Next JS must review all ordinances
The next parliament must not grant blanket indemnity to the state of emergency provisions, declarations or decisions made during the 23-month tenure of the caretaker government, human rights body Odhikar said yesterday.
"The parliament must review all ordinances and other measures taken during the state of emergency and approve only those that fall within constitutional remits of the caretaker government," said Odhikar's Human Rights Report titled "23 months of the state of emergency in Bangladesh."
The organisation urged the political parties to renounce and shun violence during and after the elections.
The rights body maintains that the next parliament cannot use its electoral mandate to ratify the deeds of the present government as a vote for an elected parliament does not necessarily permit it to ratify or legitimise actions and measures of the current government.
"The elected parliament cannot and should not take up the responsibilities of this un-elected government," the report said.
The Election Commission (EC) must ensure equal treatment under law, in particular, all electoral laws, Odhikar said, expressing concern that the EC has not treated all political parties and aspiring candidates evenly as per the laws.
The EC has failed to meet the standards set by the law, the human rights organisation said.
It also called upon the government to ensure respect for human rights, in particular, those of women, religious and ethnic minorities and disadvantaged section of the society as the election day approaches.
The government must make sure that law enforcement personnel are fully aware of their human rights obligations and allow people to speak, assemble and vote without fear and hindrance. The security forces must not interfere in the election process or in anyway intimidate voters or influence the outcome of the election, Odhikar said.
Recalling with horror the past acts of election-related violence attributed to all major political parties, it urged the political parties to stay vigilant against any act of violence unleashed by their members and supporters.
The rights body said such killings are now perpetrated with greater recklessness and carried out with absolute impunity.
At least 319 people have been killed by legally constituted forces in the 23 months under the state of emergency, Odhikar said, adding: "Extra-judicial killings and custodial deaths are a national shame that should no longer be tolerated."
Regretting that Bangladesh celebrated 60th anniversary of adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) under a repressive state of emergency, it said the present government paid no attention to its obligations under the UDHR.