Sunday, September 27, 2020 | ePaper

Government must care to respect human rights of our people

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EVERY four years, the United Nation's Human Rights Council reviews Bangladesh's human rights situation as part of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR). During the UPR process, member states of the Council take stock of how Bangladesh is performing, and accordingly give recommendations to the country, which can either be implemented or rejected.  Last year, Bangladesh was reviewed and it agreed to implement 178 of the suggestions to improve the human rights situation.  This included ending underage marriage, strengthening the National Human Rights Commission, drafting an anti-discrimination law, investigating all cases of murder of journalists and enforced disappearances. There has, however, not been any perceivable implementation of many of these.
For instance, no amendment has been made to the Child Marriage Act. According to UNICEF data from 2017, 59 percent of girls in Bangladesh are married before the age of 18. A summary of their 2019 data says 51.4% get married before 18. While this can be considered an improvement, rights activists maintain that revision of the law is crucial for any visible change to take place. Regarding women's rights, the government had also accepted seven recommendations to protect migrant workers. The government had also done nothing for the informal female workers. The Council recommended that Bangladesh would investigate and prevent enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. But rights activists say there has been no effort in this regard. At least 92 people were disappearance and 23 of them are still missing, claimed different rights bodies, adding that 429 other people were killed in crossfires or gunfights by law enforcers.
The issue at hand here is that there is no nationally coordinated effort to implement the Council's recommendations. In fact our government is so sovereign that it feels no responsibility to care for respecting our constitutional rights. The government has denied our people the basic human rights of electing their government. The people without voting right cannot have any human or constitutional right to secure. It is police or vengeful justice to do politics with police cases.

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