Dec 14, 2006

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Bangladesh First Human Rights Violator in South Asia, ACHR Says

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ranks Bangladesh No. 1 violator for its use of extrajudicial killings and systematic attacks on the opposition.


Below is an abstract of an address by Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights at South Asia Foreign Correspondent Club:


SAARC Human Rights Report 2006: Address by Suhas Chakma, Director, Asian Centre for Human Rights at South Asia Foreign Correspondent Club, New Delhi


Bangladesh No. 1 Human Rights Violator in South Asia


New Delhi, 13 December 2006:


Covering eight member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), SAARC Human Rights Report 2006 analyses the human rights situation in the South Asian region in 2005. The report covers human rights violations by the governments and the armed opposition groups.

Human rights violations across South Asia are systemic, endemic; and torture forms part of the administration of justice. Prison conditions, which are overcrowded by 400% in some cases, reflect the true and deplorable condition of human rights in South Asia. While lips of the prisoners were sewed before producing them in the courts in Pakistan, a Dalit prisoner was tattooed Neevi Jaat, lower caste, on his back with a hot iron in a prison in Punjab, India.

According to the SAARC Human Rights Violators Index 2006, Bangladesh has been ranked No. 1 violator of human rights, followed by Bhutan (No. 2), Nepal (No. 3), Maldives (No. 4), Pakistan (No.5), Sri Lanka (No.6) and India (No.7).


Bangladesh: No 1 Human Rights Violator


Bangladesh has been ranked No. 1 violator because of the systematic attacks on the opposition and maximum number of peace time extrajudicial killings by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and other security forces with impunity. The RAB and other security forces were responsible for killings of 340 persons in alleged “crossfire”, an euphemistic term for extrajudicial executions.

The government of Bangladesh failed to protect the judges from the Jihadis and separate judiciary from the executive despite a Supreme Court order of 1999. At least two judges were killed and dozens were injured in the attacks within court premises.

Bangladesh was also ranked No. 1 violator of the rights of minorities. It continued to transfer the plain settlers into the Chittagong Hill Tracts in order to annihilate the identity of the indigenous Jumma peoples.

The Hindu minorities continued to be targeted and their religious freedoms were severely violated. The government failed to implement the Vested Properties Return Act of 2001 and the lands of Hindu minorities continued to be grabbed by force.

The security forces supported the activists of International Khatme Nabuat Movement to attack the Ahmadiyas, such as in the attack at Sundarban Bazar in Satkhira district on 17 April 2005.

Minority and indigenous human rights defenders were specifically targeted and their organisations were not granted permission to receive foreign grants. At least three NGO activists working on minority and indigenous issues, including Joshi Chakma, an indigenous activist with Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), were killed.

Bangladesh was the most dangerous place for the journalists. They came under attack from the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party activists, armed opposition groups, and security forces. At least two journalists were killed, 142 injured, 11 arrested, 4 abducted, 53 subjected to harassment, 249 received threats and 15 came under direct attacks and cases were filed against 130 journalists in 2005.

The full-version of this address is available here