Human rights activists on Thursday expressed grave concern about the rights situation in the country and observed that the gradual collapse of state institutions has been threatening the democracy and the ideals of independence war.
They also said that the increasing trend of intolerance, attacks on religious and ethnic minorities, mob lynching, and lack of accountabilities of government institutions to people had worsened the situation.
They also vehemently opposed the move to construct a five-star hotel in Chimbuk Hill in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Rights activists came up with these observations at an online discussion organised by Human Rights Forum Bangladesh, a consortium of several NGOs namely Ain O Salish Kendra, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Nijera Kori and Transparency International Bangladesh.
Speakers criticised the role of different public commissions, including the National Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission.
TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said that the National Human Rights Commission had become a place for creating jobs for senior retired bureaucrats while the ACC set its own limitation of activities. He also said that ACC officials should not be partisans; rather they should be dedicated to people.
NHRC on September 22, 2019 appointed former senior secretary Nasima Begum as the chairman of NHRC.
Two other members of the commission are also retired secretaries. Manusher Jonno Foundation executive director Shaheen Anam said that the time had come to speak up against all odds. She said that impunity and the lack of accountability were major barriers to justice in the country.
She also called for forging unity among people to drum up a protest against the probable construction of a five-star hotel and tourist spot acquiring about 1,000 acres of land in Bandarban.
She also said that the Mros had already alleged that if the project was implemented, it would directly affect six villages and indirectly affect 70 to 116 villages around the location. Bangladesh Adivasi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong said that a law should be enacted to protect the rights of the minority as a similar law was adopted in India in 1992.
Association for Land Reform and Development executive director Shamsul Huda called for beginning a political consultation to tackle the increasing trend of intolerance, and cruelty in society.
He complained that political parties had played a mysterious role so that attacks on minorities continued one after another at Ramu, Brahanmanbaria and Chattogram Hill Tracts. Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir alleged that the number of religious minorities had gradually decreased due to a lack of security and uncertainty in the country.
She also condemned the recent attack on the houses of religious minorities in Cumilla and expressed her concern over the incident of lynching and violence.
Ain O Salis Kendra senior deputy director Nina Goswami alleged that the lack of accountabilities resulted the lynching in the country as 31 persons were killed in so-called lynching the first 10 months this year.
The ASK stated in the programme that 886 individuals were killed in lynching in the last 10 years, and called for a complete investigation into the killing and burning of Abu Yunus Md Shahidunnabi Jewel at Burimari in Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat on October 29.
Tajul Islam, advocacy and capacity building adviser of BLAST, said the implementation of the law apparently looked very selective in nature.
HRFB coordinator Tamanna Hoq Riti placed 17 recommendations to improve the rights situation and the persecution of minorities showing excuses of attacks on religious sentiment. ASK’s newly appointed executive director Golam Monowar Kamal and Steps Towards Development executive director Ranjan Karmakar, among others, spoke at the programme.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics