Collective voice of Human Rights Defenders from Bangladesh

Published on 15 Feb 2017, 08:27 AM

Workshop in Dhaka and report of HRDs for the review of Bangladesh by UN HR Committee

Opening of the workshop (due to the security concern, participants faces and names remain confidential)

Bangladesh joined ICCPR through accession in September 2000. Its initial report, originally due in December 2001, was eventually submitted in June 2015 with almost 14 years of delay. Based on the submission of State’s first report on the implementation of ICCPR, the UN HR Committee has adopted the List of Issues (LOI) on Bangladesh at its 116th session in March 2016. CCPR Centre has been assisting the Coalition of CSOs and HRDs in Bangladesh since the submission of the initial report of Bangladesh, organizing a preparatory workshop with CSOs in October 2015 in Dhaka and facilitating submission of joint CSO report to the Committee for the adoption of LOI. The joint CSO report for LOI was submitted with the support of CCPR Centre in December 2016.

Since the adoption of LOI on Bangladesh by HR Committee, in which the concerns raised by the national CSOs and HRDs in their report was largely reflected, CCPR Centre has been working with the committed national CSOs and individual HRDs to prepare their reply to the questions and issues raised in the LOI and to submit updated information to the Committee for the review of Bangladesh scheduled in March 2017. Due to the increasingly difficult situation in the country concerning the security of civil society actors and HRDs, the process has been carefully coordinated.

As the crucial part of this preparatory process for the review of Bangladesh, a workshop was organized on 28 January 2017 in Dhaka in collaboration between CCPR Centre and the coalition of individual HRDs in the country with the purpose to consolidate their reply to LOI and finalise joint CSO report for the review. In total, about 15 HRDs, dealing with various issues related to civil and political rights in Bangladesh, have participated in the workshop in their personal and organizational capacity.

"Given the difficult situation in terms of freedom of expression, speech and freedom of belief and conscience all over the world which all HRDs are facing now, it is much more crucial than ever that we deliver our collective voice to the Committee. "

- Sultana Kamal, Chairperson, Center for Social Activism (CSA)

Joint report of the coalition of national HRDs

As the main result of the workshop, the joint report was submitted by the HRD coalition on 6 February 2017 with the support of CCPR Centre. Issues addressed in the joint report include:

  • Discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion and caste, as well as against minorities and indigenous peoples
  • Early / child marriage of girls
  • Enforced disappearance
  • Killing of bloggers
  • Torture
  • Violence against women including domestic violence
  • Human Trafficking
  • Threats and intimidation against journalists and human rights defenders
  • Freedom of religion, expression and association including restrictions on NGOs and trade unions
  • Birth registration and the rights of the child to nationality
  • Rights of indigenous peoples

Review of Bangladesh by the HR Committee

Based on the information submitted by the State party and other stakeholders including CSOs and HRDs, the UN HR Committee will review the progress of the implementation of ICCPR in Bangladesh on 6 and 7 March 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. CCPR Centre is facilitating the participation of two national HRDs in the review, while also organizing and coordinating the participation of civil society in general in the briefings to the Committee before the review.

The Committee will issue a series of recommendations as a result of the review after the closure of its 119th session.

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