Friday, December 16, 2011

Minority Rights in South Asia in focus at Brussels conference

Shahanur Islam  and Taslima Nasrin 
The Netherlands based organisation Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) held a conference entited ”Protecting Minority Rights in South Asia” at the EU Parliament in Brussels on Thursday 8 December 2011 – the international human rights day. It was organised in collaboration with Cecilia Wikström, Member of the European Parliament representing the Swedish Liberal Party, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Committee of the European Parliament.

জাস্টিসমেকার্স বাংলাদেশ এর মহাচিব ও নির্বাহী পরিচালকের দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার সংখ্যালঘু মানবাধিকার রক্ষা বিষয়ক আন্তর্জাতিক কনফারেন্সে যোগদান

আন্তর্জাতিক মানবাধিকার প্রতিষ্ঠান গ্লোবাল হিউম্যান রাইটস ডিফেন্স(জিএইচআরডি), দি হেগ, নেদারল্যান্দডস এর আমন্ত্রণে বাংলাদেশের বিশিষ্ট্য মানবাধিকার আইনজীবী ও জাস্টিসমেকার্স বাংলাদেশ এর মহাচিব ও নির্বাহী পরিচালক এডভোকেট শাহানুর ইসলাম দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার সংখ্যালঘু মানবাধিকার রক্ষা বিষয়ক আন্তর্জাতিক কনফারেন্সে যোগদান করেন গ্লোবাল হিউম্যান রাইটস ডিফেন্স(জিএইচআরডি)এর আয়োজনে বেলজিয়ামের রাজধানী ব্রাসেল এ অবস্থিত ইউরোপিয়ান পার্লামেন্টে গত ৮ ডিসেম্বর সংখ্যালঘু বিষয়ক এই আন্তর্জাতিক কনফারেন্স অনুষ্টিত হয়

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NEWS: GHRD Symposium: Grassroots protection of minority rights

Mumbai, 7 November 2011
GHRD successfully concluded its three day symposium: grass roots protection of minority rights, in Mumbai, India in November 7 . The symposium brought together 25 local partners, NGOs, journalists, and lawyers from India, Nepal, and Bangladesh active in the field of human rights, on the issues of human trafficking, Dalits, and religious and indigenous rights.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

খবরঃ জুম্মা ছাত্রদের শান্তিপূর্ণ মিছিলে পুলিশি নির্যাতন

The news of Fact finding report on 22 Jumma Student has been beaten and tortured by the policemen during a peaceful demonstration demanding constitutional recognition has been published on the monthly Doyel.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NEWSLETTER: GHRD's Monthly Newsletter

Volume 7:67, September 23 2011.The Hague
During August and September GHRD has been busy kick starting some amazing events: our international campaign FIGHT MODERN SLAVERY and the Grundtvig project “Building bridges for a multicultural Europe” here in The Hague.

High on the human rights agenda was the torture of 22 minority students in Bangladesh during a peaceful demonstration and the safety of our human rights defenders.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Update on arson attack against indigenous Jumma in Chittagong Hill Tracts

In February and April of this year, hundreds of indigenous Jumma people living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh were attacked and around one hundred houses and one school were burned to ashes.

Seven months later and the majority of those attacked, around two thirds, are still living in temporary shelters – a big concern now that it is rainy season.

Despite stated government commitment to help the victims and a fact finding investigation conducted by the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh (NHRC), little has been done in practice to help the victims.
GHRD is particularly concerned that the government has not thus far conducted a full and impartial investigation, nor have they arrested any of the identified perpetrators. No investigations into the role of the border guards of Bangladesh in the attacks have been made.

The fact finding investigation conducted by the NHRC is a positive step forward. GHRD looks forward to seeing the results of this investigation and encourages the NHRC to continue to lobby the government to create positive change in the CHT region.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Government security forces deny assault of 22 Jumma students during a peaceful student procession for constitutional recognition of indigenous people

22 indigenous students beaten and tortured by the police in Khagrachhari, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Police authorities have denied any fault after physically attacking and indiscriminately beating 22 Jumma students during a peaceful demonstration of 900 students of Khagrachari College for constitutional recognition of indigenous people in Bangladesh on the 7th of August 2011.

GHRD’s Country Observer for Bangladesh and also Cofounder of JusticeMakers Bangladesh, Advocate Shahanur Islam went to the spot to investigate the physical assaults and beatings – taking eyewitness and victim statements. GHRD was the first human rights organisation to investigate the event.

The police have denied all wrongdoing and have threatened that if such a peaceful demonstration were to occur again, protestors can expect even worse retaliation by the police and could lose their careers. Given the denial of fault by the police authorities, it is no surprise that no case has been filed or registered with the authorities.

As the procession left from the college compound gate, upwards of 60 policemen, including the Assistant Superintendent of the Khagrachari Police and the Officer in Charge of the Kotowali Police Station, created a barrier to direct the flow towards Chengis Square. There, they suddenly attacked the students with batons, kicking and slapping them.  22 students were injured, among which four were severely injured. As the procession was heading back, officers and army men surrounded the college gate and the hospital, they picked out one student, and indiscriminately beat him, resulting in severe injured. 

This gross human rights violation cannot be tolerated. The right to peaceful assembly is an undeniable human right and the police actions are a clear violation of Bangladesh’s commitments under international human rights treaties. The events reported above were just one of the many cases where the government showed clear intention to bring a halt to the voice of the indigenous people fighting to have their fundamental rights recognized.

GHRD and Justicemakers Bangladesh demand that a full and impartial investigation into the police misconduct is required and that those responsible are punished.

The End

প্রেস বিজ্ঞপ্তিঃ আদিবাসীদের সাংবিধানিক স্বীকৃতির দাবিতে খাগড়াছড়ি সরকারি কলেজের জুম্মা ছাত্রদের শান্তিপূর্ণ মিছিলের উপর হামলায় ২২ ছাত্র আহত হওয়ার বিষয়টি সরকারি নিরাপত্তা বাহিনীর অস্বীকার !

দি হেগ, নেদারল্যান্ডস,  ০৮সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০১১

আদিবাসীদের সাংবিধানিক স্বীকৃতির দাবিতে আগস্ট ২০১১ ইং তারিখে পার্বত্য চট্রগ্রামে খাগড়াছড়ি সরকারি কলেজের আনুমানিক ৯০০ জুম্মা ছাত্রদের শান্তিপূর্ণ বিক্ষোভ মিছিলে সরকারি নিরাপত্তা বাহিনীর  নির্যাতনে ২২ ছাত্র আহত হয়েছে। তবে পুলিশ প্রশাসন বিক্ষোভকারী ছাত্রের উপর শারীরিকভাবে আক্রমণ এবং প্রহারের বিষয়টি সম্পূর্ণরূপে অস্বীকার করেছে।

জাস্টিসমেকার্স বাংলাদেশ এর অন্যতম প্রতিষ্ঠাতা ও গ্লোবাল হিউম্যান রাইটস ডিফেন্স (জিএইচারডি), দি হেগ, নেদারল্যান্ড এর বাংলাদেশ অবজারভার এডভোকেট শাহানুর ইসলামের নেতত্বে পাঁচ সদস্যের এক তথ্যানুসন্ধান দল সম্প্রতি সরেজমিনে ঘটনাস্থল পরিদর্শন করেন এবং নির্যাতিত ও চাক্ষুষ সাক্ষীদের সাথে কথা বলে তাদের বিবৃতি লিপিবদ্ধ করেন জাস্টিসমেকারস বাংলাদেশ গ্লোবাল হিউম্যান রাইটস ডিফেন্স (জিএইচারডি) ই প্রথম মানবাধিকার সংগঠন যারা ঘটনাটি সরেজমিনে তথ্যানুসন্ধান করেন।

পুলিশ প্রশাসন ঘটনার দিন তাদের দ্বারা কৃত সব অপরাধ মূলক কাজ অস্বীকার করে বিক্ষোভকারিরা যদি আদিবাসিদের সাংবিধানিক স্বীকৃতির দাবিতে ভবিষ্যতে আবার এই রকম বিক্ষোভ করমসুচি আয়োজন করে তবে ভবিষ্যতে পুলিশ প্রশাসনের নিকট থেকে খারাপ ব্যবহার এমনকি তাদের জীবন নষ্ট হতে পারে বলে হুমকি প্রদান করেন। পুলিশ কর্তৃপক্ষ কর্তৃক কৃত সকল অপরাধ মূলক কর্মকাণ্ড অস্বীকার করায় এটা বলার অপেক্ষা রাখে না যে পুলিশ কর্তৃপক্ষ কর্তৃক এ বিষয়ে অভিযুক্তদের বিরুদ্ধে কোন ব্যবস্থা করা হইয় নি এবং ভবিষ্যতে কোন ব্যবস্থা করা হবে না।

ঘটনার দিন জুম্মা ছাত্ররা খাগড়াছড়ি সরকারি কলেজ গেট থেকে শান্তিপূর্ণ বিক্ষোভ মিছিল সহযোগে সামনের চেঙ্গিস স্কয়ারের দিকে এগুতে থাকলে খাগড়াছড়ি জেলা পুলিশের সহকারী সুপারিনটেনডেন্ট এবং কোতোয়ালি পুলিশ স্টেশনের ভারপ্রাপ্ত  কর্মকর্তাসহ আনুমানিক ৬০ জন পুলিশ সদস্য কলেজ গেটের সামনে তাদেরকে বাঁধা প্রদান করেন। এসময় বিক্ষোভকারি ছাত্ররা সামনে এগুতে চাইলে পুলিশ সদস্যরা কোন প্রকার উস্কানি ছাড়া
হঠাৎ বিক্ষোভকারিদের উপর লাঠি চার্জ শুরু করে । এসময় পুলিশ সদস্যরা ছাত্রদের কিল, ঘুষি, লাথি এবং মেয়ে বিক্ষোভকারিদের টানা হিঁচড়া করতে থাকে। এতে ২২ জন জুম্মা ছাত্র আহত হয়, যাদের মধ্যে চার জন মারাত্বকভাবে আহত হন। পুলিশ সদস্য কর্তৃক বাধাপ্রাপ্ত ও নির্যাতনের শিকার হয়ে বিক্ষোভকারী ছাত্ররা কলেজ প্রাঙ্গণে প্রবেশ করলে অতিরিক্ত পুলিশ ও সেনা সদস্যরা কলেজ প্রাঙ্গণ ঘিরে রাখে এবং ছাত্ররা বাড়ি ফিরে যাবার সময় এক ছাত্রকে ধরে উদ্দেশ্যমুলকভাবে অমানবিক নির্যাতন করে, ফলে সে মারাত্বকভাবে আহত হন।

ঘটনাটি মানবাধিকারের লঙ্ঘন এবং এই লজ্জাকর মানবাধিকার লঙ্ঘন বিনা প্রতিকারে সহ্য করা যায় না। শান্তিপূর্ণ সমাবেশের অধিকার একটি অনস্বীকার্য মৌলিক মানবাধিকার এবং পুলিশ কর্তৃক উল্লেখিত শান্তিপূর্ণ বিক্ষোভ মিছিলে বাঁধা প্রদান ও বিক্ষোভকাররিদের নির্যাতন করা বাংলাদেশ সংবিধান ও বাংলাদেশ কর্তৃক স্বীকৃত আন্তর্জাতিক মানবাধিকার চুক্তিসমূহের সুস্পষ্ট লঙ্ঘন। উপরোল্লিখিত ঘটনাটি বাংলাদেশ সরকার কর্তৃক আদিবাসীদের মৌলিক মানবাধিকার অর্জনের কণ্ঠস্বর চিরতরে স্তব্ধ করার দীর্ঘ পরিকল্পনা সফল করার একটি স্পষ্ট প্রয়াস মাত্র।
জাস্টিসমেকার্স বাংলাদেশ গ্লোবাল হিউম্যান রাইটস ডিফেন্স (জিএইচআরডি) উপরোল্লিখিত মানবাধিকার লঙ্ঘনজনিত ঘটনার দ্রুত সম্পূর্ণ ও নিরপেক্ষ তদন্ত করে দায়ী ব্যাক্তিদের বিরদ্ধে প্রয়োজনীয় ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণের জোর দাবী জানাচ্ছে।

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Criminal group threatens crime reporter in Bangladesh

A telephone caller claiming to represent a wanted criminal overseas threatened to kill a senior crime reporter for writing about the drug trade, local news reports and a human rights advocate said.

Jahangir Alam, who heads the crime department at the United News of Bangladesh news agency and is an executive member of the Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh (CRAB), received the call in the country's capital, Dhaka, on July 13, according to the reports.

The caller introduced himself as an associate of Subrata Bayeen, a high-profile criminal wanted on charges of terrorism and drug possession, and threatened to shoot the journalist. Bayeen is believed to have fled the country to escape arrest, news reports said.

"Alam recently wrote a number of stories regarding illegal drug trades and criminal activities, mentioning the involvement of associates of Subrata Bayeen," Shahanur Islam, executive director of the Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights (BIHR) told CPJ by email. Alam reported the threat to the police but they took no action to identify the caller, Islam told CPJ. Both BIHR and CRAB expressed concern at the lack of police action to trace the threat and protect the journalist.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

প্রেস বিজ্ঞপ্তিঃ মানবাধিকার প্রতিষ্ঠান বিআইএইচআর'র নির্বাহী পরিচালক ও ঢাকা বারের বিজ্ঞ আইনজীবীকে প্রাণনাশের হুমকি ।

URGENT APPEAL: Ensure the protection of human rights defender & lawyer in Bangladesh



DATE: July 26, 2011

ISSUE: Death threats, rights to human rights defender & lawyer, personal integrity, inaction of authority, impunity.


BANGLADESH: Death threats against human rights defender & lawyer Adv. Shahanur Islam (Saikot)
Dear Friends,

Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights received information regarding the recent death threats against Mr. Shahanur Islam, Executive Director of BIHR and also lawyer in Bangladesh allegedly by an accused of a case. According to received information, Hamidur Islam, an accused in a criminal case, phoned Mr. Islam on July 24, 2011 night and asked him to withdraw case and threatened him with life for failing to follow his instruction. A general diary (GD) was lodged in this connection with Mohammadpur Police Station under Dhaka Metropalitan Police, but yet no action has been taken by the concerned authority in connection with the allegation against the perpetrator.


Name of the Victim             :Adv. Shahanur Islam (Saikot), General Secretary and Executive Director, Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), Country Observer, Global Human Rights Defence, The Hague, Netherlands; Founder, JusticeMakers Bangladesh Trust; Member of the Bangladesh Bar Council (Membership # 12766) and Bar Association in Dhaka District (Membership # 11177).

During the time of his duties, he moved many cases against the perpetrators as a lawyer and some of them have been punished. He also conducted many investigations and fact-finding missions on human rights violations as well as issued local and international urgent appeals requesting attention to concerned authorities. Due to his playing role to protection and promotion of human rights and criminal justice in Bangladesh, he receipt JusticeMakers Fellowship-10, awarded by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Switzerland 

Name of the Perpetrators :Mr. Hamidul Islam of village Jharbhanga under Gorea Union Parishad in Thakurgaon district. One co-accused of a criminal case filed by Mr. Islam alleging physically assault and rubbery during conducting an human rights violation investigation, who is recently release from the jail by bail. 

Date & time of  Incident    : July 24, 2011, around at 9.32 pm

Alleged phone number     : +88 01751370923

General Diary number       : Mohammedpur Police station GD No.1734,   Dated 25/07/2011


Adv. Shahanur Islam (Saikot), General Secretary and Executive Director of Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR); Country Observer for Bangladesh, Global Human Rights Defence, The Hague, Netherlands; Founder of JusticeMakers Bangladesh Trust and also Member of the Bangladesh Bar Council (Membership # 12766) and Bar Association in Dhaka District (Membership # 11177) received death threat through phone call allegedly by an accused of a case on 24 July, 2011.

One Hamidur Islam, the co-accused in a criminal case number Thakurgaon police station case No 06/06 filed by Mr. Islam on January 10, 2011 alleging physically assaults and rubbery during an fact finding investigation of human rights violation incident fraudulently called by them has been phoned Mr. Islam using the grammen phone number+88 01751370923  on Sunday night around at 9.32 pm and thretend him to kill if Mr. Islam and other witness to would go to Thakurgaon court being (HAZIRA) present as well as witnessed.

According to query of Mr. Islam, the caller Introducing himself as Hamidur Islam of Gorea further threatened to Mr. Islam using filthy language stating “you have been put me in jail for five month and now I am out of jail by bail. Now I want to see what can you do?” Again he said, “ I will see, how can you being present before the court for witnessed coming from Dhaka to Thakurgaon. One time we left you after a little bit torture and snatched every things, but if we reach you again, no body will find your dead body.” Furthermore he said,” What do you think about you? As a lawyer and also a human rights activist like you, can nothing to do us!” He also said, “You have no idea about our power. So, you had showed your braveness to file case against us after being tortured and losing everything”.  He again said, “if you want to be alive, you will withdraw the case by one weak, otherwise we know how to compel withdraw the case.”

The accused Hamidul Islam asked Mr. Islam to withdraw case and threatened him with life for failing to follow his instruction. He also hurled abusing languages at him and threatened to kill him if the case is not withdrawn immediately. Finally, he cut off the phone. The phone call deeply disturbed and frightened Mr. Islam and he lodged a general diary (GD) being number 1734, dated 25/07/2011in this connection with Mohammadpur Police Station under Dhaka Metropalitan Police.

You are requested to visit the following link to see the news published on the newspaper:


Mr. Shahanur Islam has been victimized in different occasions previously due to his activities to protect and promote human rights in Bangladesh.

On the 9th of January, 2011 a fact-finding team composing of Mr. Shahanur Islam, Executive Director of Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and two fact-finding officers, BIHR went to Jharbhanga village under Gorea union in Thakurgaon district fraudulently calling them to investigate the incident of the ill-treatment of a minority woman.

After reaching the spot, the fact-finding team begun to interview the applicant and the local people, 10 to 12 unidentified people came to the spot and questioned the fact-finding team about their reason of present there. One of the perpetrators identified himself as the chairman of the local union Parishad, another one as a member of Parishad. Then the perpetrators trying to accused the fact-finding tem to involve with a recent murder of a young boy and also trading with a stolen motorbike as well as taking part in fraudulent dollar transactions after getting identity and reason of present of fact finding team at there. Suddenly, one of the perpetrators physically attacked Mr. Islam and took away his mobile phone, while he was trying to call the local police station for help.

Meanwhile, the perpetrators also attacked the other two fact-finding officers and took away their mobiles as well.

The perpetrators – threatening the members of the fact-finding team with a pistol - looted the video camera, laptop, secret pen video camera, still camera, documents, money bag and all other valuable belongings of the fact finding team, amounting approximately to  BDT 3,50,000.

When Mr. Islam tried to shout for help, he was again physically attacked. Then the attackers forced the victims - by threatening them with pistol - to pose with dollars while the perpetrators took pictures of them. After taking the pictures, the perpetrators warned the fact-finding team not to inform the police about this incident, otherwise they will get these photos published in the newspapers and kill the victims. Finally the perpetrators fled away on some unregistered motorbikes.

Then Mr. Islam went to the Thakurgaon Police Station and tried to file the case in this connection on the same day. But the officer in charge refused to file it. Rather he sent one Sub inspector Mr. Biswanath with the victim to verify the incident instead of registering the case. But during the verification, the sub inspector forces the victim to back the police station without identifying the spot. On the next day morning Mr. Islam submitted a written First Information Report-FIR (Ezahar) mentioning the incident, but the OC again refused to register it instantly. Rather he asked Mr. Islam to submit a written FIR (EJAHAR) to the duty officer and also told Mr. Islam to back the Dhaka. In accordance with the instruction of OC, Mr. Islam submitted the EJAHAR to duty officer around at 12.30 pm and back to the Dhaka, but the officer in charge registered the case around at 6.15 pm on 10th January, 2011 being number 06/06. Though the case was registered but he did not register it in proper section. He registered the case under 406/420/323/506 (2) of Penal Code instead of 406/420/323/395/506 (2) and arms act with out consulting with Mr. Islam.

To know more about the incident please visit the following links:

On February 04, 2011, one co-accused Hamidul Islam was arrested by the investigation officer and being present him before the Magistrate Court of Thakurgaon demanding five days remand. but the learned court pleased to issue two day remand. During the remand the arrested accused Hamidul Islam agreed to give confession involving with the incident. But finally, he did not give the confession before the court and the court sent him to the jail custody.

Please see the link to see news published on difference media: 

On 3rd March 2011, around at 3.30 pm, Mr. Islam participated the TI Parade in to the Thakurgaon jail and identified the accused Mr. Hamidul Islam amonst others 20 prisoners in presented of senior judicial Magistrate of Thakurgaon district.

Mr. Komal Mohant Chaki, sub inspector of Thakurgaon police station and also the investigation officer of the case told Mr. Islam informally that they know who were involved with the incident but due to some technical reasons they cannot arrest them. He also told Mr. Islam that previously, Mr. Jamal Uddin, Secretary of Jubo League, Youth wings of ruling party of Gorea union unit assured him to recover all the goods, but later due to unknown reason he did not back the looted goods.

On 3rd March, 2011, Mr. Islam asked to Mr. Chaki about the reason of failure to recover the goods as well as arrest the others accused, but he failed to give appropriate answer, only said that he is trying. Further, Mr. Islam asked to arrest Mr. Jamal Uddin but he refused to arrest him showing reasons that he was not present during the incident. Mr. Islam asked him to arrange a TI parade after arresting Mr. Jamal, but he did not take action yet. It is clear to BIHR that due to political influence, the police authority is silent to arrest the perpetrators as well as recover the goods.


This is not any isolated instance of such kind of threats and attacked or human rights defenders in Bangladesh. It is a very common phenomenon for the professionals like human rights defenders of Bangladesh facing attacked, harassment, ill treatment, death threats from the terrorist, law-enforcing agencies and security forces. It is well known that Bangladesh has cultivated one of the best cultures of impunity to alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses despite the nation’s presence in the UN Human Rights Council since May 2006. Instead of improving the country’s human rights records the government of Bangladesh has paved the ways to degrade the rights of the citizens through various means of violations.


i) Take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Shahanur Islam and others two victims;

ii) Order a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned incident threats, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii) Put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Islam as well as   against all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;

iv) Accomply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v) Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by Bangladesh.


Please write letters to the relevant authorities to investigate this alleged incident of violence ensuring the physical security of the victim Adv. Shahanur Islam (saikot) and his family. We trust that you will take immediate action regarding this serious matter and look forward to your favorable response.


1. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
E-mail: or or

2. Mr. Md. Mozammel Haque
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
Fax: +880 2 956 5058 /+880 2 7161344
Tel: +880 2 956 2792
E-mail: or

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

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

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

6. Prof. Mizanur Rahman
National Human Rights Commission
10th Floor, Gulfeshan Plaza
8, Journalist Selina Parvin Road
Mogbazar, Dhaka
Tel: +88 02 8331492
Fax: +88 02 8333219

7. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandker
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / +880 2 717 6451 / +880 2 717 6677

8. Mr. Asaduzzaman Mian
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG)
Dhaka Range
Office of the DIG of Dhaka Range
Shegun Bagicha
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
Tel: +880 2 8353926 (O)
Fax: +880 2 8315838/ 9345858 (O)
Mobile: +8801713 373316

Thank You

Urgent Appeal Desk
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)
27, Bijoy Nagar, B-17, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
Tele-Fax: + 88 028352166; Skype: saikot.bihr,
Cell: +88 017 20308080, +88 015 56447876,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GHRD: Bangladesh Quarterly human rights report (April-June 2011)

In February and April of this year, over one hundred houses, one school and two Buddhist temples were burnt to ashes in two different attacks against indigenous minority communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh, leaving hundreds of indigenous men women and children homeless and many injured. 

GHRD’s local partner Adv. Shahanur Islam recently went to the region to investigate the attacks and talk to those affected. Our investigations found that some 638 Jumma were affected in the attacks. Many of those who lost their homes in the arson attacks continue to live in tents or temporary shelter.

All interviewees confirmed that on both occasions, security forces were present but failed to act to stop the violence, looking on as the destruction occurred. The government of Bangladesh has thus far failed to adequately investigate this - reflecting its lack of real commitment to bringing peace in the region and bringing into question the real intention of the government to implement the 1997 CHT Peace Accord.

The local authorities have also failed to investigate the attacks, despite identification of the main perpetrators of the violence. At the time of writing of this report no-one had yet been arrested in relation to these attacks.

Instead of promoting transparent investigations and reporting, the government proclaimed an ‘emergency’ prohibiting any access to the area following the attacks.  The government has also failed to promote transparency in the region following the attacks. During our team’s investigations, the local authorities expressed strong suspicion towards any international involvement in the region. Our observer Adv. Shahanur Islam was approached and questioned on multiple occasions by members of the Border Guards of Bangladesh and by the district special branch of police who requested information on the identity of the team, the organisation they worked for and purpose for their visit.

These attacks are clear examples of a government failure to uphold basic human rights and protect the Jumma. In addition, the implication of military forces in the attacks and the lack of impartial investigation prove that the government of Bangladesh is either unwilling or unable to protect its Jumma population and must be held accountable within the international forum. 

Fact finding
Massive communal attack on Jumma villages by Bengali settlers in presence of security forces at Longadu in Rangamati
17 February 2011, Longadu Upazila
On the morning of 17 February 2011 around 200-300 Bengali settlers from the Gulshakhali settler area under Longadu Upazila in Rangamati district began staged demonstrations, attacking and setting fire  to the Jumma villages of Gulshakhali and Rangi Para. The following information is based on GHRD’s case file (Case no. 03-HRCF-CHT-Longadu), prepared by our local observer.

Bengali settlers accused Jumma of being responsible for the death of Mr Saber Ali, a Bengali settler who went missing on February 15 and was discovered dead the following day. The settlers carried his dead body during the demonstrations, creating tension. During this procession, most of the Jumma fled in fear.

Following the procession, two Jumma students coming from Rangamati by boat were attacked and severely beaten by settlers when they attempted to disembark from the boat. They were later admitted to Rangamati general hospital.

Later in the day, Bengali settlers made an attack of the Jumma villages of Gulsakhali and Bagachatar, setting fire to Jumma houses one after the other. In the attack, at least 21 Jumma houses including one BRAC school were burnt to ashes and 6 houses were looted.

According to all 40 Jumma victims interviewed, the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) did nothing to stop the Bengali settlers from setting fire on Jumma houses, despite being present at the time. Early in the day, Jumma leaders informed members of the BGB and the administration, asking for protection, but at this stage they did not come. Later in the evening around 5pm there were 12 members of the BGB from Rangipara Tematha camp present during the arson attacks, but stayed silent. During the later arson attacks in Stantinagaor village, 20-25 BGB members staying in a nearby temporary BGB camp at Shanti Nagar watched the attacks from inside the camp.

A First Information Report has been lodged with the Longadu police station by one of the Jumma victims, however, he has been receiving constant threats and intimidation to withdraw the complaint, including statements that “If you do not withdraw the case, we will take that step which we need to withdraw” and “If you do not withdraw the case you will fall in danger”.

Massive Communal Arson Attack upon Indigenous Jumma Peoples by Bengali Settlers in Ramgarh & Manikchari, Khagrachhari district
17 April 2011, Khagrachhari district

On Sunday 17 April 2011, exactly two months after Bengali settlers attacked the Jumma villages in the Rangamati district of the CHT; Bengali settlers in the presence of government security forces again attacked five indigenous Jumma villages in Khagrachari district of the CHT, but this time on a larger scale. The following information is based on GHRD’s case file (Case no. 04-HRCF-CHT-Khagrachari), prepared by our local observer. 

According to our local observer, a total of 521 Jumma were affected by the attacks and 87 houses belonging including two Buddhist temples were completely burnt to ashes. At least 16 Jumma including four women were injured and one is still missing. At the date of this report, a small amount of relief had been provided to the victims but it is inadequate, all the victims continue to live under the open sky in the jungle or in traditional tents.

The attacks followed the death of three Bengali settlers that occurred during a land dispute when Bengali settlers tried to take adverse possession of some disputed Jumma land.  Bengali settlers brought out a procession at Manikchari bazaar shouting slogans against the Jumma people along with the dead body of a Bengali settler. Interviewed victims stated that the local administration did not oppose the Bengali settlers while they were bringing out the procession with the dead body.

Immediately after the procession, Bengali settlers set fire to Jumma houses in the Mahamani areas of Manikchari upazila headquarters.

During the attacks around 20-25 army men were standing in the vicinity while the houses and shops of the Jumma people were looted, vandalised and set ablaze. Though military forces were patrolling throughout the areas, they did not oppose Bengali settlers from setting fire to Jumma houses. The army kept patrolling along the road side while on the other, Bengali settlers started entering Jumma villages and setting fire to Jumma houses.

In Jalia para area, Bengali settlers attacked Jumma passengers getting them down from public buses including Shanti Paribahan who were coming from Chittagong and Feni to Khagrachari. At least 16 Jumma were wounded in this attack. Two of them were admitted in serous condition to the local hospital. According to eye witnesses Bengali settlers were stopping every vehicle and looking for ethnic minority people in jalia para area, getting the ethnic minority people out of the vehicle and then beating them with batons, kicking and slapping them - most of the victims injured their legs, hands, and head and had bruises all over their bodies.

Transparency and accountability:
Instead of promoting transparent investigations and reporting, the government proclaimed an ‘emergency’ prohibiting any access to the area following the attacks. 

During our team’s investigations, the local authorities expressed strong suspicion towards any international involvement in the region. Our observer Adv. Shahanur Islam was approached and questioned on multiple occasions by members of the Border Guards of Bangladesh and by the district special branch of police who requested information on the identity of the team, the organisation they worked for and purpose for their visit.

House of Lords conference on the implementation of the 1997 CHT Peace Accord in London, July 4 2011
GHRD representatives attended and spoke at a recent conference at the House of Lords in London. The conference focused on the human rights violations that are continuing in the CHT region and on the implementation of the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.

GHRD Human Rights Officer Julia de Blaauw spoke of GHRD’s recent fact finding in the CHT region and about the recent arson attacks that took place in February and April of 2011 in Rangamati and Khagrachari districts. Lord Eric Avebury, Co-Chair of the CHT Commission, chaired the conference which was jointly hosted with the Jumma Peoples Network of the UK (JPNUK). The High Commissioner for Bangladesh was present, along with academics, members of the Jumma Peoples network and representatives from Survival International and Amnesty International.

The High Commissioner for Bangladesh maintained that a military presence is required in the CHT region and that there ‘are no indigenous’ people in Bangladesh. In conversation following the conference, GHRD representatives requested information on the government’s activities and investigations into the arson attacks of February and April but received no information on this. The representative maintains that the government is ‘investigating’, however, no information has been forthcoming.

Read GHRD’s statement here
NGO and media reports
The UN Tenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues  16-27 may

The implementation of the 1997 CHT Peace Accord and current issues in the CHT region were discussed during the recent UN session on Indigenous Issues in May.  During the forum, Lars–Anders Bauer, Co-chair of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission and member of the UN permanent forum on indigenous issues, presented his report on the implementation of the 1997 Peace Accord. The main finding of the report was that the Peace Accord remains largely unimplemented and that the government has done next to nothing to implement.

Mr Bauer highlighted the fact that the report had been submitted to the Bangladeshi government and received no response. Mr Bauer called for the government to:
  • draw up a timeline for implementation of the accord
  • demilitarize the region
  • return all daily operations to a civilian administration rather than military
  • settle land disputes in the region
  • request assistance from international organizations to help implement the Accord.

The government of Bangladesh replied by saying that the Jumma are tribal, ethnic minority groups and as such cannot be considered as indigenous. Government representatives further stated that Bangladesh does not have an indigenous population within its borders, therefore, there is no issue and the UN forum has no authority to report on these issues. The government considered that the report is ‘cherry picked’ and paints a ‘darker picture’ of the government.
GHRD rejects these statements and maintains that the Jumma are indigenous. Furthermore, the lack of preservation of Jumma identity and culture and the denial of indigenous rights is further degrading their quality of life and they continue to experience human rights violations on a regular basis. 
The February and April arson attacks amount to a government failure to uphold basic human rights and protect the Jumma. The implication of military forces in the attacks and the lack of impartial investigation prove that the government of Bangladesh is either unwilling or unable to protect its Jumma population and must be held accountable within the international forum. 

Implementation of the 1997 Peace Accord was a major election promise of the ruling government, the Awami League. To date, the government has failed to honour this commitment and land grabbing and disputes over land continue to be the main reason for attacks by Bengali settlers against the Jumma in the CHT.

GHRD’s view remains that the government of Bangladesh must take responsibility for the human rights violations in the region and must fully honour its stated commitment to the 1997 Peace Accord by: impartially investigating the human rights violations that have occurred and the role of the military in these violations, bringing those responsible to justice and demilitarizing the region.

GHRD therefore urges the government of Bangladesh to:
·         Thoroughly and impartially investigate the February and April attacks; identify the main perpetrators and those responsible to justice. Ensure exemplary punishment of the perpetrators who were directly or indirectly involved in this violation of human rights.
·         Investigate the involvement of the security forces and Border Guards of Bangladesh in these attacks and punish those responsible.
·         Issue instructions to military, para-military, police and para-police personnel posted in the CHT to protect all communities without discrimination and to provide communities that have a recent history of such attacks or vulnerability special protection.
·         Take all measures to fulfil Awami League election promises by fully implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord and providing a forum for solving land disputes.
·         Recognise minority Jumma as indigenous in Constitution and sign the UN Declaration on Indigenous peoples rights