Thursday, April 1, 2010

HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT: Bangladesh: Monthly Human Rights Report (March 2010)

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Bangladesh: Monthly Human Rights Report (March 2010)

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


Bangladesh made history this month when becoming the first South Asian country to ratify the ICC Rome Statute (International Criminal Court) on the 23rd of March. GHRD welcomes this important step towards promoting international justice. However, during the Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Election held on the 24th and 25th of March none of the four minority candidates, one of them being GHRD’s local observer Mr. Rabindra Ghosh, was selected. There were three panels from different political affiliations including Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Several incidents of religious attacks that occurred during the month bore witness to the rising tension between the different religious groups in Bangladesh.

GHRD’s Partners in South Asia Celebrated International Women’s Day

Find a full report on International Women’s Day in Bangladesh on our website

Breaking News!

Bangladesh Ratifies the Rome Statute of the ICC

The Bangladesh government ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on the 23rd of March. Bangladesh is the first country in the South Asian region to join the ICC and thus makes an important step in the path to end impunity of international crime. Many civil organisations in Bangladesh had been promoting the ICC and lobbying for the ratification for over 10 years. Now, Bangladesh is the 111th state to ratify the ICC, the world's only independent, permanent court with the jurisdiction to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The ratification can be seen as an important signal indicating that the Bangladesh Government is serious about ending impunity and guaranteeing human rights. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission stated: “The European Union has long supported the ratification by Bangladesh of the Rome Statute and I am convinced that Bangladesh will make a highly valuable contribution to the Court's work”.

The Coalition for the ICC, 24th of March 2010
Expatica, 24th of March 2010
Odhikar, 22nd of March 2010
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, 26th of March 2010

Fact Finding and Legal Assistance

16 year old Hindu girl gang raped by at least 8 Muslim men
19th of March, Patuakhali district

A 16 year old Hindu girl was raped by at least 8 Muslim men when she and her brother were on their way to a relative. The girl and her brother were stopped by the perpetrators who assaulted the victim’s brother and looted their belongings. The girl was taken away about 10 to15 kilometres from the Boufol police station where she was gang raped. The girl filed a complaint at the Boufol Police Station on the 20th of March and two of the accused have been arrested so far. GHRD has been in contact with the local police. The Officer in Charge of the Boufol police station communicated that the girl had been given medical treatment and that they are doing everything they can to bring the remaining accused to justice.

The Daily Amader Somoy, 21st of March 2010
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), 22nd of March 2010


Recent incidents of religiously motivated attacks against Hindus

GHRD notes with concern that religiously motivated violence and intolerance against Hindus continues in Bangladesh. GHRD is currently investigating three incidents of recent attacks against Hindu temples occurring during the last two weeks. On the 9th of March a group of unidentified perpetrators set fire to a hundred year old Hindu temple and statues of deities were destroyed in the district of Sylhet. It is suspected that local Muslim landgrabbers set fire to the temple to create panic and encourage members of the Hindu community to leave the area.
The second incident occurred on the 21st of March in a Hindu village at Dhanua, of the Chandpur district. It is reported that the love affair between a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl living in the same locality led furious Muslim inhabitants of that locality to attack the Hindu village. A temple was destroyed and religious images and belongings were also looted. Some of the Hindus also had their houses destroyed and ten people were assaulted. A complaint was filed on the 23rd of March but so far only two perpetrators have been arrested. The Officer in Charge of the Faridganj Police Station claimed that the temple was not destroyed but only some religious deities.
The third incident took place at Kaliazuri Upazila Sadar of Netrakona district and was reported in the Daily Jugantor on the 24th of March. A member of the ruling party Awami League and his brother forcefully occupied the lands were the Hindu Kali temple was located and started constructing multi-storeyed buildings there. The local police informed GHRD that they are going to take necessary action in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Daily Jugantor, 24th of March 2010
The Daily Samakal, 22nd of March 2010
The Daily Sabuj Sylhet, 10th of March 2010

Information on university gang rape is suppressed by teachers
6th of March, Dhaka

On the 6th of March a girl was gang raped on the premises of the Jangir Nagar University, were both the girl and the perpetrators are students. It was around 9 p.m. on the 6th of March when the girl was walked home by a student when he and his friends gang raped her. After the incident the girl was taken to the hospital. The girl had lost a lot of blood and the operation took about four hours. It is reported that teachers of the perpetrators are trying to protect them by telling journalists not to report the incident and by suppressing important information in this case. Also the Chairman of the department to which the perpetrators belong said that so far he had not received any allegations against the perpetrators. If he does the Academic Council will take action. Supposedly the girl is being denied shelter in her own village. Her stepbrother refuses to file complaint with the Academic Council against the perpetrators.

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), 17th of March 2010
16 year old abducted Hindu girl recovered with the help of GHRD Dhaka
28th of February, Joypurhat.

A 16 year old Hindu girl was abducted on the 28th of February by four perpetrators. Later that day the father of the girl lodge a complaint at the local police station. GHRD, who was informed about the abduction the same day of the incident, spoke to the local police and requested them to take action. This resulted in the arrest of three of the perpetrators and the recovery of the girl. According to the girl she was abducted with the intent of forced conversion to Islam. GHRD will continue to monitor the case.

Leaders belonging to Awami League forcefully occupied the house of a Hindu family
26th of February, Perojpur District

An Awami League leader together with around 40 to 50 perpetrators forcefully occupied the land of a Hindu man in the Motabair Municipality. A temple was also set on fire. The Hindu man filed a complaint at the Motbaria Police Station on the 27th of March but no action was taken to prevent the landgrabbers or to protect the man. He also filed another complaint, also on the 27th, concerning the continuous threats he received from the landgrabbers but yet again nothing was done. The Awami League leader claimed at a press conference that he did not occupy the land, but bought it on the 27th of January.
The police informed GHRD that a case had been registered against the accused. The Awami League leader also contacted GHRD to claim his innocence saying he obtained the land legally. However, he was unable to produce any documents stating this claim.

Urgent Appeals

Police inaction leaving a Hindu man killed [UA-BA-12.03.2010]

A hundred year old Hindu temple set on fire and valuables looted in Sylhet District [UA-BA-22.03.2010]

NGO and Media Reports

Five year old Hindu girl raped by a 15 year old Muslim boy 

Bangladesh PM urged for restoration of peace in CHT

Worldwide protest against the recent attacks in CHT

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,

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