Friday, December 11, 2009

AHRC urges government

Overhaul criminal justice mechanism to ensure HR

By Bangladesh Media; The Bangladesh government should initiate a systemic overhaul of the criminal justice mechanism in order to establish human rights. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a Hong-Kong based non-governmental organisation, said this in a statement on the occasion of the World Human Rights Day yesterday.

The government must also ensure an immediate restoration of the right to free speech, as in absence of this right any act will fail to work effectively for the lack of complaints, it added. Stressing the need to ensure human rights of common people, the commission said human rights in Bangladesh only exists in the pieces of papers such as the constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It said Bangladeshis have been suffering from gross violations of human rights, including custodial torture, extra-judicial killings and various other violent forms of abuses unabatedly throughout the decades.

"The government has guaranteed the UN a 'Zero tolerance' to extra-judicial killings and restoring human rights to common people. Now is the time for the government to act," said the commission. It called on the government to do away with the impunity to the security forces for their human rights violations by enacting the Torture and Custodial Deaths (Prohibition) Bill 2009.

"In Bangladesh, World Human Rights Day survives in rhetorical speeches and statements in the decorated rooms without reaching millions of the ordinary folks who even unknowingly struggle for basic human rights," said the statement.

It also said the people continue to live under perennial poverty and are compelled to deal with the arbitrary abuse of power by the government and non-government agents alike. "Even more regrettable is the fact that no redressal mechanism for their grievances exists," it added.

"The powerful perpetrators not only violate their rights and dignity at will, but also deny them their right to freedom of expression. They render the victims as helpless as not even being capable of speaking, leave alone lodging a complaint."

The commission also called on the civil society organisations to inculcate a human rights mindset with a commitment to the cause of defending the rights of people.

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