The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should work on sensitive issues such as extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, said a Dhaka University teacher yesterday.
Associate Prof Saber Ahmed Chowdhury, who teaches peace and conflict studies at DU, was delivering a solo lecture on “Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission: Its Effectiveness as a Democracy-protecting Institution”.
Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Foundation arranged the lecture at DU's RC Majumdar auditorium as part of a series of lectures on unpublished PhD thesis.
“If democratic institutions cannot function properly, it will create obstacles for overall democratic practice in the long run,” Saber said during his hour-long lecture.
He alleged that lack of coordination among commission members and officials also raised questions about its sincerity to ensure people's rights. Although the commission has passed over a decade of journey, it is yet to be a trustworthy institution to the countrymen, he further alleged.
Due to the existing law, the commission is helpless to the government's bureaucratic system. It can play the role of a supervisor but it is not empowered to resolve an issue.
Whether anyone will get remedy over rights violation, at times, depends on the will of the institution in question, he added.
Institutional development of the commission is a prerequisite to institutionalise the country's culture of human rights activism, he said. He stressed the need for incorporating people's participation in the process and political will.
Chairing the programme, eminent jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik said reports published by the commission could be discussed at the national parliament, which would help strengthening its role.
Director General of Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Foundation Prof Ahrar Ahmad welcomed the audience.