An Oral Statement to the 39th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
The genocide against the Rohingyas and the survivors being sheltered in the refugee camps of Bangladesh are widely discussed and praised in this Council over the last one year. However, the Council has rarely focused on how the government of Bangladesh has been unleashing gross violations of human rights against its own citizens.
A year ago Bangladesh’s Chief Justice was forced to leave his office and the country for declaring the 16th Amendment to the Constitution ‘illegal’ in a verdict. That chief justice, Mr. S K Sinha, is in exile in the United States seeking political asylum. Students’ peaceful protests have been brutally suppressed using police and the ruling party’s armed activists. Expressing dissents in public incurs manifold harassments including arbitrary detention, imprisonment, intimidation, and enforced disappearances.
Today is the 45th day of photographer Shahidul Alam’s arbitrarily detention for interviewing with Al Jazeera on students’ protests. Shahidul was ‘hurt to bleed in custody’, and is facing sedition charge where Courts deny him bail. Blogger, Dr. Pinaki Bhattacharya, has been hiding for the past 45 days to save his life. The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and the Detective Branch of Police have been chasing him. His family and office colleagues remain under constant surveillance.
Prior to the parliamentary elections in December 2018, the government is systematically intensifying crackdowns against political opposition and dissidents. The ALRC wants to ask: Will the Council initiate anything immediately to address Bangladesh situation?
Thank you, Mr. President.