Bangladesh. The demand was urged on 7 December 2010 at Dutch Parliament during a hearing hosted by Harry van Bommel (Socialist Party (SP), and also attended by Wim Kortenoeven (Partij van de Vrijheid (PVV). Along with other representatives from south Asia, Mr. Shahanur Islam addressed the human rights situation of the ethnic minority people living in Bangladesh.
Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD)’s local partners from South Asia spoke on human rights issues in their home countries at a hearing hosted by Harry van Bommel (Socialist Party (SP), and also attended by Wim Kortenoeven (Partij van de Vrijheid (PVV) at the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday, December 7. The hearing focused on the human rights situations in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan.Advocate Shahanur Islam, Founding Secretary General of JusticeMakers Bangladesh was attend the hearing along with other representatives from Bangladesh Minority Watch, JusticeMakers Bangladesh, Human Rights Focus Pakistan, Hindu American Foundation Maiti Nepal and Bhutanese Advocacy Forum and also spoke on human rights issues in their home countries, with specific focus on minority rights, trafficking, ethnic & sexual minorities, poverty, and Dalit issues.
Mr Islam, a human rights defender and founder of the newly established organisation JusticeMakers Bangladesh, discussed the situation of ethnic and sexual minorities in Bangladesh – two minority groups particularly vulnerable to human rights violations and discrimination.
Mr Islam addressed the human rights situation of the ethnic minority people living in Bangladesh. Key issues included: a lack of constitutional recognition of their indigenous status and their rights to land, land disputes which makes them targets of violence, eviction, rapes, killings and sexual assaults. He addressed the conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tract region, and claimed that the government of Bangladesh has failed to implement integral clauses of the 1997 Peace Accord.
He further highlighted the situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people living in Bangladesh, stating that they face discrimination in all areas of society and often become the targets of sexual crimes, torture, harassment and violence, in the public and private spheres. Mr Islam discussed societal discrimination of LGBT people, stating they are constitutionally not recognized, stigmatized and socially not accepted ‐ exemplified by the criminalisation of homosexual acts.
Mr Islam ended his presentation by urging the Dutch Parliament to take initiatives to ensure protection of human rights defenders through intergovernmental dialogue and direct support, and he referred to his personal situation. He underlined a number of recommendations beginning with the full implementation of 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, and the need to ratify the UN declaration of the rights to indigenous people, decriminalize homosexual acts, and ratify the ILO Convention – including sections 107 and 169 (referring to the rights of indigenous peoples).
Mr Islam ended his presentation by urging the Dutch Parliament to take initiatives to ensure protection of human rights defenders through intergovernmental dialogue and direct support.
The hearing was an opportunity for these grassroots human rights representatives to be heard by parliamentarians of a country that funds aid and human rights initiatives in these countries. The information provided was welcomed by the members of the parliament who encouraged future interaction and the flow of information on the human rights situation in South Asia.