National Human Rights Commission will launch an online complaint management system to help people in remote areas to lodge their grievances without any hassle, commission chairperson Nasima Begum said yesterday.
“People can easily lodge complaints online from anywhere [once the system is introduced],” she said at a dialogue with civil society members and human rights defenders, organised by Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) at The Daily Star centre.
Now, people of different districts have to travel to the commission office to file complaints. There are no district level commission offices except in Rangamati, Khulna, Gopalganj and Cox’s Bazar.
The chairperson said people wonder about complaints that are lodged but they never get to know the outcome. This system will ease that process.
Nasima, a former senior secretary, said it is her first participation in a roundtable since she joined the office on September 22.
“Many other organisations invited me before but I did not agree to participate, because what would I say if I do not know anything. I needed more preparation, at least to understand the law,” she said.
The chairperson, however, said she will try her level best to strengthen the commission.
In the programme, several human rights defenders from different districts urged the commission to expand its activities at the rural level, work more effectively for the protection of victims and human rights activists, and launch a massive campaign to ensure easy access to the commission.
Some of the speakers raised question about the process of appointment of the commission’s chairperson and its members.
Before the commission chairperson’s arrival at the programme, Tamanna Hoq Riti, assistant coordinator (media and international advocacy) of ASK, said “It is a matter of concern and frustration that we are seeing bureaucrats being prioritised during appointment at the commission.”
“People who have direct experience of working with human rights are hardly appointed as chairperson or member,” she alleged.
Riti mentioned that around 347 people were killed in so-called shootouts between January and October this year while seven others were victims of forced disappearance.
At least 1,253 women and children were subjected to rape and 62 of them were killed later. ASK Executive Director Sheepa Hafiza highlighted the need for such dialogue with grassroots-level rights activists, saying, “We see very little communication of the commission at the grassroots level.”