Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary to rights organisation Odhikar, has won 2014 International Bar Association (IBA) Human Rights Award for his contribution in protecting human rights in Bangladesh.
A Supreme Court lawyer, Adilur, received the award from IBA President Michael Reynolds at the Rule of Law Symposium held at the conclusion of the week-long IBA Annual Conference in Tokyo, Japan on Friday, according to a press release of AHRC Press Centre.
Throughout his legal career, Adilur has campaigned tirelessly against torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and violence against women and minority communities.
On 10 October in 1994, he founded the human rights organisation Odhikar, which has undertaken extensive fact-finding and reporting of human rights violations in Bangladesh.
During the presentation of the award, Reynolds said, “Let us be reminded that lawyers play a vital role in promoting justice, human rights and upholding the rule of law, both at home and abroad. May Mr Khan's courage, determination and resilience be an inspiration to lawyers everywhere.”
In his acceptance speech, Adilur told the 200 delegates gathered at the Symposium, 'The Rule of Law is under serious threat in my country. Justice for all the ongoing gross human rights violations is inaccessible for victims and their families. Their right to access to complaint mechanisms is denied, regardless of whatever is written in the laws or the Constitution of the country”.
Repressive laws are in force and the independence of the judiciary is under attack in a spree of politicisation of institutions of the state, he said.
“In Bangladesh now, every person is in fear of his or her life. The politicians, lawyers, members of civil society, youth and the people of Bangladesh know well that the prevalent fear embodied by state-orchestrated abuses of fundamental rights, in no way comply with democracy or rule of law […]. not only encourages me to continue my work, but is also a catalyst and a boost of energy and renewed strength to the grass roots human rights defenders associated with Odhikar, who are lawyers, journalists, social workers, teachers and students,” he added.
The IBA Human Rights Award, sponsored by LexisNexis, recognises personal endeavour in the field of law which makes an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights and the rule of law.