12:00 AM, November 16, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 16, 2012

HR Situation

Rights bodies concerned

Blame govt failure; say 462 killed in 'shootout', 156 victims of 'forced disappearance' in last 4 years

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Staff Correspondent

The government had not made any progress in improving the country's human rights situation during its tenure over the last four years, observed Human Rights Forum (HRF), a coalition of 19 rights and development organisations.
The HRF observation came at a briefing in Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday, during the unveiling of its report on the country's human rights situation.
At the briefing, HRF-Bangladesh President Sultana Kamal said “state terrorism” was going on in the country. It is because a total of 156 people had been forced-disappeared while 462 were killed in the name of crossfire between 2009 and 2012.
She said people were suffering from a sense of insecurity, as law enforcement agencies in many cases had been involved in forced disappearance and extrajudicial killing, which were threats to the country's democracy and rule of law.
People's confidence in law enforcement agencies and the judiciary was decreasing owing to culture of impunity, she added.
Placing the report, Zakir Hossain, chief executive of
Citizens' Initiative, said the government had not implemented any of the 43 recommendations it had promised to do in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) meeting in 2008.
The HRF prepared its report based on the observations and reports of its member organisations and in consultation with different stakeholders including the government.
The forum has submitted its report to the UNHCR last month which will be discussed in the UNHCR meeting in Geneva in May next year. In that meeting, the government will have to reply on the human rights situation of the country and the promises it made before the UNHCR four years ago.
Meanwhile, the government and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have also sent the UNHCR separate reports on the issue.
“In the 2008 UNHCR meeting, Bangladesh government promised to show zero tolerance to extrajudicial killing and to any kind of political repression. But it did not keep the promises,” said Sultana Kamal.
The HRF in its report expressed concern over the attacks on the opposition political parties, labour rights activists, and the minorities and dalits.
Replying to a query, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh Iftekharuzzaman said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the NHRC had to work under the government's political and administrative pressure.
He said, “The recent pace in the ACC activities came due to the international and donor countries' pressure over the corruption in Padma bridge construction and the Hall-Mark scam.”
The HRF report, however, said the government had made some progress in ensuring people's economic and social rights, women's rights and the trial of war criminals.

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