Human rights are not merely privileges enjoyed by an individual, or legal tools to protect a person from the criminality of the state; these are embodiments of freedom and dignity of the people internalised by the very structure and the constitution of the state. In the absence of a favourable political environment, it has been a difficult task to organise the categories that constitute the state of human rights in Bangladesh.
Due to repression and harassment, Odhikar is facing a regime that is increasingly becoming intolerant of human rights’ defenders in Bangladesh. Despite this, we are pleased to present the Annual Human Rights Report of Bangladesh 2013. We tried to be true to the old format so readers can compare recent developments with the previous year’s experiences. As always, we hope that the facts and analysis presented will be able to provide objective information to the human rights defenders who are concerned about Bangladesh. The present situation is of particular concern and we hope that the sources of information given here, coupled with our first hand fact-finding investigation and analysis, will be useful to all human rights defenders.
Odhikar, as an organisation, maintains a very effective human rights defenders network at the grass-roots level; and thereby tries its best to provide objective reports based on direct fact-finding investigation. Our credibility lies in our unconditional and unbiased stand for the victims of injustice, irrespective of their origin, place, race, religion, gender, nationality, ideology or politics. Bangladesh, in the last several years, has metamorphosised into a society polarised by ‘secularists’ and ‘religious’ orientations and by ‘pro government’ and ‘anti government’ divides. This has become blatantly evident in the last five years, aggravate by government propaganda. The challenge of human rights defenders to remain free from their own ideological and political orientation is enormous. We unconditionally stand by the victims of oppressions and maintain no prejudice with regard to their political leanings or ideological orientation. Odhikar firmly believes that all victims of oppression are in dire need of protection and deserve justice.
Odhikar is deeply grateful to all the human rights defenders at home and abroad who have and still are supporting the organisation in anyway they can. Their show of solidarity is Odhikar’s strength in these trying times.
Annual Human Rights Report-2013-eng (full text in English, PDF)