Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bangladesh: Monthly Human Rights Report (October 2010)

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In October GHRD together with Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) investigated the case of a 15-year old Bangladeshi girl who – after being lured away with false promises by her tutor – was raped and beaten for almost a week. She was also subjected to village arbitration after the locality came to know about her love relationship with her tutor. In this month GHRD also investigated the attack against a Hindu Temple located in Chittagong District. 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 at Naogaon District. In total 130-135 people were victimized in the Naogaon attacks.





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


Introduction

On 10 October 2010 an a opinion-sharing meeting on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT was held in Rangamati chaired by the Land Minister where it has been pointed out that no progress has yet been made in the implementation of the Accord.

In October GHRD together with Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) investigated the case of a 15-year old Bangladeshi girl who – after being lured away with false promises by her tutor – was raped and beaten for almost a week. She was also subjected to village arbitration after the locality came to know about her love relationship with her tutor. In this month GHRD also investigated the attack against a Hindu Temple located in Chittagong District. 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 at Naogaon District. In total 130-135 people were victimized in the Naogaon attacks.

On the positive note, GHRD was informed about the rescue of a 16-year old Hindu girl. The schoolgirl was kidnapped on the 10th of October, 2010 on her way home from school in Mymensingh District. As a result of the lobbying of Bangladesh Minority Watch and GHRD Dhaka she was rescued on the 13th of October, 2010 by the local police.

Breaking News!

The case of a minor girl who was abducted and repeatedly raped by a man from Nizpara village has been submitted to the National Human Rights Commission by BIHR. The victim girl was sent to safe custody and ordered to live in jail, while none of the perpetrators – being very influential in the locality – have yet been arrested. The case has been submitted before the commission on the 6th of September 2010 in order to ensure that all necessary steps will be taken.

Fact Finding Investigations and Legal Assistance

15-year old Bangladeshi girl raped and subjected to village arbitration
4th June – 10th of June, 2010, Dhaka district
On the 2nd and 3rd of September 2010, GHRD together with Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) investigated the case of a 15-year old girl who suffered multiple violations including rape, beatings and threats. She was also subjected to extra judicial punishments in village arbitration after the locality came to know about her love affair with her tutor. The community ruled that the girl’s father had to provide food to the entire indigenous community as reparation, otherwise they would outcast the girl and her family.


Fearing their safety the girl along with her family temporarily went into hiding. At this point her tutor offered her a solution to their hopeless situation: a marriage proposal and false promises to provide her with a job in Dhaka. Ostracised by her own community, she went with her tutor. However, once at the spot, she was locked up, beaten and raped by two men for almost a week. Then, on the 10th June, she was thrown out on the street in an unconscious state. A complaint case was filed at the Special Tribunal for the Prevention of Women and Children Repression, Dinajpur.
BIHR along with GHRD investigated the incident by visiting the scene, taking statements of the victim and witnesses and visiting the local police station. An urgent appeal was also sent on the 14th of October. Through the intervention of GHRD and BIHR, who mediated with the village leaders and authorities, the girl and her family have successfully been resettled to their house. The tutor was finally arrested and placed in jail custody on the 27th August.

Politically motivated attacked on 46 indigenous families
23rd of September, 2010, Naogaon district


 
It is particularly worrying that although the victims asked for police assistance, once at the spot, the police denied to arrest any perpetrators. Moreover, according to the victims, the police assisted the perpetrators to run away. Finally, two perpetrators have been arrested and are now in jail custody, another six perpetrators appeared voluntarily before court and got bail. BIHR together with GHRD investigated the matter by visiting the spot, taking statements of the victims, contacting the local police, and will organize a press conference in Dhaka on this matter.

Religiously motivated attack against Hindu temple
11th of September, 2010, Chittagong District
On 5th of October, 2010 GHRD investigated the attack against the Hindu Temple “Ghosaildanga Sree Sree Sawshan Kali Bari” located in Chittagong District. On the 11th of September Muslim perpetrators forcefully entered the temple and looted, vandalized and desecrated Hindu deities.


When locals tried to protest, the armed perpetrators scared them away. The attackers also threatened local Hindus not to lodge a complaint, otherwise they would blow up the temple. An FIR was lodged on the 12th of September. Local and national newspapers reported the case in the following days. Three perpetrators have been arrested and are now in jail custody. GHRD investigated the case by visiting the spot and communicating with local police, and also issued an urgent appeal on the 18th of October.

Woman tortured by Police Superintendent
5th of October 2010, Madaripur Distrtict
On the 20th of October 2010 GHRD investigated a case of police negligence which escalated to torture. The victim – after finding out that the officer in charge erased some of the charges in her husbands’ case filed against perpetrators who attempted to kill him - went to meet the Police Superintendent at Madaripur at his office in order to inform him about the negligent behaviour of the officer in charge. There she was taken to a solitary room for interrogation.


 
The victim also arranged a press conference at Dhaka Crime Reporters Club where she spoke about this incident which had also been published in different national news papers. The accused proposed an amicable settlement to solve the dispute. GHRD-Dhaka investigated the incident by visiting the spot, taking statements and communicating with the highest police officers and the National Human Rights Commission at Dhaka. GHRDs’ observer also had a meeting with the Superintendent and the victim present. During this meeting the Superintendent tried to console the victim and advised her to “forgive and forget”. An urgent appeal was issued, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was also informed about this case.

Urgent Appeals

Bangladesh: Religiously motivated attack against Hindu temple
 

Bangladesh: a 15-year old Christian minority girl raped, abused and subjected to extra judicial punishment (village arbitration) [UA-BA-14.10.2010]
 

Bangladesh: Politically motivated attack on indigenous people with the intention of land grabbing, looting valuable properties, destroying shelter. [UA-BA-20.10.2010]
 

Bangladesh: Woman tortured by police at Madaripur Police Station [UA-BA-26.10.2010]
 

NGO and Media Reports

Opinion-sharing meeting held on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT

On 10 October 2010 an a opinion-sharing meeting on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT was held in Rangamati chaired by the Land Minister Rezaul Karim Heera where it has been pointed out that no progress has yet made in the implementation of the Accord. It has also been disputed that without the settlement of land disputes and rehabilitation of refugees land survey should not be done as it was not the role of the Land Commission. Many participants supported the amendment of the Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act 2001. Mr. Rezaul Karim Heera, Land Minister and Chairman of the meeting was of the opinion that land survey could only be held after the settlement of land disputes.
Source: The Daily Star 

Clashes between locals and law enforcers over "forced purchase of land"

At least 50 people were injured in the clashes between police and demonstrators who blocked the Rupganj-Ichhapura road on the 23rd of October demanding cancellation of the government decision to acquire land for an army housing project in Narayanganj District. The police opened fire to settle the conflict as a result of which 10 people were hit by bullet and were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. One of the injured died in the hospital. The main reason behind the incident was that - according to the villagers - they were not allowed to sell their land to anybody but the army, and only at a price way below the current market price. Awami League has blamed main opposition BNP for the incident stating that BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia instigated the locals into staging the demonstration. Police filed cases against approximately 3000 unidentified villagers following the clashes. Many people in Rupganj and Kayetpara left their homes and went hiding to escape arrest.
Source: BD news24 

Clash between workers of Awami League and BNP – One shot dead, 30 injured
An Awami League activist was shot dead and 30 others were injured in a clash between the workers of ruling AL and main opposition BNP at Baghaikandi of Raipura upazila on the 27th of October, 2010. This – according to sources – was not an isolated event, as it has allegedly been the sixth clash in this month. A huge contingent of police has been deployed in the area to avoid any further incident. The atmosphere remained tense in the area.
Source: The Daily Star  




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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