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Human rights bodies fear intimidation

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09th-Jan-2017       
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Sagar Biswas :
The rights organizations are now playing a deaf and dumb role even though incidents of human rights violation have been increasing alarmingly in the recent days.
There are widespread allegations that the rights bodies seldom focus on specific violation of human rights and speak academically on human rights, like teachers. These bodies depend on courts for any relief but they do not say anything why the judiciary is becoming weak.
The main grievance against these human rights bodies is that they are not committed to protect human rights; they also lack of knowledge how to protect human rights.
In fact, the human rights situation in Bangladesh is downgraded in comparison to other South Asian nations.
In the latest incident, plain-clothed policemen picked up one Abu Sayeed in Talbaria village of Sadar upazila in Jessore on Friday and demanded Tk 2 lakh from him. As he refused to give the money, the policemen started beating him at the police station. The photo of torture went viral on the social media, including facebook.
In such suffocating situation, the human rights bodies are passing busy time in preparing reports based on newspaper articles. Not only that, they do not utter a single word about the anti-people role of the state machineries and weak-state of judiciary.
Several human rights defenders, while talking to The New Nation on Sunday claimed that attacks on activists have created a state of fear which is obstructing the activities of rights groups.
Pointing out some reasons, Executive Director of Transparency International Dr Iftekharuzzaman said: "Firstly, the rights bodies are not showing interest fearing humiliation, and secondly due to prevailing atmosphere of intimidation."
"Especially, the total political field has been monopolized in absence of genuine opposition party in the country. The democratic system along with the good governance has been adversely affected as there is no formal accountability structure," he said.
Earlier, the global community started paying attention on human rights situation in Bangladesh since the law enforcement and intelligence agencies had started curbing down the opposition protests against the verdicts of the war crimes tribunal.
Against the backdrop of boycotting general election by the opposition, political violence had erupted in the country leaving several hundred people killed by the security forces over the recent years. Besides, the RAB was constantly accused by the rights groups of contract killings and abductions.
Referring the issue, Secretary of Sushashoner Jonno Nagarik[Sujan] Dr Badiul Alam Mazumdar said: "Violation of human rights -in any form-is not acceptable. At present, it is very difficult for any human rights body to issue statement against the violation of human rights."
"Apart from political violence, the country is also allegedly marred by abduction, contract killings, forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and detention without trial by the state-run organs. There is a fearful atmosphere everywhere. The human rights defenders are scared seeing these increasing incidents," he said.
It is to be noted that, several human rights activists had also been arrested when they tried to report the situation. Many of them had faced threat, persecution and public attack because of reporting on human rights violations. In some cases, the government showed reluctant mood to release foreign funds to them.
Former National Human Rights Commission chief Dr Mizanur Rahman said: "In any country, the human rights are the preconditions of good governance. The man doesn't have minimum dignity, if the human rights are violated. I think the main task of NHRC to pay attention to this issue.
"If innocent people are harassed, nabbed or killed in the name of curbing militancy and terrorism, it obviously will hamper human rights condition…In this regard; the NHRC has to play a vital role against such activities. It must register its protest. But unfortunately, we're not seeing such role of NHRC. It seems, they're not interested about the matter," Dr Mizan said.
Chairperson of Right to Information Forum Advocate Alena Khan, however, did not want to take the blame; rather she put the equivalent responsibility on the shoulder of media.

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