The Daily Star
Committed to PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO KNOW
Vol. 5 Num 530Wed. November 23, 2005
London HR meet says persecution, harassment exist in Bangladesh
There is ample evidence of persecution and harassment [in Bangladesh]” and “To say persecution doesn’t exist, is itself a terrorism, speakers at a human rights conference on Bangladesh in London said.
Speakers made the comment on Monday in the launching of a report titled ‘Cancer of Extremism’ at the UK House of Parliament based on an international conference ‘European Human Rights Conference on Bangladesh: Extremism, Intolerance & Violence’ held in June this year.
Lord Avebury, vice-chair of Parliamentary Human Rights Group and chairman of International Bangladesh Foundation, presided over the event inviting representatives of persecuted groups to report, a UK Parliamentary Human Rights Group press release read.
Representatives speaking at the event were Prasanta Barua from the Buddhist community, Anukul Talukder from the Hindu community, James Swapan Peris from the Christian community, Ina Humes from the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Prof Salim Malik from the Ahmadiyya community.
Giving examples of violent persecutions against their own communities and inaction about the perpetrators, the speakers demanded immediate action from the Bangladesh government, the press release read.
At the conference, Bangladesh government delegation lead by Bangladesh High Commissioner to UK Sabi Uddin Ahmed and lawmaker Khandakar Mahbubuddin Ahmed, also the chairman of Law and Parliamentary Committee of Bangladesh Parliament, denied all the charges and accused the organisers of acting against the interest of Bangladesh.
The accusing speakers did not substantiate their claim, rather, they tried to intimidate the government spokesmen when they were speaking, Bangladesh Press Information Department said.
Robert Evans, member of European Parliament (MEP), Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch, Abbas Faiz of Amnesty International, Maggie Bowden of Liberation, Prof Werner Menski, Jeremy Corbyn MP and Awami League leader Saber Hussain Chowdhury also spoke in the programme.
Prof Menski said, ‘to say persecution doesn’t exist itself is terrorism’, and ‘disappointed to hear of denial from the Bangladesh Govt representatives’.
There is ample evidence of persecution and harassment and he would raise the matter at House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn MP said.
“We must keep an eye on Bangladesh due to growing extremism,” Charles Tannock MEP said.
Extremists showed their muscles again in August when nearly 500 bombs exploded simultaneously throughout Bangladesh and again in October when there were attempts on the life of judges, Lord Avebury said.
He added that the newly formed Bangladesh International Foundation may conduct an analysis of the political environment in which the 2006 elections will be held by looking at the security of candidates and election workers and the freedom of assembly.
He also suggested that it might send a delegation to Bangladesh.
The foundation will take up the matter with UN Anti Terrorism Committee [formed in pursuance to Security Council (SC) Resolution 1373 in 2001] to get involved as SC Resolution 1373 addresses a number of terrorism related issues that are relevant to the recent developments and the current situation in Bangladesh.