Thursday, March 4, 2010

MONTHLY HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT: By GHRD(Feb 2010)




Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD)
Monthly Human Rights Report
Bangladesh, February 2010

 
The 8th of March 2010, marks the occasion of the International Women’s Day (IWD), which is celebrated worldwide. It was launched by the UN in 1913 as a means of promoting and protecting the equal rights of women globally. Incidents of violence against minority women, such as rape and abduction, were reported during February, in Bangladesh. In most of these cases the perpetrators were in a more powerful position than the victims as they were members of law enforcement agencies or political parties. Highly corrupt legal institutions is one of the main causes for the lack of a proper protection system for Bangladeshi citizens and women’s marginalised situation in Bangladesh, due to religious traditions, social injustice, thus making them more vulnerable. The widespread impunity in cases regarding violence against women encourages these continuous violations. There is still a high level of sexual harassment in Bangladesh, which is detailed in Odhikar’s month report. For example, there was an incident reported about a Dalit woman who was raped by a policeman.

Other incidents reported during February, include attacks against minorities. There was a massive attack in Chittagong Hill Tracts against Jumma villagers, by Bengali settlers and the military. Another attack against a Hindu community also occurred on 2nd February in the town of Bholar Sadar. Other reports included the government’s decision to cancel Odhikar’s project for the second time and an incident where a journalist was tortured by a few policemen.


GHRD’s Partners in South Asia Celebrate International Women’s Day
GHRD in collaboration with its partners in South Asia, have organised numerous events and activities to be celebrated on 8th March (International Women’s Day), and to strengthen the rights of women in Asia. A full report will be published within the next two weeks.

Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW)
BDMW will organise a human chain and a rally especially for women and children belonging to minority groups in Bangladesh. After the event a discussion meeting will be held.

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), and Naogaon Human Rights Development Association (NHRDA)BIHR, BRCT and NHRDA will celebrate IWD in Dhaka by organising a human chain followed by rallies in the morning. Cap & Gengi bearing messages of the day will be distributed among the participants. In the afternoon a street drama will be held under the main theme of the day, namely “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity” for both women and men.

Parittran
Parittran, who works on Dalit rights, will organise an event to raise awareness of violence against Dalit women in the southwest region of Bangladesh. This will be part of Parittran’s 15 day mass awareness campaign program.

Breaking News!
Massive attacks against Jumma villagers perpetrated by Bengali settlers and military forces
Chittagong Hill Tracts, 19th - 23rd February


Brutal attacks against Jumma villagers by the military forces and Bengali settlers were carried out in Baghaihat area in Rangamati, Bangladesh on 19-20 February 2010. It is reported that at least five Jumma villagers were killed and many were wounded in the attack. Around 200-300 Jumma houses including a Buddhist temple and a church were burnt to ashes. On the 20th the army imposed section 144 which prohibits assemblies of five or more persons to hold public meetings, and the carrying of firearms. Supposedly this was done to prevent Jumma villagers to arrange demonstrations. There were also reports that despite section 144 Bengali settlers were still carrying weapons and sticks. However, several protest meetings were held condemning the attacks on the 19-20 February. These protest resulted in another attack perpetrated by Bengali settlers, with the help of military forces, against Jumma people in Khagrachari town, on 23rd February. Reportedly, around 40 Jummas houses were burnt down and at least 7 people were injured. The government imposed a curfew in Khagrachari town which supposedly calmed the situation. The Home Minister said on the 23rd that the government would consider if needed to deploy more army in CHT. On the 28th February the Bangladeshi army changed its Khagrachari unit brigade commander and the Rangamati district's Baghaihat army zone's commanding officer due to the recent violence. The same day section 144 was also withdrawn by the authorities. Accrodingly, most Jumma villagers felt relived with the withdrawal of the section, but they still feel harassed by the Bengali settlers. So far, some 390 families have been listed as affected and they each received Tk 1,000 and 20 kilograms of rice as relief from the government. But as many of them lost their homes in the fires it will take a long time for them to get back to their normal lives.
Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), 21st, 22nd, 24th February, 2010 
European Union, 26th February 2010  
Jumma Peoples Network UK, 20th February, 2010
The Daily Star, 1st of March, 2010
The New Chief Justice of Bangladesh officially supports GHRD’s project for International Women’s Day



 



‘It is the responsibility of the State to safeguard the rights of every citizen, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, man and women in all sphere of national lives". (Mr. Justice Md. Fazlul Karim, Chief Justice of Bangladesh)

The Bangladesh Today, 11th February 2010

Fact Finding and Legal Assistance

Legal assistance provided to father of abducted Hindu girl

A 16 year old Hindu girl was kidnapped in December 2009, but police have failed to recover her or to arrest any of the alleged perpetrators. However, in January 2010, two of the alleged perpetrators surrendered themselves before the High Court, but were released on bail at the beginning of February. A few days later they demanded that the victim’s father pay them four million Taka, as a compensation for their legal costs for the case. He was also robbed of some gold ornaments and money. After this incident the father went to the police to file a complaint but they refused to help him. Instead, he contacted one of GHRD’s lawyers who advised him to file a complaint to the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate. As a result the case was recorded against the perpetrators. However, the police have arrested only one of the perpetrators thus far, and the girl has still not been recovered. GHRD continues to pursue this case.


Abduction of an 18 year old Hindu girl
17th January 2010, Tejgaon-Dhaka


An 18 year old Hindu girl was reportedly abducted on 17th January while she was on her way to college. On 19th January, the girl called her sister-in-law crying for help and said that she had been abducted and was detained in a room at an unknown location. On the same day the girl’s father received a call from an unidentified person who informed him that his daughter was under the custody of one of the perpetrators. He was also warned not to file any complaints. The father however, filed a complaint at the Tejagon Police Station which was recorded. On 10th February one of the perpetrators surrendered before the High Court with the girl. The perpetrator was arrested and the girl was taken to give her statements. However, on 11th February the perpetrator was granted bail by the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate. The girl was handed over to her father. According to the victim and her family she was abducted with the intent of forced conversion to Islam. GHRD are still monitoring this case and have taken international urgent action, including submitting an urgent appeal to regional NGOs and its local partners, as well as to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.

A 15 year old indigenous girl gang raped by Bengali leaders
26th February 2010, Sunamgong District


A 15 year old girl was abducted outside her home by five local Bengali leaders at Bandra Village. The girl was taken to a nearby river where she was repeatedly raped until she became unconscious. She was found later that evening. On the 27th February the girl’s family tried to lodge a complaint against the perpetrators at Moddhonagar Police Station, but the officer in charge refused to file it. However, they later managed to file a complaint with the help of a Hazong community leader. A case was then registered against the five perpetrators.
Until today, none of the perpetrators have been arrested and the girl and her family are now being threatened to withdraw the case by a local influential Bengali community leader. The local officer in charge told the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) that there was no incident regarding the rape of a Hazong girl since no case had been filed under his jurisdiction. He also refused to give anymore information regarding the incident. GHRD has submitted an urgent appeal regarding this case.

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), 1st March 2010

Local Observers and Partners
GHRD Dhaka conducts fact finding investigations and provides legal assistance to minority victims of human rights violations in Bangladesh. In addition GHRD Dhaka, collaborates with Parittran (Dalit Rights), Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims and Bangladesh Minority Watch.
GHRD Dhaka, Observer Advocate Rabindra Ghosh 3/2 Purana Paltan – Purana Paltan P.S, Dhaka-1000 Phone nr : + 0711172468

Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) 12, K.M. Das Lane- Tikatully- Bholagiri Trust- Sutrapur PS, Dhaka.Telephone: 0088-01711172468, bdmw.org.

 

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