Odhikar – Human Rights Monitoring Report January 1 – 31, 2015

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Key concerns:

  • Heightened political violence one year after ‘elections’
  • Deliberate shooting after arrest and extrajudicial killings
  • Torture and degrading treatment in custody
  • Allegations of enforced disappearance
  • Mass arrests and the condition in prisons
  • Hindrance to freedom of expression and the media
  • Clashes between Pahari Chhatra Parishad and Chhatra League in Rangamati
  • Violation of minority rights
  • Human rights violation by BSF along the border
  • Public lynching continues
  • Violence against women
  • Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 (Amended 2009 and 2013) still exists
  • The Anti Corruption Commission Odhikar update

Odhikar believes that ‘democracy’ is a form of the State and presupposes that freedom and human rights are its foundations. Democracy is not merely a process of electing a ruler. Democracy is the result of the peoples’ struggle for inalienable rights, which become the fundamental premise to constitute the State. Therefore, the individual freedoms and democratic aspirations of the citizens – and consequently, peoples’ collective rights and responsibilities – must be the foundational principles of the State.

The State’s failure to recognise this basis of democracy at the founding moment is a continuing curse that people in Bangladesh are forced to carry. A State cannot be ‘democratic’ if the people do not realise and participate as ‘citizens’ in all sectors of the functioning of the state. The democratic legitimacy of the State is directly related to its willingness, commitment and capacity to ensure human rights, dignity and integrity of citizens. If the state does not ensure full participation in the decision making process at all levels – from the lowest level of the administration to the highest level – it cannot be called a ‘democratic’ state. Citizens become of their rights and responsibilities through participation and decision making processes and the awareness about the rights of others and collective benefits and responsibilities can be ensured and implemented through this process as well. There is no alternative. The Parliament, Judiciary and Executive cannot and should not, have any power to abrogate fundamental civil and political rights through any legislation, Judicial verdict or Executive order, as they are the foundational principles of the State and inviolable.

A state cannot prove its justification to citizens other than ensuring the right to life, environment and livelihood. Odhikar, being an organisation of human rights defenders in Bangladesh, has been struggling to ensure internationally recognised civil and political rights of citizens. Odhikar stands against all forms of human rights violations; participates and remains directly involved in the human rights movement in Bangladesh. The dimension of constituting a democratic state has been achieved through historical movements and the universality of these civil and political rights have been established worldwide through various international declarations, conventions and treaties.

Thus Odhikar does not believe that the human rights movement merely endeavours to protect the ‘individual’ from violations perpetrated by the state; rather it believes the movement to establish the rights and dignity of every individual is part of the struggle to constitute Bangladesh as a democratic state. As part of its mission, Odhikar monitors the human rights situation in order to promote and protect civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Bangladeshi citizens and to report violations and defend the victims. In line with this campaign, Odhikar prepares and releases human rights status reports every month. The Organisation has released the human rights monitoring report for January 2015, despite facing persecution and continuous harassment and threats to its existence since August 10, 2013.

Read the full detailed report HERE.

Source: Odhikar