Bangladesh is urged to initiate reforms for rescuing human rights from the arbitrariness and the State of Emergency

December 10, 2008

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

The AHRC is publishing its 2008 annual human rights report on Bangladesh.

Download a pre-publication version of the report

Today being December 10, it is the International Human Rights Day. It is also the 60th anniversary the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations in 1948.

The day transmits a message to the stakeholders to review the practical status of implementation of people’s human rights from mere paperwork to actual reality.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has prepared its report on the situation of human rights in Bangladesh during the year 2008 based on documentation of human rights abuses. The state of human rights has exposed a scenario of massive violations under the state of emergency. The nation has been found to be a militarised state during this year. The rule of law has been seriously undermined and numerous incidents of illegal arrest, arbitrary detention and authoritarian persecution crippled public life in the country. People’s rights have been seriously abused at the hands of the State’s actors that allow impunity to the perpetrators.

International Human Rights Day can be another opportunity for the authorities to change their practice of abuse from this day on. Human Rights Day should not merely be remembered by the high officials of the State to issue one or two statements and continue similar or further abuses in the coming days. This day should not an only opportunity for the rights groups to share their sufferings on the journey of reinstating rights and the struggle throughout the year and previous decades.

The AHRC is aware that a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recently been set up by the current military-controlled emergency regime, which is accused of massive crackdown against the ordinary people of the country. It is hoped and expected that the NHRC will not be a useless body for validating the abuses or observe the problems in silence.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the nation to initiate a united movement for the sake of people’s human rights. The members of the civil society and human rights groups should strengthen their struggle and debate for reforms in the country’s criminal justice delivery system. It is only a functioning system that can establish the rights of the citizens. The authorities are urged to free the nation from the illegal and unconstitutional state of emergency without delay.

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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