Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Custodial Deaths: NHRC chief wants strong govt warning

National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman yesterday urged the home minister to issue a circular with a strong warning against custodial deaths.

If the circular is issued, it will help bring down the rate of custodial deaths and improve human rights condition in the country, he said.

Mizanur was speaking at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity on publication of "Human rights report on Minority community in Bangladesh, 2010" jointly conducted by Bangladesh Institute of Human` Rights (BIHR), Dhaka and Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD), the Netherlands.

Mentioning the limitations of the commission, he blamed the bureaucracy for lack of sufficient manpower in his organisation. 

"Now we have a total of eight staff while the government approved the appointment of 28. Bureaucrats are doing it to hinder the commission's activities," he said.

He termed the Vested Property Return Act a means of discrimination against minority communities and recommended forming a commission headed by noted economist Prof Abul Barakat to return the properties to their real owners.

He criticised some human rights NGOs for not having a clear conception of human rights.

"They do not know what constitutes a violation of human rights or crime," he said.

Presenting the findings of the study, GHRD observer Rabindra Ghosh said at least 2,153 incidents of violation of human rights against minority communities happened last year. 

Human rights situation improved last year compared to previous years although assault, rape and violence against the Hindu, Ahmadiyyas, Christians, Dalits and indigenous communities continued, he said.

The observer placed some recommendations to protect human rights of minority communities.

They include -- impartial investigation into the incidents and justice to the victims, implementation of the CHT peace accord 1997, steps to stop fatwa and village arbitration and review of Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000.

Rana Das Gupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, and officials of the GHRD and the BIHR were present at the press conference.
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