Feb 16, 2009

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Democracy Needed for Human Rights

Active ImageSpeakers tell forum that a democratic atmosphere is a must for human rights.




Below is an article published by : The Daily Star

Eliminating poverty alone cannot ensure human rights in a country, rather bodies like judiciary, national human rights commission (NHRC), and anti-corruption commission (ACC) must be made functional with full independence to ensure human rights, said the speakers at a discussion in the city yesterday [Dhaka].

They urged the government for a time-bound promise to implement Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace treaty, and ensure rights to women and minority people in the country.

The discussion was organised by Human Rights Forum at Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium to discuss the outcome of universal periodic review (UPR) meeting held in Geneva on February 3 [2009].

A 15-member delegation led by Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni represented Bangladesh at the meeting.

“At the Geneva meeting, the government did not mention anything about its promises made in election manifesto concerning human rights, and the government did not reply to questions regarding Chittagong Hill Tracts treaty,” said Barrister Sara Hossain.

However, different member countries of the United Nations made 33-point recommendation for Bangladesh to ensure human rights.

The speakers urged the government to discuss the recommendations of UPR meeting for Bangladesh in parliament and make time-bound pledges to implement them.

“It must be discussed in parliament how to make bodies like human rights commission, judiciary and anti-corruption commission functional and it is a must to ensure human rights in the country,” said Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Dr Iftekhar Zaman while taking part in the discussion.

“The government must have time-bound pledges over matters like bringing war criminals to justice to ensure human rights. Unless war criminals are punished for their crimes, only eliminating poverty cannot ensure rights to people,” said Executive Director of Ain O Salish Kendra Sultana Kamal.

She said the human rights issues should be dealt by law and justice ministry, rather than the foreign ministry as it makes the issue a diplomatic one rather than a human concern.

The speakers said unless a comprehensive democratic atmosphere is ensured, human rights cannot be established in the country.