Chittagong Hill Tracts: British Government Called Upon to Support Bangladesh
Problems including but not limited to boycott of the parliament by the main opposition, corruption in the public service sector, human rights violations and extra judicial killings were listed at a seminar in House of Lords last Monday as requiring prompt action from British government.
Below is an article published by The Daily Star:
The British government should stand ready to help Bangladesh in solving weighty problems, in the spirit of friendship, said Vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group of UK Lord Avebury.
Presenting a keynote paper at a seminar at the House of Lords in London on Monday, Avebury discussed various problems in Bangladesh including boycott of the parliament by the main opposition, corruption in the public service sector, human rights violation and extra judicial killings, lack of progress towards implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, and flaws in the war crimes act.
International Bangladesh Foundation organised the seminar titled "Bangladesh at Cross Roads", attended by members of the British parliament, lords, representatives of human rights organisations, academics, and members of overseas diplomatic missions based in London.
Issues of democracy, good governance, and human rights situation in Bangladesh were discussed in the seminar.
Avebury, also the chairman of the foundation, in his speech said if BNP joined the parliament, the party would have the chance of engaging the House over its demands like withdrawal of "false cases" against its leaders.
He criticised the incumbent government for its failure to act effectively against the endemic corruption which undermines the delivery of public services, extending even into the judiciary; and lack of progress towards implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997.
Avebury, who chaired the seminar, also expressed concern over extra-judicial killings by Rapid Action Battalion and other law enforcing agencies in Bangladesh.
Dr David Lewis of London School of Economics; Abbas Faiz, chief researcher at Amnesty International; and Brad Adams, director of the South Asia department of Human Rights Watch, highlighted the human rights situation in Bangladesh, while Dr Gowhar Rizvi, international adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Bangladesh's ruling party lawmakers Saber Hossain Choudhury and Abdul Matin Khasru represented their government.
A British MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, said Bangladesh should try war criminals, and BNP must support the process. But the trial should be in accordance with international standards, he added.
Expressing concern over the abuses by security forces, and extra-judicial killings by Rab, he criticized the government as none involved in such killings has been brought to justice yet.