Bangladesh: Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association in Jeopardy:
Voices of vocal human rights defenders and organistions gagged
Even though forty three years have passed since the liberation of Bangladesh, her people are still struggling to constitute a democratic state, based on equality, human dignity and social justice. The present government led by Awami League came to power through the elections on December 29, 2008 and again through ‘controversial’ elections on January 05, 2014. There are substantial allegations of custodial torture, enforced disappearance and extra-judicial killings perpetrated by security forces; and freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and associations are severely hampered by the present government. Odhikar and the human rights defenders associated with it, faced severe oppression in 2013 which is still continuing; On August 10, 2013 men claiming to be police from the Detective Branch picked up the Organisation’s Secretary at 10:20 pm from outside his home and he and the Director of Odhikar were later charged under the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 (amended in 2009) for fact finding and documenting extrajudicial killings and human rights violations perpetrated at a rally and meeting spanning May 05 and 06, 2013. However, for nineteen years Odhikar has worked on the issues of civil and political rights, and is a vocal activist against torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Regardless of political government, Odhikar remains steadfast and vocal against human rights violations. Due to its stand, Odhikar has always been in the government’s cross-hairs. The Organisation has continuously faced various levels of monitoring and threats over the last 19 years. However, the present government took an extreme role in August 2013, in gagging Odhikar’s voice completely in order to silence the voices of numerous victims.
Statement_Maina kiai_ 21 Sep 2014 (full text in English, pdf)