Human Rights Condition in Bangladesh

Human Rights Condition in Bangladesh


The human rights condition determined by the social and political values and also with the economic condition. Most of the people of Bangladesh lead their life below the poverty line. The human rights of Bangladesh are separate from the western values. The condition of human rights of Bangladesh mainly detected by the condition of women child minorities and the role of security forces. International community mainly focuses on the role of security forces and severe violation of human rights. The constitution of Bangladesh provides enough space for rights of every individual human being. Traditional and religious value are on the focus on any discussion of human rights of Bangladesh. If any one try to evaluate the human right situation in Bangladesh he must acknowledge the traditional social and religious value of Bangladesh.

Human Rights

Human called scientifically as homo sapiens which means knowing man. On the other hand rights mention as recognized order  by  any political institution or particular philosophical theory. So, Human rights mention as———–

  • By born rights
  • Natural rights
  • Full freedom and autonomy of individual human being
  • Inalienable moral entitlement
  • Evolved over time
  • Varies from society to society,culture to culture
  • Recognized by int. community
  • Order of justice
  • Equal opportunity in every sphere of life of a human being.

Sources of Human Rights in Bangladesh

The constitution of Bangladesh is the main source of human rights on legal verdict. Because of different international treaties and as a member of UN Bangladesh should maintain some international rules and regulation. On the other hand traditional social and religious values are on focus on moral basis                                                           

Sources of Human Rights in Bangladesh:

The constitution of the people’s republic of BangladeshInternational organizations and treaties Traditional social and religious values

Human rights and the constitution of Bangladesh

The constitution of Bangladesh provides basic and fundamental rights for all human beings. It also ensure the full freedoms and particular space for all human being. Such as-

  • Article 27 ensure equality before law without any discrimination
  • Article 28 provide all rights without discriminating as race, sex, culture, religion etc.
  • Part 3 discuss about the fundamental rights and freedom for all human being such as freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of property, freedom of religion, free choice of employment and basic fundamental needs.

The constitution also provide some law which used by armed force to violate human rights.

  • Special power act(SPA) 1974 which provide chance to detained without any cause.
  • Section 54 of criminal code ensures arrest any civilian without any warret.
  • Emergency provisions 142-b ccn stop fundamental freedoms of people like freedom of movement ,freedom of association, freedom of press,freedom of property etc.

Human Rights in contemporary context of Bangladesh

Bangladesh held free and fair parliamentary elections with isolated irregularities and sporadic violence. The elections and subsequent peaceful transfer of power ended two years of rule by a military-backed caretaker government. In Bhutan, elections for the lower house of parliament completed the country’s transition to a constitutional and limited monarchy with genuine popular oversight and participation.

In Bangladesh, levels of violence declined significantly and the caretaker government oversaw successful elections, but the government’s human rights record remained a matter of serious concern. The state of emergency, which the government imposed in January 2007 and lifted on December 17, curtailed many fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to post bail. The government’s anticorruption drive was greeted by popular support but gave rise to concerns about fairness and equality under the law. Although the number of extrajudicial killings decreased, security forces committed serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, custodial deaths, arbitrary arrest and detention, and harassment of journalists. Some members of security forces acted with impunity and committed acts of torture, and the government failed to investigate fully extrajudicial killings.

Bangladesh reported acts of intimidation and abuse as well as increased scrutiny by security forces.

Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy of 150 million citizens. On December 29, the Awami League (AL) led by Sheikh Hasina Wazed won 230 of 299 Parliamentary seats in elections considered by international and domestic observers to be free and fair and marked by isolated irregularities and sporadic violence. The elections and the peaceful transfer of power that followed ended two years of rule by a military-backed caretaker government. Khaleda Zia, head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), stepped down as prime minister in October 2006 when her term of office expired and transferred power to a caretaker government to prepare for general elections the following January. In the wake of political instability in January 2007, President Iajuddin Ahmed, then head of the caretaker government, declared a state of emergency and postponed the elections, appointing the new military-backed caretaker government led by Fakhruddin Ahmed, the former Bangladesh Bank governor, who in July 2007 pledged that elections would be held by the end of 2008. Although civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, these forces frequently acted independently of government authority.

Although levels of violence declined significantly and the caretaker government oversaw successful elections, the government’s human rights record remained a matter of serious concern, in part due to the state of emergency that remained in place for most of the year and the failure to fully investigate extrajudicial killings. The state of emergency, which was relaxed temporarily in advance of local elections in August and finally lifted on December 17, curtailed many fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to bail. The government promulgated the Emergency Powers Rules (EPR) 2007 and Emergency Powers Ordinance 2007 to enforce the state of emergency. The anticorruption drive that the government initiated, while greeted with popular support, gave rise to concerns about fairness and equity under the law. For most of the year the government banned political activities, although this policy was enforced unevenly. There was a decrease in the number of extrajudicial killings by security forces, but they committed serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, custodial deaths, arbitrary arrest and detention, and harassment of journalists. Some members of security forces acted with impunity and committed acts of physical and psychological torture. Violence against women and children remained a serious problem, as did trafficking in persons.

International community and Bangladesh

Key members of the international community, such as the United States and the European Union, have expressed growing concern over the violence in the country. In particular, the international community has been pointing to the government’s failure to take action against militant groups. Only after the August bombings did the government appear to take the threat seriously. It initiated a massive crackdown, which resulted in an estimated eight hundred arrests. The most significant arrestee, Mufti Abdul Hannan, reportedly has admitted to ties with violent fundamentalist international Islamic groups.

The E.U. parliament issued a strong resolution in April 2005, pointedly stating that the RAB was responsible for extra-judicial killings while engaged in anti-crime operations. The United States has recently taken the lead on expressing concern at the situation in Bangladesh. In October 2005, sixteen U.S. lawmakers raised the issue of increasing political violence and recommended sending a U.N. team to investigate the allegations. India expressed its concerns as well and, in February 2005, refused to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit which was to be hosted in Dhaka, citing, inter alia, concerns over the security situation there.

In 2009 the foreign minister Dr. Dipu Moni of BD visit UN and assure them to stop the extra judicial killings and strong human rights commission.

Religious values in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a complex religious tradition and mix up with western and eastern culture. religious has a role to play in the context of BD.religion create some discrimination about the rights of women but he strong social values protect from a lot of human rights violation. For example, only Chicago faced 30,000 rapes within one hour loadsheding but BD is lot safer in this place. Proper maintenance of religious values can play a vital role to protect the HR in BD.

Women rights situation

Bangladesh is a Country with a population of about 140 million. The per capita income is about 363 Dollars. But more than 50% people live below poverty line.
The women are considered as a group of lagging behind. Though various laws and Acts have been made to protect them, they are easy prey to persecution, torture and injustice.


  • In Kushtia district, in the month of June alone, police and hospital records reportedly revealed that at least 19 women committed suicide and 65 more attempted suicide because of violence by their husbands or family members.
  • Thus we see that the women are victims of social & religious injustice. They are brought up in an environment of unfriendliness. Then again, the women fall prey to kidnapping. They are kidnapped and sold to different brothels. They are also trafficked illegally to other country like India, Pakistan and Middle East. Several type of such trafficking is there. About 123 women were found in India who was brought back to Bangladesh.
    About 6000 women were trafficked out of border every year. The task of recovering them, bringing them home and rehabilitate them is a mammoth task.
  • 50% of all over women discriminate in BD and victim of torture. if it rejoined with family and religious form of discrimination it raises up to 96%.
  • BD has some positive side also.24 wmen elected in last parliamentary election in 2008.separate local govt election also a success for BD.
  • The law prohibits rape and physical spousal abuse but makes no specific provision for spousal rape. According to Odhikar, there were 454 reported incidents of rape during the year, including 202 against women and 252 against children. According to human rights monitors, the actual number of rape cases was higher because many rape victims did not report the incidents due to social stigma. Prosecution of rapists was not consistent
  • Female prostitution was legal. Male prostitution was illegal, although local NGOs claimed it was common in the major cities. The authorities generally ignored the minimum age of 18, often circumvented by false statements of age, for legal female prostitution. The government rarely prosecuted procurers of minors, and large numbers of underage girls in prostitution worked in brothels. Local NGOs estimated the total number of female prostitutes was as many as 100,000. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimated in 2004 that there were 10,000 underage girls used in commercial sexual exploitation in the country, but other estimates placed the figure as high as 29,000. Trafficking of women internally and internationally remained a problem.

Condition of minorities

The recent press reports from different parts of Bangladesh on the alleged repression committed against the minority community, the Hindu community in particular, is regrettable and anti-human rights. In the last three decades, human rights abuses against the Hindu minority in Bangladesh have largely gone unreported. Sadly, Bangladeshi nationalism has not been fully successful to accommodate the Hindu minority with propriety.

The state religion of Bangladesh, as incorporated in the Constitution of Bangladesh by the former dictator cum President H.M. Ershad, is Islam. The purpose was to cash in religion for heinous political gains. About 87 per cent of the population of Bangladesh is Muslim. However, the minority Hindus, Buddhists and Christians have the right to practice their religious beliefs. Article 2A of the Constitution of Bangladesh clearly states that, “…other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in the Republic.”

  • In January 2004, the government succumbed to an ultimatum from their coalition partner, the Islami Okiya Jote, and from the extremist vigilante Khatme Nabuwat Movement to declare that Ahmadi people are not Muslims.Attacks on the homes and places of worship of Ahmadiyya are still prevalent, but the government has chosen neither to prosecute those responsible, nor discipline police officers who failed to protect victims. Other religious minorities have come under attack
  • DHAKA, June 14 (OneWorld) – A discriminatory law enacted decades ago in Muslim majority Bangladesh continues to deprive hundreds of thousands of minority Hindus of land rights, despite being repealed in 2001. Before Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971, West Pakistani military rulers had enacted the Enemy Property Act, 1965, to drive Hindus out to neighboring India after grabbing their lands. According to him, the share of landless households increased from 19 percent in 1960 to 56 percent in 19 During the year the government did not take any measures to implement the 2001 Vested Property Return Act providing for property restitution to persons, mostly Hindus, whose property the government seized after the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

Condition of indigenous people

Tribal people had marginal ability to influence decisions concerning the use of their lands. There was little progress in the implementation of the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracks Peace Accord. The government refused to cede responsibility for key functions such as land use and natural resources to local authorities, as the accord called for. Law and order problems and alleged human rights violations continued, as did dissatisfaction with the implementation of the Peace Accord.

  • The government allowed some mobile phone and Internet coverage to the three Hill Tract districts. Although the government cited security concerns as the reason for limiting coverage, human rights groups and local officials claimed that lack of coverage was also aimed at stunting the development of the region. The Land Commission dealing with land disputes between tribal individuals and Bengali settlers did not function effectively in addressing critical land disputes. Tribal leaders remained disappointed with the lack of assistance to those who left the area during the insurgency. Local human rights organizations alleged that security forces took advantage of the state of emergency to increase human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, against indigenous people.
  • The conflict continued between the Parbattya Chattagram Jono Sanghati Samity (PCJSS), which signed the 1997 Peace Agreement with the government, and the United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF), which is opposed to the Peace Agreement. There were no further updates regarding the 2007 killing of PCJSS activist Vinku Kumar Chakma.
  • There were no developments in the March 2007 arrest of UPDF members Bimol Bikash Chakma and Milon Bihari Chakma.Tribal people in other areas continued to report loss of land to Bengali Muslims. The government continued work on national park projects on land traditionally owned by indigenous communities in the Moulvibazar and Modhupur forest areas.
  • In February 2007 the government withdrew 16 temporary camps of security forces in the Rangamati area of the Hill Tracts. Since the signing of the 1997 Peace Agreement, the government has withdrawn 212 camps, leaving approximately 270 camps. The government did not conduct further withdrawals in the region.

Children condition

The government, with the assistance of local and foreign NGOS, worked to improve children’s rights and welfare, enabling the country to make significant progress in improving children’s health, nutrition, and education. Despite the progress, according to UNICEF slightly fewer than half of all children remained chronically malnourished.

  • One local human rights NGO, Mass Line Media, concluded from a survey in 2004 that an estimated 40 percent of all marriages could be considered child marriages. In an effort to reduce child marriage, the government offered stipends for girls’ school expenses if parents promised to delay their daughters’ marriage until at least age 18.According to the Bangladesh Child Rights Forum, 47 children were abducted, 154 were murdered, 388 were injured in various forms of violence, 115 were raped, 15 were victims of acid attacks, and 394 others were missing.
  • BNWLA rescued 232 trafficking victims from within the country and repatriated 545 others during the year. The actual number of persons arrested for trafficking was difficult to assess, as charges against traffickers were sometimes for lesser crimes, such as crossing borders without proper documents. According to the Centre for Women and Child Services, most trafficked boys were younger than 10 years of age, while most trafficked girls were between 11 and 16 years of age.
  • Child labor remained a problem in certain industries; it frequently resulted in the abuse of children, mainly through mistreatment by employers during domestic service, and occasionally included servitude and trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation abroad. According to a 2006 study by the Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies, attacks on children constituted more than 50 percent of the deaths, injuries, and sexual assaults reported among domestic workers during the year.
  • As many as 10,000 children were used in brothels for commercial sexual exploitation, and procurers of minors were rarely prosecuted.
  • Since 2005 a cooperative effort among NGOs, the government, and the UAE resulted in the repatriation of 199 camel jockeys, 198 of whom were reunited with their biological parents. Authorities from the government and the NGO community continued to monitor the repatriation, rehabilitation, and social integration of the former camel jockeys.

Police and security forces – torture and deaths in custody

The security forces, including army and paramilitary units deployed under emergency rule with the police, committed human rights violations with impunity, including torture and other ill-treatment and alleged extrajudicial executions. The police force was inadequately trained and equipped and lacked effective accountability and oversight mechanisms. Army personnel accused of human rights violations remained almost entirely outside the purview of civilian judicial accountability mechanisms.

  • Rang Lai Mro, a community leader in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, was arrested on 23 February and allegedly tortured by army personnel. He required hospital treatment for his injuries. He was charged with possession of arms and reportedly sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. In October he was reportedly taken back into police custody, beaten again, and once more needed hospital treatment. There was no reported investigation into the torture allegations.
  • Sahebullah was reportedly detained on 16 May by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel and tortured in the office of the director of the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. Both his legs were reportedly broken. He was arrested after demanding that a doctor attend to his wife, who had not been treated for 12 hours. She died the next day.
  • Law enforcement agencies were implicated in the deaths of more than 100 people in custody. No action was apparently taken to bring those responsible to justice.
  • Garo indigenous leader Cholesh Richil died on 18 May while in the custody of Joint Forces (army and police) personnel. There were strong indications that he died under torture. Three other members of the Garo community – Tohin Hadima, Piren Simsung and Protap Jambila – were arrested at the same time and reportedly tortured. The government set up a judicial inquiry into Cholesh Richil’s death, but there was no news about it by the year’s end.(amnesty int.)
  • In the year 2005 from 1st January to 30th December, 396 people were killed in whole country in the hand of law enforcement agencies. Of them, 111 people were killed by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), 258 people were killed while they were in police custody, 4 people were killed by Cheetah and Cobra (special police forces) and 23 people by other forces. It is important to note that, among the 396, who were killed by law enforcement agencies, as many as 107 were killed in the crossfire of RAB, 212 people were killed in the crossfire of police and 4 were killed in the crossfire of Cheetah and Cobra and 17 were killed by other forces, this means as many as 340 people were killed by cease fire.
  •      Four detained border guards have died in Bangladesh in the past two weeks in 2009.Amnesty international has called on the country’s authorities to institute an independent, impartial and competent body to investigate the deaths. The four members of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) were among hundreds of detained BDR personnel interrogated on suspicion of involvement in the killing of more than 70 people, including at least 55 army officers, during a two-day BDR mutiny in February.
  • On April 13, 2008 according to Odhikar, police arrested Fakir Chan in Maulvibazar on charges of mugging. Chan’s wife claimed that she did not have access to her husband while he was in custody and that a police officer told her that her husband would be released if she paid a 50,000 taka ($735) bribe. On April 19, police alleged that Chan fell ill and died while in custody.

Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

According to media reports, officials stated that over 440,000 people were arrested on various grounds during the year. Many detainees were detained arbitrarily, initially held under emergency rules, then served with a detention order under the 1974 Special Powers Act (SPA). Some were then charged with politically motivated criminal offences.

Some people held under emergency rules were accused of “extortion” or other criminal activity. Detainees included over 160 politicians from the main political parties, as well as some wealthy business people. A number of detainees held without trial under emergency regulations or the SPA were reportedly tortured or ill-treated.

  • Shahidul Islam, a human rights activist, was charged with murder on the basis of a “confession” by another detainee, Badrul, in February. This charge blocked the release of Shahidul Islam when his detention order under the SPA expired in late February.
  • Following clashes in August between law enforcement agencies and students in Dhaka and Rajshahi demanding an end to the state of emergency, 10 university lecturers from Dhaka and Rajshahi universities were detained. They were prisoners of conscience. Dozens of students were also arrested, accused of involvement in clashes. The six Rajshahi University lecturers were released in December but the four Dhaka University lecturers remained in detention.(amn. int)

Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary; however, in practice a longstanding temporary provision of the constitution placed the executive in charge of the lower courts, judicial appointments, and compensation for judicial officials. In November 2007 the caretaker government implemented legislation the previous government had developed separating the judiciary from the executive.

The court system has two levels: the lower courts and the Supreme Court. Both hear civil and criminal cases. After the separation of the judiciary from the executive, the government appointed judicial magistrates to replace the executive magistrates who had presided over the lower courts. The Supreme Court is divided into two divisions, the High Court and the Appellate Division. The High Court Division hears original cases mostly dealing with constitutional issues, and reviews cases from the lower courts. The Appellate Division hears appeals of judgments, decrees, orders, or sentences of the High Court. Rulings of the Appellate Division are binding on all other courts.

The EPR authorized the government to create special speedy anticorruption courts to adjudicate cases prosecuted by the Anticorruption Commission (ACC). Sentences from these tribunals could also be appealed to the High Court.

In 2005 a High Court panel rendered unconstitutional an amendment to the constitution that legitimized martial law in the 1980s. The prime minister’s office arranged for a stay, still in effect at year’s end, of the ruling because of its ramifications for the legacy of former president Ziaur Rahman, the late husband of the then prime minister.

Trial Procedures

The law provides accused persons with the right to be represented by counsel, to review accusatory material, to call or question witnesses, and to appeal verdicts. Cases are decided by judges rather than juries, and trials are public. In practice a public defender is rarely provided to defendants. Defendants are presumed innocent, have the right to appeal, the right to be present and to see the government’s evidence.

Corruption and a substantial backlog of cases hindered the court system, and trials were typically marked by extended continuances, effectively preventing many from obtaining a fair trial due to witness tampering, victim intimidation, and missing evidence. Human rights observers contended that magistrates, attorneys, and court officials demanded bribes from defendants in a majority of the cases filed under the Special Powers Act.

Alternative dispute resolution for civil cases allows citizens to present their cases for mediation. According to government sources, wider use of mediation in civil cases quickened the administration of justice, but there was no assessment of its fairness or impartiality. The Muslim Family Ordinance codifies traditional Islamic law concerning inheritance, marriage, and divorce for registered marriages for members of the Muslim community. There were similar sets of laws in place for the Hindu and Christian communities.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

Police are organized nationally under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and have a mandate to maintain internal security and law and order. Under recent governments, police were generally ineffective and reluctant to investigate persons affiliated with the ruling party. After the declaration of a state of emergency, the government formed the Joint Forces, composed of police, the RAB, the military, and other security agencies, and gave the special new teams responsibility for enforcing the state of emergency. The DGFI, a military intelligence agency, assumed the lead in enforcing the state of emergency by investigating corruption charges and interrogating suspects.

The RAB received human rights training through the UN Development Program; the UK government; and a local NGO, BSEHR. Although the RAB continued to commit serious human rights violations, the number of incidents involving the RAB dropped from the previous year.

The government took steps to address widespread police corruption and a severe lack of training and discipline. The Inspector General of Police continued to implement a new strategy, partially funded by international donors, for training police, addressing corruption, and creating a more responsive police force.

Political condition

political instability often caused of human rights 2006 world people saw the divastating political violation of logi-boitha which killed at least 9 people.2006, a total 310 people were killed, 8997 people were injured, 1216 people were arrested, and 93 people were kidnapped in connection to human rights violation related with politics. Among them in hill tracts 25 people were killed, 71 people were injured, 81 people were kidnapped, 2 were rapped, and 35 people were arrested as a result of human rights violation.

Political prisoners

By year’s end the ACC and the public prosecutor prosecuted 228 cases against high-ranking political officials, ranging from extortion and money laundering to murder. Although the government claimed these were legitimate charges, some were considered politically motivated.

In connection with this, the 2007 cases against Law Minister Moudud Ahmed remained pending at year’s end, although on September 9, the High Court released him on bail. Former Communications Minister Anwar Hossain Manju was convicted and sentenced in absentia to 13 years in jail and fined 100,000 taka ($14,500) after he left the country.

The trial against journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, detained for his attempted 2003 travel to Israel, began in June. While the case remained ongoing, the government allowed Choudhury to travel abroad.

Elections and Political Participation

Khaleda Zia, leader of the BNP, stepped down as prime minister in 2006. She had become prime minister following parliamentary elections in 2001, which international and domestic observers deemed free and fair. The 2001 elections, supervised by a nonparty caretaker government, took place in a climate of sporadic violence and isolated irregularities. The BNP formed a four-party coalition government with the Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Jatiya Party, and the Islami Oikko Jote; however, the BNP and the opposition AL dominated the political scene. At year’s end Zia and former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed of the AL had been released from prison but each was still facing corruption charges. In an address to the nation on September 20, Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed announced that the next national parliamentary elections would be held on December 18 and the upazila (sub-district) elections would be held on December 24 and 28. On November 2, the Chief Elections Commissioner amended the schedule by declaring that upazila elections would only be held on December 28. On December 3, in a compromise move, the EC agreed to hold national elections on December 29 and upazila elections on January 22, 2009.

Seven women were directly elected to the last parliament. Three women had the status of minister: Khaleda Zia, her sister (since deceased, she was the Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs) and Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Hasina, as the leader of the opposition party, enjoyed the status of a cabinet minister. Three of the 67 judges of the Supreme Court were women

Bomb attacks

Serious bomb attacks in 63 districts of the country on August 17, killing of two judges, and death of policemen and lawyers in bomb attacks on courts in Gazipur and Chittagong were also the major incidents. Sixty-two people were killed and 983 were injured in bomb and grenade attack last year. Among them, 30 were killed and 347 were injured in the attacks of religious extremists alone. During this time, some 881 suspects were arrested for their alleged involvement in grenade and bomb attacks across the country.

Disability Rights Bangladesh

A new forum under the banner of ‘Disability Rights Watch Group’ was launched march 06, 2009 to monitor the present condition of the people with disability and help implement the CRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) in the country.

  • The forum was launched formally at the initiative of the National Forum of Organisations Working with the Disabled (NFOWD) at the National Press Club in the city.
  • Forum Chairman Khandaker Jahurul Alam chaired the launching ceremony.
  • He said, “There are 16 lakh children with disabilities in the country who are now waiting for going to school, but we do not have the capacity,” he said.

AIDS and homosexuality in Bangladesh

Reported cases of HIV/AIDS are growing at an alarming extent, with over a million AIDS sufferers in Bangladesh. Whilst this rise of AIDS is not confined to Bangladesh in particular, the government is doing nothing to prevent the spread of AIDS and is not prosecuting police who rape homosexual men.

Homosexual acts remained illegal; in practice the law is rarely invoked.

There were some informal support networks for homosexual men, but organizations to assist lesbians were rare.

Attacks on homosexuals were known to occur but difficult to track because victims desired confidentiality; there was a social stigma surrounding homosexuality; and local human rights groups did not monitor the problem. There were few studies on homosexuality in the country. There were no reported cases of violence or discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients. NGOs believed this was partly a function of the refusal of victims to self-identify and an absence of research given the relatively low rate of HIV/AIDS in the country.

Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The BLA regulates child employment depending on the type of work and the child’s age. Because of widespread poverty many children began to work at a young age.

  • In 2006 the International Labor Organization (ILO) released a 2005 Baseline Survey for Determining Hazardous Child Labor Sectors, which estimated that of the 2.2 million workers in 45 targeted hazardous sectors, 532,000 child workers age five to 17 did hazardous labor. According to the survey, no children worked in ship breaking, manufacture of cigarettes, manufacture of pesticides, or fireworks manufacture during the survey period.
  • According to the study, child labor prevailed in hazardous establishments such as saw milling, battery recharging, welding, metal works, and carpentry. In addition, the report concluded that children were verbally and physically abused.

Acceptable Conditions of Work

The National Minimum Wage Board (NMWB) announced a new national minimum wage in 2007 for all economic sectors not covered by industry-specific wages at 1,800 taka a month ($26.50).

  • Given the low standard for minimum wages and high inflation, worker advocacy groups stated that none of the set minimum wages were sufficient for a decent standard of living. The NMWB convenes every five years in a tripartite forum to set wages and benefits industry by industry, using a skill-level range.
  • In the garment industry, wages were sometimes higher than the minimum required wages, due to skilled labor shortages. Wages in the EPZs were considerably higher than general national wage levels. It was also common practice for garment factories to force workers to work overtime, delay their pay, and deny full leave benefits.A standard work week is 48 hours but can be extended up to 60 hours, subject to the payment of overtime allowances. However, annually the average weekly working hours should not exceed 56 hours.
  • Workers must get one hour of rest if they work for more than six hours a day, one-half hour of rest if the worker needs to work more than five hours a day, and one hour’s rest at intervals for more than eight hours’ work in a day. Factory workers receive one day off every week. Shopworkers receive one and one-half days off per week

The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law protects the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively without interference, but that right was not always effectively enforced. The BLA includes provisions protecting unions from employer interference in organizing activities. Implementation of these provisions was uneven, and many private sector employers discouraged union activity. Some employers fired workers suspected of organizing or sympathizing with unions, placed informants in work areas, and intimidated workers with threats of violence.

The Director of Labor ruled on union-organizing discrimination complaints outside the EPZs. Throughout the year the labor court ordered reinstatement of workers who had been fired for union activities, but a large backlog of unresolved cases remained. Most workers in such cases, however, sought financial compensation rather than reinstatement. Of the 329 cases lodged during the year, only 10 to 15 sought reinstatement with the employer. Increasingly, labor disputes were settled informally prior to scheduled hearing dates in the labor court.

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Discrimination against Ahmadiyyas, Hindus, and Christians occurred during the year. However, there were no demonstrations by anti-Ahmadiyya groups during the year.

On March 15 and March 21, the Special Branch of police in Brahmanbaria prevented groups of Ahamadiyyas from holding a religious convention. Due to intervention by officials at senior levels of the home ministry, both conventions were held.

There were reports of attacks on members of minority communities, although many of these reports could not be independently verified and motives for such attacks–criminal, political, or religious–could not be ascertained.

On April 2, according to ASK, RAB officers and police severely beat Biman Chandra Bosak, vice president of Joypurhat District Bar Association, at his village. According to ASK, the attack on Bosak occurred after he filed a case against a Muslim neighbor who tried to seize land dedicated to a Hindu deity.

On April 12, according to Christian Life Bangladesh (CLB), members of an Islamist group attacked two Christian men at Rangunia as they were showing a film to build community awareness about arsenic pollution, child marriage, and other social problems.

In contrast to previous years, there were no reports of the military attempting to evict 120 Hindu families from land in the Mirpur area of Dhaka abutting the military cantonment. The eviction, based on a 1961 land purchase agreement by the military, was challenged legally, and the case was pending at year’s end.

Condition of refugee Problem

The, Bangladesh has become the unwitting victim of a massive human rights violation campaign in Burma (Myanmar). Thousands of Muslim refugees, perhaps more than 200,000 (the Muslim population of Burma is up to 16%), have been driven over the border through persecution and oppression, both at the local level and by the army, which claims to be trying to suppress all insurgency movements along the border. The refugees complain of killings, forced labour, forced destruction of their own homes and mosques, land confiscation, rape and various forms of torture.

  •  Bangladesh government has attempted to negotiate with Burma for the return of the refugees and has submitted lists of over 35,000 names, as requested by the Burmese authorities as a condition for return. Working with UNHCR, the government provided temporary protection to approximately 28,000 registered Rohingya refugees at two official refugee camps and to individual asylum seekers whom UNHCR interviewed and recognized as refugees on a case-by-case basis. According to international aid organizations active in the area, there were 200,000 to 500,000 Rohingyas not officially recognized as refugees living among the local population in the surrounding area of Teknaf and Cox’s Bazaar, including approximately 10,000 at an unofficial site. There were no repatriations of Rohingyas.
  • After the peace treaty more and less 65000 indigenous refugee backed from India but they have a problem of proper rehabitation.
  • Bihari problem also seemed a common refugee problem for Bangladesh though they included in the recent voter list in 2008. On May 18,2008  the High Court ruled that Biharis living in the country were citizens. Approximately 160,000-200,000 non-Bengali Bihari Muslims who immigrated to the former East Pakistan during the 1947 partition and who supported Pakistan during the 1971 war continued to live in camps throughout the country. According to Refugees International, many of these persons lived in unsanitary conditions with little access to education and medical resources. Some Biharis declined citizenship in 1972, and a minority was awaiting repatriation to Pakistan, where the government was reluctant to accept them. Many of the stranded Biharis born after 1971 assimilated into the mainstream Bengali-speaking environment.
  • In September 2007 the Election Commission (EC) announced it would permit Biharis who meet citizenship requirements to register to vote in the December 2008 elections. Approximately 80 percent of all adult Biharis, or 184,000, were subsequently registered

Human rights defenders

As in previous years, human rights defenders were subjected to arbitrary detention and torture. Lawyers were allegedly threatened with arrest on corruption charges if they took up high-profile cases.

  • Prisoner of conscience Tasneem Khalil, a journalist who worked with the Daily Star newspaper, CNN and Human Rights Watch, was detained on 11 May and reportedly tortured because he had supplied information on human rights violations.
  • Prisoner of conscience Jahangir Alam Akash, journalist and local head of two human rights organizations, was arrested on 24 October by RAB agents in the north-western city of Rajshahi.
  • Authorities did not investigate the January 2007 torture of Shahidul Islam, director of the NGO Uttaran, or the June 2007 torture cases of Mohammad Jamal Uddin and Mohammad Kajol.

Health and human rights

This paper broadly discusses the role of State in the context of human rights and the health system of Bangladesh. Section I conceptualizes the interrelation between human rights, health and development. Section II analyses the health system development in Bangladesh. Section III discusses how the health system development has not succeeded in progressive realization of health aspect of human rights and further contribution to under-development of Bangladesh. It also gives directions on what should be the government priority to uplift health rights in the context of Bangladesh.

The constitution of World Health Organization (WHO) focused upon relationships between health and human rights. It stated that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, social and economic condition” The Declaration of Alma-Ata of “health for all” in 1978 and the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986 further embraced the need for social and economic inputs to improve the health of the population. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1966 further enunciate the appropriateness of health and human rights for the well being of individuals and the family So there is profound affiliation between human rights and health.


Disappearances and kidnappings remained problems during the year. According to Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR), 504 persons were kidnapped during the year. An indeterminate number of these kidnappings were politically motivated.

Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law allows intelligence and law enforcement agencies to monitor private communications with the permission of the chief executive of the MOHA. The ordinance also gives the government, in the interest of national security, the authority to prevent telephone operators from delivering messages. The EPR strengthened the ability of the government to monitor communications, including telephones, cell phones, text messages and e-mail. In case of national emergency, the government can revoke any permit to provide communications services without providing compensation to the holder of the license, and in 2007 the government ordered cell phone providers to shut down service intermittently. According to media reports, the government established a national monitoring center made up of representatives from law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor and coordinate phone taps during the year.

Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press; however, the government used the EPR to curtail these rights. In September the government approved the Right to Information Ordinance allowing journalists and the public greater access to information.

·         Newspaper ownership and content were sometimes subject to direct restriction by the military’s Inter-Service Public Relations office and DGFI. Journalists reported being cautioned by DGFI against criticizing the government or the military.

·         In May editors from several media outlets expressed concern over the increased pressure on media freedom. According to Nurul Kabir, editor of the English language newspaper The New Age, an intelligence agency of the armed forces began giving instructions to editors of newspapers and television channels mandating that certain news should be published or broadcast and other news should not.

  • In September 2007 the Election Commission (EC) announced it would permit Biharis who meet citizenship requirements to register to vote in the December 2008 elections. Approximately 80 percent of all adult Biharis, or 184,000, were subsequently registered

·         Also in July 2008  the editor of Jai Jai Din was fired because he published a cartoon critical of Army Chief General Moeen Uddin Ahmed..

·         Attacks on journalists continued to be a problem. There was an increase in the number of journalists who were harassed, arrested, and assaulted by security personnel. According to Odhikar, at least 38 journalists were injured, four were arrested, 25 were assaulted, 30 were threatened, and six had cases filed against them. According to some journalists and some human rights NGOs, journalists engaged in self-censorship.

·         . Tasneem Khalil, former Daily Star journalist and researcher for HRW, continued to live in exile in Sweden following his May 2007 interrogation and torture by Joint Forces

·         Attacks on journalists continued to be a problem. There was an increase in the number of journalists who were harassed, arrested, and assaulted by security personnel. According to Odhikar, at least 38 journalists were injured, four were arrested, 25 were assaulted, 30 were threatened, and six had cases filed against them. According to some journalists and some human rights NGOs, journalists engaged in self-censorship.

·         On March 28, 2007 according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, plainclothes police in Durgapur arrested and assaulted Rabiul Islam, reporter for the Daily Sunshine, a Rajshahi-based newspaper, after he wrote stories implicating the Durgapur police in alleged corruption cases. The Durgapur police held Rabiul for 12 hours, tortured him, and extracted a confession from him before finally releasing him.

On March 28, 2008 according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, plainclothes police in Durgapur arrested and assaulted Rabiul Islam, reporter for the Daily Sunshine, a Rajshahi-based newspaper, after he wrote stories implicating the Durgapur police in alleged corruption cases. The Durgapur police held Rabiul for 12 hours, tortured him, and extracted a confession from him before finally releasing him.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

The prison system remained abysmal due to overcrowding, inadequate facilities, and the lack of proper sanitation. Local human rights observers considered these conditions to be contributing factors to custodial deaths.

·         According to Odhikar, 66 persons died in prison and 50 persons died in the custody of police and other security forces during the year. Of the total number who died, three died due to lack of proper care and 46 died of unnatural causes.

·         According to the government, the existing prison population as of December 31 was 75,480, or more than 278 percent of its official capacity of 27,146. Of the entire prison population, approximately one-third of the detainees had been convicted; the rest were either awaiting trial or detained for investigation.    

In 2007 the inspector general of prisons (IGP) took several steps to improve the prison system, including updating the jail code, reducing corruption and drug trafficking in prisons, limiting the use of full shackles on prisoners for reasons other than discipline, improving the quality of food, creating more prisoner

·         ocational training opportunities and literacy classes, and improving the morale of prison staff. The government also opened its first jail for women in Gazipur.

Internet Freedom

Although individuals and groups generally could engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, local human rights organizations reported continued government monitoring of Internet communications. Reporters without Borders claimed police monitored journalists’ e-mail. In addition, journalists and political figures detained by the Joint Forces reported they were forced to hand over their e-mail logons and passwords

Recently govt. banned you tube service in BD due to the mutiny of BDR.

Freedom of Association

The law provides for the right of every citizen to form associations, subject to “reasonable restrictions” in the interest of morality or public order, and the government generally respected this right. Individuals were free to join private groups.

 On September 7, the government relaxed the ban imposed on trade union activities under the state of emergency in January 2007 and allowed labor rights organizations to conduct activities on a very limited scale to allow unions to carry out financial and administrative tasks. For example, the new rules permitted gatherings of no more than 500 and stipulated that such gatherings must be held indoors and focused solely on labor issues. Neither the ban nor its subsequent relaxation affected the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) which was covered under separate legislation, permitting only “workers associations.” During the year the number of workers associations increased. The full lifting of the state of emergency on December 17 enabled trade unions to resume their normal activities.

Freedom of Religion

The constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and also stipulates the right, subject to law, public order, and morality, to practice the religion of one’s choice. The government generally respected this right in practice. Although the government was secular, religion shaped the platforms of certain political parties. Discrimination against members of religious minorities existed at both the governmental and societal levels, and religious minorities were disadvantaged in practice in such areas as access to government jobs, political office, and justice.

Shari’a (Islamic law) was not implemented formally and not imposed on non-Muslims, but it played an influential role in civil matters pertaining to the Muslim community. The Muslim Family Ordinance codifies issues such as inheritance, marriage, and divorce for registered marriages of members of the Muslim community. A Muslim man may marry as many as four wives; however, a Muslim man must get his first wife’s signed permission before taking an additional wife. Society strongly discouraged polygamy and it was rarely practiced.

Family laws concerning marriage, divorce, and adoption differed slightly depending on the religion of the persons involved. Each religion had its set of family laws. Under Hindu law, unlimited polygamy is permitted, and although there is no provision for divorce or legal separation, Hindu widows may legally remarry. There were no legal restrictions on marriage between members of different faiths.

Government protection of Ahmadiyyas continued to improve, although social discrimination continued. The High Court continued to stay the government ban on publishing Ahmadiyya literature, effectively allowing Ahmadiyyas to publish.

As in previous years, the government failed to prepare a list of property that the government expropriated from Hindus following the 1965 India-Pakistan War.

The government allowed foreign missionaries to work in the country, but their right to proselytize was not explicitly protected by the law. Some missionaries faced problems in obtaining visas or renewing visas. Some foreign missionaries reported that internal security forces closely monitored their activities. The government allowed various religions to establish places of worship, train clergy, travel for religious purposes, and maintain links with coreligionists abroad. The law permitted citizens to proselytize.

Freedom of Assembly

During 2008 the EPR banned public demonstrations and political gatherings and the government enforced the ban. There were, however, instances of street demonstrations by factory workers and political activists without prior notice.

On August 21, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) banned a planned march by the BNP-led four-party coalition. The coalition had planned to march to the Chief Adviser’s office in Dhaka to demand the release of BNP chairperson and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and her elder son Tarique Rahman.

Justice system

The government took steps to implement the Supreme Court’s 1999 ruling requiring separation of the judiciary from the executive, including amendments to relevant laws. On 1 November the new system came into effect. However, reports indicated that executive magistrates would retain some judicial powers.

Human trafficking

·         The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, trafficking remained a serious problem affecting men, women, and children. Trafficking in children for “immoral or illegal purposes” carries the death penalty or life imprisonment, and the government took measures for the expeditious prosecution of traffickers. During the year special courts dealing with incidents of repression against women and children adjudicated 30 cases. Courts convicted 32 persons and ordered life sentences for 22 convicted traffickers.

·         Trafficked women and children went to India, Pakistan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and destinations within the country. Men seeking work abroad as expatriate labor in countries such as Malaysia and the Middle East occasionally found themselves in exploitative situations of forced labor, with conditions including restrictions on movement, threats, and physical assault. Some women and children were trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation. Some children faced forced labor in the fishing industry, and entire families were subject to bonded labor throughout the country.

·       The ministries of Foreign Affairs, Expatriate Welfare, and Home Affairs worked closely with foreign donors to develop an action plan to combat labor trafficking and migration issues. In 2007 the Foreign Ministry issued new instructions to all consular staff worldwide on how to handle trafficking cases abroad and introduced training courses for director-level Foreign Ministry officials in labor trafficking issues. During the year 25 foreign ministry officials received training to enhance their capacity to protect the victims of human trafficking. In addition, 12 labor attaches received training on ensuring migrant workers’ rights and monitoring the compliance of contractual agreements in destination countries.

Death penalty

At least 90 men and three women were sentenced to death, and at least six men were executed only in 2008.(amn. int)

National Human Rights Commission sees the light of the day

This year before the Human Rights Day the council of advisers approved the National Human Rights Commission Ordinance 2007. The cabinet approved the ordinance to set up the long-awaited National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which will work like a national human rights watchdog. This NHRC was in the top priority of the successive political governments for long, to ensure that any rights violator is brought to justice. This NHRC can investigate human rights violations but is empowered to only settle issues or refer them to the court. This ordinance was passed when the state of emergency is going on.

In late 1994 the process of establishing these institutions was initiated. The Institutional Development of Human rights in Bangladesh (IDHRB) project was formally launched in 1995. The work of drafting a law was continued during 1996-2001 under Awami League government. Later BNP-led alliance government on December 10, 2001 formed the committee headed by the law minister to examine the prospect of setting up of the commission. In an international conference in 2004, the former law minister informed that difference of opinion among the ministers was delaying the constitution of the institution

After coming to office on January 11, 2007, the present council of advisors pledged to establish the commission to honour and institute human rights in the country. Foreign ministry placed a draft to this effect before the council of advisers on September 8. The law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry accordingly submitted the revised proposal, which the council of advisers approved on December 09, 2007.

Bangladesh: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review: Fourth session of the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council, February 2009

In this submission, Amnesty International provides information as stipulated in the General Guidelines for the Preparation of Information under the Universal Periodic Review: Amnesty International raises concerns over the Caretaker Government’s use of emergency regulations since January 2007 to bypass safeguards against human rights violations. The organization is also concerned about arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials, and impunity for human rights violations. Amnesty International makes a number of recommendations for action by the government.

From civil & political rights to social, economic rights and development

The human rights have recognized not only the civil and political rights but also the social, economic and cultural rights by giving importance to the latter through articulating and prioritizing rights to health, education, housing, and employment. Moreover, the fundamental tenet of the human rights is that every individual’s dignity should be protected being a human. This dignity merely means not only political liberty but also a guarantee of economic subsistence, cultural freedom and the provision of social services .In this context, the ICESCR deals with the State’s obligation to create affirmative conditions to facilitate human a member of this covenant BD needs concern about it.

State and social rights

The ICSCER gives obligation to the state authority to ensure social rights. In a particular socio-political, historical, cultural and economic environment; society, social structure, political process and the power relations try to alleviate human miseries. Moreover, the state structure can facilitate and guarantee the social human rights to every individual in accessing to essential levels of social services.

Human Rights are for everyone
Politically motivated statements and multifarious propaganda are spreading misconception about the oppression and leading the crisis towards a complicated ending instead of towards a fair solution. Whatever might be the extent of the incidents, it was clear that there was oppression on the minorities and that should be stopped immediately. All concerned should also bear in mind that a single instance of act of terrorism is enough to panic the people of a whole community, at least, psychologically. The Hindu minority has little effective leadership. Its only response to the situation has been to vote with its feet. The divisive and conservative approach of the community leaders, in fact, contributes to the growth of mutual disbelief and hatred.
The mere holding of periodic elections is not the only yardstick of measuring democracy or health of a society. Religious intolerance can alone destroy the fabric of harmony from the society. Any society that claims itself as democratic should have no place for communalism. As a new century begins, each segment of our society needs to ask itself certain questions. Is it sufficiently inclusive? Is it non-discriminatory? Are its norms of behaviour based on the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all kinds of related intolerance have not gone away. They very much persist in the new century and that their persistence is rooted in fear: fear of what is different, fear of the other, fear of the loss of personal security. And while it is recognized that human fear is in itself ineradicable, it is also maintained that its consequences are not ineradicable.

From my own point of view

Human rights condition is not so well because of the role of proper steps against violation of HR. here are some recommendations————

  • .Advocacy for incorporation and ratification of various international instruments by the government;
  • . Documentation and fact-finding of human rights abuses which includes custodial death, rape, torture, political repression and also repression of women, i.e. death/ torture due to non-payment of dowry, acid throwing etc.;
  • .Promotion of human rights education and literacy;
  • . fostering mass awareness on rights and duties;
  • .Mobilize and network with its members to enhance institutional capabilities of individual groups, organizations and agencies on human rights issues;
  • . Campaign and monitor for a free and fair electoral process to ensure voters rights;
  • .Organizing seminars, workshops and symposiums on various human rights and related issues and attend such programmes organized by others.
  • Recycle and reestablished traditional social and religious values.


The Human rights condition of Bangladesh mainly focused by the international community.The mainly focused on extra judicial killings,tortuer against women minorities repression. But there not focused on the traditional religions values. So   to improve the human rights condition of Bangladesh, the religion must plays a vital role which ensured by the government.