force killings.
Widespread official corruption and related impunity continued. Punishment of officials who committed abuses was predominantly limited
to officials perceived to be opponents of the AL-led government.
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4 February 2011
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
17 January – 4 February 2011
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
2. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its combined sixth and seventh periodic report, which was well
structured and, in general, followed the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of reports with reference to the previous concluding
observations, although it lacked disaggregated statistics and qualitative data on the situation of women in some of the areas covered by
the Convention. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its oral presentation, the written replies to the list of
issues and questions raised by its pre-session working group and the further clarifications to the questions posed orally by the Committee.
B. Positive aspects
6. The Committee notes with satisfaction the ratification by the State party, on 30 November 2007, of the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities, and on 12 May 2008, of its Optional Protocol.
7. The Committee welcomes the progress achieved since the consideration of the State party’s fifth periodic report in 2004
(CEDAW/C/BGD/5), including the legislative reforms that have been undertaken and the adoption of a wide range of legislative
measures. Specific reference is made to:
a. Bangladesh Labour Act (2006);
b. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution allowing an increase in women’s reserved seats from 30 to 45;
c. The Representation of People’s (Amendment) Ordinance (2008);
d. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (2009), entitling a Bangladeshi woman to transmit citizenship to her children;
C. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
9. The Committee recalls the obligation of the State party to systematically and continuously implement all the provisions of the
Convention and views the concerns and recommendations identified in the present concluding observations as requiring the priority
attention of the State party between now and the submission of the next periodic report. Consequently, the Committee urges the State
party to focus on those areas in its implementation activities and to report on actions taken and results achieved in its next periodic
report. The Committee calls upon the State party to submit the present concluding observations to all relevant ministries, to the
Parliament, and to the judiciary, so as to ensure their full implementation.
10. While reaffirming that the Government has the primary responsibility and is particularly accountable for the full implementation of the
obligations of the State party under the Convention, the Committee stresses that the Convention is binding on all branches of
Government, and it invites the State party to encourage the Parliament, in line with its procedures, where appropriate, to take the
necessary steps with regard to the implementation of the present concluding observations and the Government’s next reporting process
under the Convention.
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 3
Civil Liberties Score: 4
Status: Partly Free
Political dysfunction worsened during 2011, as the primary opposition and Islamist parties stepped up street protests and political
violence. The government failed to address the problem of extrajudicial executions and other human rights abuses, and was accused of
combating corruption in a politicized manner. Meanwhile, critical nongovernmental organizations faced increased pressure, and the
judiciary showed signs of mounting political influence.
The new government moved to implement its campaign promises. Several suspected war criminals were arrested in 2009, and in 2010
the government established a tribunal that subsequently indicted and issued arrest warrants for five JI leaders. The first trial began in late
2011. However, experts remained concerned that the process would not adhere to international standards, and both witnesses and
defense lawyers received threats during 2011.
Another important part of the AL’s agenda was the restoration of the 1972 constitution, which would reestablish Bangladesh’s character
as a secular republic. In a key step toward that end, a February 2010 Supreme Court decision nullified elements of the fifth amendment
to the constitution, effectively paving the way for a reinstatement of the principle of secularism and a ban on religiously based political
parties. Following the ruling, the EC requested that the JI amend its charter accordingly. Meanwhile, the government took a harder line
on Islamist extremism, arresting dozens of activists and those suspected of links to terrorist groups. An even wider crackdown in
September 2011—in the wake of violent JI protests regarding the war crimes issue—led to the arrest of several party leaders and
hundreds of activists.
The BNP-led opposition continued to intermittently boycott Parliament and rigidly oppose the AL government’s initiatives. The BNP
began resorting to the use of hartals in 2010, and led relatively peaceful mass protests in June that year. However, the party suffered
from serious internal divisions, particularly over succession issues. General political dysfunction intensified in 2011, with more frequent
opposition protests and strikes against both specific policies and the government in general.
In June 2011, following a May Supreme Court decision on the validity of interim administrations, the AL-dominated Parliament passed
the 15th amendment to the constitution despite a BNP boycott of the vote, which effectively scrapped the CG system and replaced it
with a nominally independent electoral commission. Other articles of the amendment termed any criticism of the constitution an act of
sedition, and effectively forbade further amendments to large parts of the constitution. The AL suffered an electoral defeat in late
October, when an independent candidate won the mayoralty of Narayanganj, just outside Dhaka. Meanwhile, a series of apparently
biased decisions in corruption cases raised concerns about political influence over the judiciary.
Bangladesh is an electoral democracy. The December 2008 parliamentary elections were deemed free and fair by European Union
observers and other monitoring groups. Terms for both the unicameral National Parliament and the largely ceremonial presidency are five
years. Under provisions contained in the 15th amendment, Parliament is composed of 350 members, of whom 300 are directly elected,
and 50 are women nominated by political parties—based on their share of the elected seats—and then voted on by their fellow
lawmakers. The president is elected by Parliament.
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Bangladesh: Protect Pahari land rights in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
1 July 2012
Dear Prime Minister,
Fourteen years ago your government signed a Peace Accord promising to return traditional lands to the Pahari Indigenous Peoples of the
Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.
Thousands of Pahari families have been displaced as a result of the government’s counter insurgency operations and policies encouraging
Bengali settlers to migrate to and occupy Pahari lands. Huge tracts of Pahari lands have been acquired by the Forest Department and the
military. Displaced Pahari families remain landless while they wait for the Land Commission, established to resolve the land disputes, to
act. To date, the Commission has failed to initiate a single inquiry into these disputes.
I urge you to take concrete steps to ensure that the Land Commission fulfils its obligations, including seeking full and effective
participation of the Pahari in all its work.
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Bangladesh: End Harassment of War Crimes Defense Counsel
Armed Raid on Defense Offices Gross Interference with Trial Process
October 17, 2012
(New York) – The raid, without any justification being given, by armed police on the offices of a prominent defense lawyer in the war
crimes trials taking place in Bangladesh is a grave affront to the basic tenets of fair trials. The Bangladeshi government should take action
against those who ordered the raid on the offices of defense counsel Mohammed Tajul Islam and take steps to ensure that lawyers are
not subject to threats and intimidation.
“A raid by armed intelligence officers on the offices of defense lawyers without a warrant and for no discernible reason marks a very
dangerous turn in an already flawed process,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Bangladeshi government
needs to publicly condemn this action or risk the appearance of being responsible for this egregious violation of fair trial standards.”
On October 9 at around 4:30 pm, 10-12 police officers who identified themselves as members of the Detective Branch of the police
gathered outside the Dhaka law offices of Islam. When questioned about their presence by lawyers in the office, they denied any interest
in the chambers, but afterwards entered the offices saying that they wanted to search the premises. Lawyers present at the office
demanded that they produce a search warrant, but the officers could not produce one. The officers then started questioning staff and
clients who were present in the offices, taking down names and addresses. The police left of their own accord after about twenty
On October 10 defense counsel requested both the first and the second trial chambers of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to
investigate the raid. The second chamber directed them to file a written application and to make a General Diary complaint to the police.
The presiding judge in the first trial chamber said the matter was beyond his authority.
Lawyers representing the accused before the ICT have previously reported being harassed by state officials and threatened with arrests.
Abdur Razzaq, a senior lawyer who heads many of the war crimes trials, has been harassed, threatened with criminal charges, and
reports ongoing surveillance of his home and office. Defense lawyers allege that they are often unable to bring witnesses to court
because of threats and intimidation of witnesses by persons working for the prosecution.
Both Bangladeshi and international law recognize the importance of the need to protect the ability of lawyers to work freely without
intimidation, whether on the prosecution side or the defense. In the absence of such protection, the accused are unable to freely
communicate with their counsel, and counsel are then unable to represent their clients fully. The related concept of lawyer-client
privilege is similarly undermined by this kind of harassment and intimidation.
Human Rights Watch repeated its call for the establishment of a Defense Office, similar to those established in international criminal
tribunals. A Defense Office would help ensure that the core principle of “equality of arms” for both sides is recognized, and thus would
go a long way to establishing fairness in ICT proceedings. Defense Offices are accessible only to authorized members of the defense
teams, and all evidence and work product in those offices are considered privileged and protected. The creation of a Defense Office,
properly staffed and supported, would give a clear signal that the defense teams should be treated as an equal and indispensable of a fair
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Friday, July 6, 2012
HRW report 'int'l conspiracy against Bangladesh'
The government has described the Human Rights Watch report on BDR mutiny and carnage trials as part of an international conspiracy
and propaganda against the country.
In a press statement Friday afternoon, the home ministry termed allegations by the New York-based rights body about the trial 'totally
false, baseless and imaginary'.
It called for the withdrawal of the HRW report and statement so that the trial of the killing of 74 people including 57 army officers in the
most hated and heinous incident to ensure exemplary punishment to the culprits through a smooth trial.
About the HRW allegations that those detained in connection with the mutiny have suffered tremendous abuse and torture in custody, the
government said it is totally baseless and fabricated. It is void of reality.
It also said the trial is being held in a fair and transparent manner. The cases filed under Penal Code and Arms Act are being conducted
under the existing laws of the land.
The accused are enjoying all kinds of opportunities like appointing lawyers, defending oneself and placing witnesses, the statement said.
Journalists from both the print and electronics media along with the relatives of the accused remain present in the court during the trial.
Meanwhile, Border Guard Bangladesh also described HRW remarks on the BDR trial thoughtless and illogical and said the report as a
whole is ‘baseless’ and ‘ill-motivated’.
In a press statement released in the afternoon, it said the HRW had violated the laws of the country by demanding a halt to the trial of the
2009 BDR mutiny and carnage.
The provocative demand has surprised and concerned the paramilitary force, the statement said.
The BGB accused the rights body of creating confusion among the people of the country about the laws of the land, hurting the morale
of the members of the discipline force, depicting a negative image about Bangladesh in the international arena.
The force strongly condemned and protested the remarks of the HRW about the trail of the mutiny and the heinous killings in its Pilkhana
On July 4, a HRW report claimed that the mass trial for the February 2009 BDR mutiny is fundamentally flawed and the accused are
subjected to gross human rights violations.
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Mass Awareness Campaign for Promotion of Human Rights
19 July, 2012
The Bangladesh National Human Rights-Capacity Development Project (BNHRC-CDP) helped organize a seminar on working together
for the promotion of human rights at Sirajganj deputy commissioner Conference Room on 19 July, 2012. The objective of the seminar
was to raise public awareness on the existence of the National Human Rights Commission, its mandate, activity, possible cooperation and
As the chief quest of the program, Kazi Reazul Hoque, Full Time Member of NHRC has said that the role of the government official is
crucial to protect and promote human rights in the country. He opined that the image of the government largely depends of the
performance of public servants. the NHRC cannot work alone. He reinforced the collaborative effort among the local administration,
prosecutors and civil society to promote human rights of the people across the country.
Md. Tajul Islam Chowdhury, Secretary, NHRC and National Project Director NHRC Capacity development project of UNDP Bangladesh
briefed people about the commission including its commitment, modality, staffing, resources, role and achievements. Referring to the
case of college student Limon, he mentioned that the commission took very strong role to protect his rights. He also added that the
Commission is trying its best to improve the human rights situation in Bangladesh.
Md. Sajidur Rahman, Executive Engineer, BWDB shared a dilemma on enforcement of law and rights violations. These were explicated
by the examples of burning nets of the poor fishermen who were brought into law for illegal fishing and who does not have other means
to provide for their families. He also talked about the eviction of slum dwellers who don’t have any other abode. He questioned how these
situations could be handled by a HR sensitized law enforcers.
Alhaj Abdur Rahman, Public Prosecutor, Sirajganj District Court recommend to NHRC to form a Human Rights Watchdog Group in
each district comprising the different sections of people that help to protect the rights of the people. Mohammad Muklesur Rahman
Sarkar, ADM and ADC (General) opined that mass awareness campaign is necessary at all levels.
At the beginning, Md. Zahid Hossain, Expert (Monitoring and Investigation) gave a power point presentation on National Human Rights
Commission and Capacity Development Project of UNDP Bangladesh. Amongst others, Assistant Commissioners, Officer in Charge of
Police, Upazilla Nirbahi Officers, Deputy Civil Surgeon, Prosecutors, Women and Children Officers and Lawyers of different Upazilla of
Sirajganj attended the seminar.
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Sunday, September 30, 2012
After Ramu, temples attacked in Patia
Chittagong, Sep 30 (bdnews24.com)— Hours after rampaging through a Buddhist village in Cox's Bazaar's Ramu Upazila in the early
Hours, religious fanatics on Sunday launched attacks on Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries in Patia at noon.
"The attacks took place between noon and 1:30pm," Acting Officer-in-Charge of the Patia Police Station Aminur Rashid told bdnews24.
The police officer said the fanatics had carried out the attacks alleging defamation of Prophet Mohammad.
He said two Hindu temples and two Buddhist viharas were damaged in the attacks.
According to the accounts of local journalists, several hundred fanatics took out a procession and launched attacks on the Lakhara
Abhoy Buddhist Viahar at around noon and set it on fire.
They also attacked the Kolagaon Rotnangkur Buddhist Vihara, Kolagaon Nobarun Sangha Durga Mandir (temple) and the Matri Mandir at
Jele Para, they said.
The attackers reportedly smashed an ancient Buddhist statue at the Rotnangkur Buddhist Vihara and set fire to a statue of Goddess
Durga at the Nobarun Sangha Mandir. The fanatics also set fire to various goods in the temples, according to the newsmen.
The OC said the situation was calm. "Additional police forces and members of the RAB have been deployed at the scene to avert further
tension," he added.
Meanwhile, tension is running high among the locals following the attacks. Top administrators and local MP Shamsul Hoque Chowdhury
were present at the spot.
Earlier on Sunday, a mob torched and vandalised a Buddhist village in Cox's Bazaar's Ramu Upazila in one of the worst religious attacks
in Bangladesh which appeared to have been triggered by a Facebook posting allegedly defaming the Quran.
Seven Buddhist Viharas, around 30 houses and shops were torched in the attacks that started at 11:30am on Saturday lasted until around
4am on Sunday. More than a hundred houses and shops were also reportedly attacked, vandalised and ransacked.
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President since 12 February 2009
Transit country for illegal drugs produced in neighboring countries