Tuesday, June 23, 2009

URGENT APPEAL: Urge to Investigate Case of Intimidations to Human Rights Defenders and Provide Protection Immediately

Mr. Nur Mohammad Inspector General of Police Bangladesh Police Police Headquarters' Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH 23 June 2009 Dear Mr. Nur Mohammad, Urge to Investigate Case of Intimidations to Human Rights Defenders and Provide Protection Immediately The Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples (ACPP), a regional human rights organization based in Hong Kong, has been informed by an organization in Bangladesh that Mr. Shahanur Islam is under threat again. We are writing to express our concern over the personal security of Mr. Islam. Mr. Shahanur Islam, Program Manager of Legal and Human Rights Affairs at Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and affiliated with other human rights organizations, has been threatened by phone calls over the years. The latest incident of intimidation occurred on 15-16 June. According to information received, Mr. Islam received a phone call from 01713702555 and 01715122888 thrice within an hour, at 11:57pm and 11:58pm on 15 June; and at 12:00am on 16 June respectively. The caller claimed himself Mr. Babu from Kumar Para in Rajshahi district. Throughout the conversation, the caller used foul language which carried the message of sexual harassment towards Mr. Islam’s female members of his family. In addition, the caller intimidated Mr. Islam that he could attack him at any time by saying, “be cautious to do your activity and do not try to involve every sector of society, otherwise you will suffer more and more.” And, “I have total record of your daily activities as where are you go? What do you do, etc? So, it is so easy for me to locate and reach you any time any moment as my desire”. Mr. Islam is a human rights lawyer and has been active in documenting and investigating cases of human rights violations. And the caller specifically warned Mr. Islam to halt his works for social sector. Apparently, the intimidation is a case targeting human rights defender. Considering the risk that Mr. Islam is exposed to, we sincerely urge the Bangladeshi government to: • provide protection and take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Islam and his family; • carry out prompt, full and effective investigation for the threatening cases that Mr. Islam filed to the police; and • denounce in the public that all kinds of intimidation to human rights defenders cannot be tolerated. Apart from the case of Mr. Islam, our Center is aware of human rights defenders in Bangladesh are frequently encountered the problem of death threats for their activism. We believe that police is at the frontline of law enforcement whenever lives and security of citizens are in danger. We urge your good office to facilitate a conducive environment for human rights defenders for the betterment of the society. We would appreciate if you can keep us updated if there is new development in the case of Mr. Islam in the near future. Thank you for your attention and we look forward to your favourable response to this issue. Yours faithfully, Irene Koo Human Rights Section Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples 1/F, 52 Princess Margaret Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2714 5123 Fax: (852) 2712 0152 E-mail: hotline@acpp.org Web: www.acpp.org Cc.: Consul General, Consulate General of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Hong Kong
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