Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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3/3/2011 Bangladesh (AllHeadlineNews) – A human rights group says the situation of religious and ethnic minorities in Bangladesh is appalling.
The annual Global Human Rights Defense report, released at a press conference in Dhaka, said
that women were subjected to incidents of assault, rape and institutional gender-based
violence in the form of extrajudicial punishments and arbitrary detention in the name of
their “safe custody.”
GHRD, based in The Netherlands, said that despite electoral promises of the new democratic
government led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina to bring about crucial change, religious and
ethnic minorities and women still remain vulnerable to abuse in the majority Sunni Muslim
country.
The report, presented by Shahnoor Islam, executive director of Bangladesh Institute for Human
Rights (BIHR), said that rights defenders continued to be threatened and many remained in
exile for fear of persecution should they return to Bangladesh.
Attacks against Hindus, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians, Dalit and ethnic communities persisted
in 2010, said Rabindra Ghosh, GHRD national observer for Bangladesh.
Pervasive among all the cases investigated was a lack of due diligence by the police,
impunity for perpetrators, and a general lack of justice for those attempting to pursue their
case.
“It can be argued that the changes instituted are simply cosmetic and remain solely in the
theoretical and legal sphere, providing a ‘human rights alibi’ for the government,” the
report said.
Dr. Mizanur Rahman, chairman of the Bangladesh Human Rights Commission, claimed that
extrajudicial deaths by an elite anti-crime squad have significantly curtailed since the
commission brought attention to the issue.