Monday, February 21, 2011


S. M. Anwar Hossain; Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published the report named MID-TERM ASSESSMENT AND REPORT ON THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW:BANGLADESH. And UNHCR published it in its website. The Human Rights Council of United Nations published this report as an Universal Periodic Review.
The Universal Periodic Review is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council (HRC), which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed. The UPR is one of the key elements of the new Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this new mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.

For my guest readers i want to High light some parts of this report. For more details you can click here.

Bangladesh has so far failed to implement the promises made before the international community in the Human Rights Council, on key human rights issues. The elected government of Bangladesh, within weeks of coming to office in first week of January 2009, sent a high profile delegation, headed by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr. Dipu Moni to Geneva to the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Bangladesh at UN Human Rights Council. Her presence was noted by other government representatives, as Bangladesh had just successfully emerged out of two-years of quasi-military rule under a so-called ‘Caretaker Government’. Expectations at that time were high as the Awami League made lofty promises during the general election to the people, to change the course of governance and it had won unprecedented and overwhelming seats in the National Parliament. Despite this, human rights violations continue unabated in Bangladesh – including extrajudicial deaths, torture and cruel treatment in law enforcement custody, and acts of violence perpetrated on women and children. Reasons for such continuance include, among others, lack of political will, denial by the Government authorities, corruption and impunity. This mid-term assessment report highlights some of these issues of human rights violations.

• Extrajudicial Killing
The Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni made commitments of ‘zero tolerance’ regarding extrajudicial killings at the Universal Periodic Review Session (UPR) in Geneva in February 2009 and in the UN Human Rights Council on March 01, 2010 and also when Bangladesh got elected for a 2nd term to the UN Human Rights Council on May 12, 2009. In the UPR session on February 03, 2009, Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni said that the government would show “zero tolerance” to extra-judicial killing or torture and death in custody. She stated "We do not condone any such incident and will bring the responsible officials to justice." However, extrajudicial killings continued in the last 2 years of this government. Members of the law enforcement agencies – the police, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the like - continued to kill so-called ‘criminal suspects’ and others outside the purview of the judicial process. Such deaths are reported in the papers as deaths due to ‘crossfire’ or ‘encounter’ – but Odhikar fact finding reports and on-site investigations can prove otherwise10. As per Odhikar’s statistics between February 04, 2009 to February 03, 2011, 279 accounts of extrajudicial killings took place. Independent and impartial investigation and effective measures were not taken to prosecute persons found responsible for such deaths. This speaks volumes against the Government’s declaration of ‘Zero Tolerance’.

• Freedom of Media
In the Human Rights Council, during its bid for re-election on May 2009, the Bangladesh Government stated that “It has one of the most independent print and electronic media in the world”. During the UPR session the Government also stated that Bangladesh was committed to ensuring freedom of the media and protection of journalists19. However, in practice, the government has shown intolerance towards the dissenting media – evident by its banning of Channel 1 ,widely known as Opposition’s TV channel; the closing down of the Bangla language Daily Amar Desh and the filing of several cases against its acting Editor – including one under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2009; attempting to shut down a photo exhibition on ‘crossfire’; closing down Facebook and censoring YouTube; and the indiscriminate use of the law of defamation – all of which occurred during this reporting period. Such gags on the freedoms of thought, association and speech damage the growth of democracy and violate the Government’s pledges and commitment in the United Nations. Since 04 February 2009 to 03 February 2011, 7 journalists were killed, 199 were injured, 88 assaulted, 124 journalists were threatened and 3 were abducted.

I give you an example:

A district named Jessore, situated in the south western part of Bangladesh. A local newspaper name "Loksomaz" is being published from there. A journalist named Monirul Islam Moni works for the daily Loksomaz was beaten with a hammer because of his writings against the government. Government supported armed cadres of Bangladesh Awami League broken his fingers and hand so that he cannot write anymore. They beat him in front of his child... In one stage, the child went to the cadres and hold their hammer so that they cannot beat his father... Nothing stopped them! he was beaten severely and the Awami League supported armed cadres smashed his fingers! Broke his hand with the hammer! The report were published in different media, both local and National. None of the above mentioned organizations that promotes Freedom of Expression came up and stand by him! Monirul Islam Moni had to hospitalized with his broken fingers and hand. He 
cannot write anymore!


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