August 02, 2007

Tasneem Khalil is back in action

It is pleasing to know that the Bangladeshi journalist Tasneem Khalil who was detained by DGFI and later released after concerted protest and international pressure is again writing in his Blog.

Besides his stint in the Daily Star, the most popular English Daily, he was also the representative of CNN and Human Rights Watch in Bangladesh. Recently he could get out of Bangladesh under Swedish protection and now living somewhere in Europe.

In his blog he posts an open letter to Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, chief of Bangladesh Caretaker Government sent by Human Rights Watch which states among other things:
Your government knows who was responsible for Mr. Khalil’s torture – and that of many other victims – where they work, and where the torture centers are located. Your government knows that these are not isolated cases – an untold number of people are being tortured every day. As a matter of basic human decency as well as your obligations under international law, you must act to close down such torture centers without delay.

Human Rights Watch urges your government and the armed forces to take steps to protect human rights and follow the rule of law by:
# Immediately repealing the emergency regulations under the state of emergency and restoring fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.
# Charging or releasing those detained and give them access to legal counsel and family members.
# Restoring the right to petition for bail and challenge detentions.
# Using only official places of detention and end the use of irregular sites, such as the one maintained by DGFI, to prevent torture.
# Ensuring that those whose rights have been violated have an effective remedy before competent authorities.
# Allowing access by independent monitors to all places of detention.
# Prosecuting members of the army, RAB, police and other government officials responsible for human rights violations.

It is interesting to note that Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities of Dallas/Fortworth (HRCBM-DFW) is arranging an exhibition on human rights abuses on minorities in Bangladesh titled “Asru (Tears)”, which is co-sponsored by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT). The invitees include several US Congressmen and Bangladeshis like Shahariair Kabir, freelance journalist, and human rights activist who also faced detention and torture and the controversial Salah uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of Weekly Blitz and Human Rights Activist.

While this organization (HRCBM-DFW) tries to portray racism against Hindus by Muslims it fails to recognize that there are human rights abuses on Hindu Muslim alike because of lack of infra-structure enforcing rule of law and politicization of the security forces. Especially in rural areas money can win you almost anything and might is always right. But coloring the issues in a racial tone only divert attentions from the root of the problems.


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