A Press Release by the Asian Legal Resource Centre
(Hong Kong, September 12, 2014) “People’s rights cannot be conceived without the existence of the rule of law, in any given territory,” says the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) in a new edition of its quarterly journal, article2, examining the inexistence of the rule of law in Bangladesh. The publication titled “Special Report: Inexistent Rule of Law in Bangladesh“, Vol. 13, No. 2 & 3, June – September 2014, is now available online.
This special edition focuses on the criminal justice and law-enforcement institutions and their relationships with existing political practices in Bangladesh. The report contains information on 47 cases of torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, fabrication of criminal charges, acid attacks, sexual violence, non-investigation, and refusal to provide of justice from all parts of Bangladesh. These cases have been documented by the ALRC’s sister organisation the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) since 2009, when Bangladesh reportedly began its journey from a military-controlled emergency rule to an elected democracy. The cases substantiate the patterns of violation of people’s rights and the inability or refusal of criminal justice institutions to provide remedies to victims. They reveal the real state of Bangladesh, a country unable to uphold the rule of law. An article analysing four cases of the state’s repressions illustrates the true character of the state machineries of Bangladesh.
The remaining sections of the report complement the cases, and include two articles by academic scholars Mr. Maimul Ahsan Khan and Ms. Saira Rahman Khan. The articles discuss the constitutional stature and legal standing of Bangladesh following the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution, and protecting vested interests at the cost of fundamental rights. The ALRC’s Programme Coordinator Md. Ashrafuzzaman analyses the condition of Bangladesh in light of the normative standards of the rule of law. He exposes how the state apparatus acts towards citizens while undermining the rule of law.
This special report is enriched by the invaluable opinions of a number of reputed professionals of Bangladesh. The ALRC has interviewed: Mr. Nurul Kabir, editor of New Age; Mr. Anu Muhammad, Professor of Economics, Jahangirnagar University; Mr. Akmal Hossain, Professor of International Relations, University of Dhaka; Mr. M. Shahiduzzaman, Professor of International Relations, University of Dhaka; Mr. Nur Khan and Mr. Shahed Kayes, human rights defenders; and Mr. Saiful Haque, General Secretary, Revolutionary Workers’ Party of Bangladesh.
The Editorial Board of the article2 writes that “Bangladeshi sympathisers in the international community cannot do anything to assist common Bangladeshis in establishing a rule of law state if citizens do not act. It is the people of Bangladesh who will determine the fate of the rule of law in Bangladesh in the immediate and distant future.”
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About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.