Saturday, July 7, 2012

A call for urgent intervention for the protection of Human Rights Defenders in Bangladesh

The Government of Bangladesh plans to immediately arrest members of human rights organisations and activists suspected of providing information for the Human Rights Watch Report “Bangladesh: Torture, Deaths of Jailed Mutiny Suspects”.The Asian Human Rights Commission has learned from reliable sources that there are discussions among some quarters in the Bangladesh government of arresting human rights activists and members of human rights organizations who are suspected to have supplied information for the Human Rights Watch Asia report on Bangladesh, and to charge them with treason, sedition and other criminal charges.

For further details of the Human Rights Watch Report, please see the following link:

Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs accused Human Rights Watch of conspiring against Bangladesh for publishing this report.

Reporting on human rights matters is the mandate of human rights organisations, as recognized by the United Nations, and this role has been repeatedly affirmed by all the authoritative organs of the United Nations. Human rights organisations are merely carrying out the duties of observers of the human rights covenants to which states have become parties. The protection of the rights of all persons requires respect of the rights guaranteed under these conventions. Under article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), states are required to take legislative, judicial and administrative measures to ensure that people enjoy the rights guaranteed by these conventions.

We urge the government of Bangladesh not to take any action against anyone, any human rights organisation or human rights activists, for whatever contribution they may have made in pursuit of the above conventions.

We urge the United Nations and all governments to intervene on behalf of human rights defenders for their protection, and to take all measures to prevent arrest, detention, torture and fabrication of charges against human rights defenders. We urge human rights organizations throughout the world to make representations to the government of Bangladesh on behalf of all human rights organisations and activists, and request the government not to take any action against them.