The human rights situation deteriorated massively in Bangladesh after the caretaker government had seized national power and proclaimed the State of Emergency in 2007. The caretaker government then announced to the public that it was holding a democratic election in December, 2008. The 19th Parliamentary Election would be held on 9 December, 2008, freely and fairly, but human rights violations continued. Occurrences of confrontations between political parties, arbitrary arrests, custodial deaths, acts of violence against women, extra-judicial killings and torture by state and non-state actors hindered the enjoyment of civil and political rights.
Odhikar works to promote the quality of life, liberty and livelihood of the people of Bangladesh by promoting civil, political, economic, social, cultural and collective values of human rights including the implementation of obligations of the government as prescribed by the Constitution as well as by international instruments including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Social, Economic and the Cultural Rights and the Convention against Torture.
The active participation of the grassroots community in Odhikar’s working areas is always emphasised. Odhikar realises that empowerment is a precondition to establishing human rights work. With this in mind, in 2008, Odhikar continued working towards the vision of “a society where full enjoyment of human rights by every human being will be ensured.”