Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bangladesh Govt Rejects US Report

Bangladesh government has issued a statement rejecting US Human Rights report that portrayed the worsening rights records in Bangladesh under the army backed caretaker government. The government claims that the report lacks balance and does not fully speak for the government's numerous initiatives to uphold law and human rights. Bdnews24 reports,
Dhaka, March 13 (—The government Thursday expressed disappointment over what it said was lack of balance in the US State Department's report that pointed to the worsening human rights condition during the state of emergency in Bangladesh.

In reaction to the Human Rights Report 2007, released Tuesday in Washington, the government said the report had failed to mention the reform measures taken by the caretaker government for "consolidating and sustaining democracy".

The US report made a string of observations about alleged human-rights violations and other developments about the state of emergency.

"In accordance with its constitutional obligation, Bangladesh is committed to upholding human-rights of all citizens," the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement Thursday.

"All including the international community knows the circumstances which led to the declaration of the state of emergency in early January 2007," the statement mentioned.

"It is understood that during the state of emergency some fundamental rights remain suspended. However, the government is extremely careful about enforcing such provisions so that the fundamental rights are not infringed," the statement added.

However, the government statement said, the US report acknowledged various reform initiatives taken by the caretaker government, such as separation of the judiciary from the executive, revision of the Police Act with "adherence to human rights" and "several major steps to improve the prison conditions".

"The report duly noted that there was a significant drop in the number of extrajudicial killings, introduction of special training courses on human rights for the members of law-enforcement agencies including RAB."

The government statement also said the US report noted persons charged with criminal offences receiving due process, freedom of religion and "enhanced government efforts" to combat human trafficking and improve labour conditions.

The report further acknowledged the government's efforts to relax the extent of limitations placed on the media by the emergency powers rules.

"The government is, however, disappointed at the report's lack of balance as evidenced in its failure to mention the significant reform measures taken by the caretaker government for consolidating and sustaining democracy."

The measures, according to the government statement, include restructuring and empowering of the Election Commission, the Public Service Commission and the Anticorruption Commission.

"The report could further mention the initiatives taken with a view to establishing a National Human Rights Commission and promulgating Right to Information Ordinance," the ministry said in the statement.

"These landmark reform initiatives would significantly improve democratic practices leading to promotion and protection of human rights in a sustained manner."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Prisoner of Dhaka

Well John as always you write well, and you have good intentions, BUT I think even though the case of Moudud Ahmed is very sad-----no due process for an ex law minister-----the irony!, you have to understand the background of the country, and the over all situation/HISTORY. This is not a justification of his poor treatment, and at a personal level I do not know him, or his life history, but an attempt and explaining the deeper wider issues which finds him in such a sorry state.

First Bangladesh is a British managed puppet state-----and most of the leading political actors from the BNP, Awami League head to London for their political approval or policy ideas, or to invest their loot taken from the poor people of Bangladesh.

A good deal of the state structure is also trained by the British, most notably the army, where each year the best cadets from the army are sent to train at Sandhurst. So the military elite is British orientated.

Also lets not tut tut righteously, and say quietly to ourselves that this is another case of a Third World banana republic being brutal to its own---and shrug. As with the above point we should ask who controls the local Third World actors who does these things? To what extent is the brutality in South America, Africa and Asia the manifestation of local actors or the hand of Western corporations and government agencies?

As to Britain, what it has done in the UK, most notably in Northern Ireland and in other instances, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan is far worse than what the military regime in Bangladesh is doing, or has ever done. The Bangladesh military is disciplined, and the country does better under military rule.

I myself tried to practice as a Barrister in Bangladesh in 2002, in the Chambers of Tawfik Nawaz? Well known and clean Barrister. I experienced many many difficulties, as a result of which I had to leave the country eventually----the BNP was in power then, and the British were as active as ever.

The people of Bangladesh must eventually find their 'freedom' from the clutches of the British neo-imperialists, and the genocides exacted by that imperial power upon the poor wretched people of that country and region.

You have done great work for Bangladesh and her people, and I honor you for that. But permit me to educate you a little about the wider issues, which finds the country in such a state.

These are random factors which have effected adversely the attitude of the British state towards the people of Bangladesh. It is not meant to be a criticism of the British people, or even 99.999% of the population, but rather a criticism of the bureaucrats and elite around London who formulate policy which have adversely affected the fortunes of that country:

* The 'Black hole of Calcutta' 1757 incident falsely used by the British to justify their conquest of India-----'The dreaded Bengaali' 'The evil conniving slippery Bengali......' 'The Bengaali Babbu know it all' mainly directed as Hindu Bengalis.
* The history of British rule in Bengal started off badly and only got worse. Bengal was the 'Pearl of India' in the eighteenth century, and only after 50 years of British rule, after they had plundered it, it became the poorest state in India. In 1769 in order to grow cash crops like Indigo and jute, farmers were banned from growing rice, and as a result 10 million people died----Warren Hastings was taken to trial for this but was cleared. Misrule continued in the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. In 1943 just when it seemed the Japanese were about to Invade India from the East, the British surrounded the state of Bengal, passed laws prohibiting rice imports from surrounding states, sent agents to buy up the rice in Bengal and ringed the state with police and paramilitaries to forcefully starve and kill 3-6 million people, and thus keep 'control' of the state------on the assumption that there 'might' be rebellion. You understand the callousness and paranoia of the Raj.
* The British are color averse, speaking as one who has grown up in the UK. Most Bengalees are brown to dark brown people of Indo-Burmese stock---80%, 20% Indo-Aryan. Racism defined British rule in Bengal, and still does. It is no coincidence that the British empire entirely involved subjugating and exploiting people of color.
* Britian is an Islamophobic country traditionally---Crusades etc. It becomes more Islamophobic with the Jews of London and their control of the media, and the creation of Israel.
* Bengal was the first major Indian state to experience British rule. With it came Western ideas and knowledge. Put together this with Brahmanical education in high caste Hindus, and what you had was a major advancement of high caste Hindus taking advantage of Western education, and fusing it with Indian knowledge, from the eighteenth into the nineteenth century. Thus naturally these new breed of educated Bengalis become conscious of themselves and they spear headed the intellectual drive for independence. The political class for India's independence was dominated by Hindu Bengalis, and it irritated the British no end---------just another evidence of the 'dreaded Bengaali'. The Bengaali Hindu political class defeated early British efforts to divide the state of Bengal along religious lines--1905-----1912. After the British created the Muslim League in Dhaka, East Bengal in 1905. The British in a huff in 1913, took the capitol of the Raj from Calcutta to Delhi, as far away as possible from the 'dreaded Bengaali'.
* 1857 Indian Liberation war. Of the three armies of the Raj, which controlled India, it was the 139,000 strong Bengal Presidency army which rebelled and fought the British. There after Bengalis and especially Brahmins were banned from being recruited into the Raj army. The Liberation war created further animosity, as there were wide scale fighting and extreme brutality by both sides against armed forces and civilians alike-----Severe British brutality against locals and harsh police tactics, similar to those of the Ulster constabulary continued right up to independence in the states of Bihar and BENGAL---two of the most impoverished states of India, and areas of continued rebellion even now by Naxals--it has become part of the culture, inherited from the British.
* From 1919--1947, there was renewed armed struggles by armed groups of Bengali fighters against the British. In that time two British governors of Bengal were assassinated, along with many civil servants and police.
* The great Indian political leader from Bengal Subhas Bhose who advocated Indian independence through armed struggle, with foreign assistance appeared on the Burmese border in 1944, with an army of 40,000. They were defeated by the allies, but the psychological effect on the British and Indians alike was tremendous, and one of the key factors the British judged it was time to leave India.
* The British as part of their divide and rule policy created many frictions in Indian society. One of these was the creation of prejudice and friction between states in India. They deliberately propagated the image that Bengalis as sly and not be trusted. Things associated with poor character. This had adverse affects after independence when the Punjabi dominated government of Pakistan took over, where the majority of the people of the new nation of Pakistan were 'Dreaded Bengaaalis' 56%. And so this artificially created state by the British just couldn't gel, and whilst Bengalis couldn't become leader of overall Pakistan, they couldn't even become leaders of their own part of the country-----continuation of colonialism. When the Punjabis finally left East Pakistan in 1971, they left with a vengeance, not something one would characterize with true fellow countrymen and fellow Muslims. The British had educated the Raj army well. See the performance and behavior of the Pakistan army in Baluchistan and FATA.
* ............there are other stufff...but its a bit out there........

Because of these factors, the country has experienced many problems since 1947:

* The very first governor of East Pakistan was a British Civil servant, because the political leadership of the country was marginalized, or not allowed entry from India, whilst the British consolidated their new artificially created country---Pakistan.
* Then West Pakistanis ran East Pakistan like a colony, with all its heads being non-Bengalis, right up to 1971. This is stuff you are well familiar with, so I won't go over this too much except to say that during British rule of the sub-continent, they encouraged differences between the various states. So the 'marshal race' Punjabis who were recruited into the Raj army were indoctrinated into hating/looking down on Bengalis.
* Then there was the 1971 war, and all the devastation that came with that.
* The 1971 December 13th massacre of the 270 Dhaka intellectuals of professors, journalists and artists seems on the surface like a ISI covert op. using Islamic fundamentalists nutjobs, but when you look at the issue in greater depth (Channel 4 did an excellent documentary on this event in 1997, and I encourage you to watch it) it looks like the orders came from the ISI masters in London. Most of the Islamic fundamentalists who did the dirty deed, including their leader went on to live in London, and ran a Mosque in the East End, until the channel 4 program exposed them. The leader of the group, Moinuddin Khan was invited to 10 Downing street and shook hands with the PM, John Major. I hope John you do a thorough investigative report of the links between the British state, with Islamic fundamentalists going back to the last century, and how local intelligence agencies use such people, in Third World societies. It ties in with Australia, especially under Howard.
* From 1972-75 Bangladesh went through a very difficult period of destabilization, and an eventual coup, backed by the USA overtly, and the UK covertly. John I don't know how much you are into elite 'conspiracies', but if you are into the NWO thing, and that the Rothschilds of London are the main operators, and people like Brzezinski and Kissinger their tools, then you will understand the picture of why Shiekh Mujib ur Rahman was invited to the UK in 1975, and then upon his return when all the pieces for the coup were set, the army massacred his entire family including a child of a few years. That just about sums them up doesn't it? Without being too narrow, if you really are into explaining the problems of Third World societies then all you have to do is look at the 'The City' and the Rothschild's, whilst developing a strong conscience saying that 'I'm not anti-Semitic'----merely objective, looking at cause and effect.
* Then General Zia ul Rahman.1975--81...............some stability and development. He himself was not corrupt but he did out of insecurity allow corrupt men into his cabinet----setting a bad example for future democratic governments. He armed and politicized the students unions---very very dangerous. He allowed British military trainers into the country after an absence of 30 years in 1977----unforgivable, on the advice of the Callaghan Labor government! He focused development of the nation on a Western model not suitable for Bangladesh from the 1950's, when instead he should have invested heavily into infrastructure; education; export and industry----in addition focus on institution building of the bureaucratic center---strong anti-corrupt efficient state institutions----the secret of Singapore's success, and not democracy. He squandered the huge amounts of help the Carter administration gave him---maybe we should not expect too much from a military man with minimal education. Relations deteriorated with India during his tenure. He was invited to the UK on a state visit, whilst in the UK the pieces for the coup was fixed by the UK, and he was killed upon his return in 1981 by the UK. Indira Gandhi partly got the blame!
* General Ershad 1982-90. Not corrupt, built up the countries infrastructure, and some development took place. He was a womanizer, but not a major problem all things considered. Lost power in 1990, after a popular uprising.
* Since then we have had the two women, in democracy constantly bickering about the past, with no real development.

Obviously Bangladeshis can't go through history blaming their national problems on the British significant as it has been, but sooner or later they have to take matters into their own hands. With a population of 150 million, rising to 300 million by 2050, sooner the better.


Mostaque A Ali.