Speakers at a virtual press conference yesterday called for ending violence in the name of religion, mob lynching, attacks on religious minorities’ home and the growing incidents of violence against women and girls. They urged to ensure rule of law, human rights, accountability and justice.
Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB) organised the conference and presented a 17-point demand, including ensuring proper trial and punishment for the perpetrators of the brutal incident in Patgram through an impartial investigation, necessary treatment for the injured and security for both families, providing necessary training and guidance to public representatives and religious leaders to prevent the violent behaviour of agitated people.
They also demanded that proper steps be taken against religious leaders who spread hatred through various provocative propaganda, and a fair and impartial investigation should be conducted into the incident of attack on a Hindu household in Cumilla.
Expressing grave concern over the Cumila incident, Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir said Bangladesh is a culturally diverse country, and ensuring the rights of every citizen is the responsibilities of the state and the government. “Why will they think of themselves as second-class citizens?” she asked.
Shamsul Huda, executive director of Associations of Land Reform and Development said time has come to move in an integrated way, as the state, government, civil society organisations and political parties should come forward to put an end to such violence.
Mainstream political parties should also be engaged through discussion and they should promise to stop such issues and their promise must be reflected in their work, he said.
Ain O Salish Kendra’s senior deputy director Nina Goswami expressed concern about the silence of responsible authorities, as they did not assure that necessary actions will be taken about the mob lynching incident.
“In a society, where 31 people are killed in mob beating, how can we talk about human rights there?” she asked, demanding a human rights-friendly state.
HRFB steering committee member Ranjan Karmaker, also the executive director of Steps towards Development, expressed grave concern over the increasing incident of violence against women and urged the government to ensure awareness and justice for rape, and criminalise marital rape by reforming the law.
Sanjeeb Drong, president of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, said law enforcement agencies should initiate action against the rape of indigenous women and land grabbing of indigenous minorities.
We strongly demand a Minorities Rights Act and a Minorities Commission to protect the rights of indigenous minorities, he said.
Transparency International of Bangladesh (TIB) executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, a member of HRFB highlighted that judiciary institutions should remain free from political biases. He also spoke on the importance of ensuring skill development opportunities and appropriate budget allocation for these organisations.
The press conference was moderated by Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), who is also a member of the steering committee of HRFB.