Wednesday, October 20, 2010

URGENT APPEAL: Bangladesh: Politically motivated attack on indigenous people with the intention of land grabbing, looting valuable properties, destroying shelter.



Dear Friends,


Between the 9th-11th of October 2010, BIHR along with GHRD investigated the attack against 46 indigenous families who were attacked by an armed group claiming to be supported by the ruling party Awami League on the 23rd of September, 2010 at Naogaon District. The perpetrators vandalized and destroyed houses, looted valuables and physically assaulted five men and a four-year old child. In total 130-135 people were victimized by the attacks.



The Hague
TheNetherlands                                                                                                                      20/10/2010



URGENT APPEAL: Bangladesh: Politically motivated attack on indigenous people with the intention of land grabbing, looting valuable properties, destroying shelter.

                                                                                     
ISSUES:  Minorities, Right to personal integrity, Right to property, Right to shelter, Child rights, police negligence


Dear Friends,


Between the 9th-11th of October 2010, BIHR along with GHRD investigated the attack against 46 indigenous families who were attacked by an armed group claiming to be supported by the ruling party Awami League on the 23rd of September, 2010 at Naogaon District. The perpetrators vandalized and destroyed houses, looted valuables and physically assaulted five men and a four-year old child. In total 130-135 people were victimized by the attacks.

Case Details
On September 23, 2010 46 indigenous families were attacked by an armed group (of 40-50 members) claiming to be supported by the ruling party Awami League, with the intention to grab the victims’s land at Nakhoil Boarambari village in Naogaon district. The attackers - equipped with sticks, spears and machetes - attacked the houses of the families and physically assaulted them, leaving five men injured. They also dragged a four-year-old child by his legs and circled him around over their head, then threw him on the ground. The child was taken to hospital in Niamatpur and is now in a stable condition.  
The perpetrators also looted valuable properties and cash amounting to BDT 15,000.00. When the police was informed, they came to the spot, however, they refused to arrest any perpetrators. Moreover, according to witness statements, the police assisted the attackers to run away. Later, the victims asked the Assistant Police Superintendent for help, who came to the spot and arrested two perpetrators who are now in jail custody. 
The attackers are continuously threatening the indigenous community to leave their land. Although the police was informed about this, no actions have yet been taken to ensure the community’s protection. It should be highlighted that this attack was not an isolated one as the same community was also attacked on the 12th of July, 2010. As the attackers failed to grab their land then, they attacked the community again on 23rd September, 2010.
A First Information Report has been lodged on the 23rd of September 2010 at the Niamatpur Police Station based on charges such as criminal trespass (Penal Code section 447), voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means (Penal Code section 324), and attempt to murder (Penal Code section 307).
On the 6th of October, 2010 six perpetrators appeared voluntarily before court and got bail.

BIHR together with GHRD investigated the matter between the 9th -11th of October, 2010 by visiting the spot, taking statements of the victims, visiting Niamatpur Police Station and contacting  the local police. BIHR also communicated with the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Naogaon Distrcit who both assured BIHR’s observer that no such violation will happen in the future. BIHR along with GHRD will also organize a press conference on this matter next week.

Suggested Action:

GHRD condemns this attack against the indigenous community and urges the authorities to take all necessary steps to immediately investigate the incident and this serious allegation of police negligence.
It is particularly worrying that although the victims asked for police assistance, once at the spot, the police refused to arrest any perpetrators. Moreover, according to the victims, the police assisted the perpetrators to run away. The perpetrators must be brought to justice and adequate compensation should be arranged for the families.
Specifically, we urge upon the authorities:
1.      To ensure that looted belongings are recovered from the possession of the perpetrators;
2.      To ensure the safety of the indigenous community in order to avoid further attacks;
3.      To ensure an impartial investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice and prevent impunity and submit the charge sheet proving these incidents of human rights violations as soon as possible after completing the investigation.
4.      To ensure exemplary punishment of the perpetrators who were directly or indirectly involved in these violations;
5.      To provide adequate financial compensation to the victims as well as guarantee the physical and psychological integrity with full rehabilitation;
6.      To provide human rights education and training both to the public and government authorities in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.
7.      To ratify the  ILO convention 161 as well as take necessary step to hand over the ownership of their lands;

Additional information regarding the case will be submitted upon request.
In order to help, please print the following sample letter and send it to the relevant authorities found below.

Sample letter:

Dear _______,
I would like to express my concern on the news I received from Global Human Rights Defence who are investigating the attack against 46 indigenous families in Naogaon district which took place on the 23rd September, 2010. 

According to the information I received from GHRD the indigenous families were attacked by an armed group (of 40-50 members) claiming to be supported by the ruling party Awami League, with the intention to grab the victims’s land at Nakhoil Boarambari village in Naogaon district. The attackers - equipped with sticks, spears and machetes - attacked the houses of the families and physically assaulted them, leaving five men injured. I was also shocked when I came to know that the attackers dragged a four-year-old child by his legs and circled him around over their head, then threw him on the ground. The child was taken to hospital in Niamatpur and is now in a stable condition.  

I was also informed that the perpetrators looted valuable properties and cash amounting to BDT 15,000.00. When the police was informed, they came to the spot, however, they refused to arrest any perpetrators. Moreover, according to witness statements, the police assisted the attackers to run away. Later, the victims asked the Assistant Police Superintendent for help, who came to the spot and arrested two perpetrators who are now in jail custody.
According to the information I received from GHRD the attackers are continuously threatening the indigenous community to leave their land. Although the police was informed about this, no actions have yet been taken to ensure the community’s protection.
I was informed that a First Information Report has been lodged on the 23rd of September 2010 at the Niamatpur Police Station based on charges such as criminal trespass (Penal Code section 447), voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means (Penal Code section 324), and attempt to murder (Penal Code section 307).On the 6th of October, 2010 six perpetrators appeared voluntarily before court and got bail.

According to the information I received from GHRD, BIHR together with GHRD investigated the matter between the 9th -11th of October, 2010 by visiting the spot, taking statements of the victims, visiting Niamatpur Police Station and contacting  the local police. BIHR also communicated with the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Naogaon Distrcit who both assured BIHR’s observer that no such violation will happen in the future. BIHR along with GHRD will also organize a press conference on this matter next week.

I request the authorities to make sure that the local indigenous community and their belongings are protected and to ensure an impartial investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice and prevent impunity. I also demand the exemplary punishment of the perpetrators who were directly or indirectly involved in this violation of human rights.

I trust that You will take immediate action in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Global Human Rights Defence
Urgent Appeals Desk
Laan van Meerdervoort 70
2517 AN The Hague
The Netherlands
+31 (0)0703456975
+31(0)0703926575


In order to help, please write to the authorities listed below: 


1. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
  
2. Mr. Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 5058
Tel: +880 2 956 2792

3. Barrister Shafique Ahmed
Minister
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7160627
Fax: +880 2 7168557

4. Ms. Sahara Khatun MP
Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7169069
Fax: +880 2 7160405, 880 2 7164788

5. Mr. Mahbubey Alam
Attorney General of Bangladesh
Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Annex Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 1568
Tel: +880 2 956 2868

6. Mr. Nur Mohammad
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677
E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd

Please send us a copy of any action that has been taken distributing our message, and a copy of any responses received.

Thank you.

This message has been sent by GHRD* to local authorities and International Organisations in order to spread the message, increase awareness, and encourage action be taken to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.



Global Human Rights Defence  
Urgent Appeals Desk
Laan van Meerdervoort 70
2517 AN The Hague
The Netherlands
+31(0)070 3456975
+31(0)703926575
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