BANGLADESH: UN expert shared concern over political Victimization of Religious Minorities

Posted on | april 2, 2012 | No Comments

Ms. Rita Izsak, Independent Expert on Minority Issues

I wrote to Ms. Rita Izsák, Independent Expert on minority issues, with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva; which brought a response from Graham Fox, Human Rights Officer, with the Mandate of the Independent Expert on minority issues; Special Procedures Branch, Groups in Focus Team. This is listed below, and below that original letter of appeal.

Dear Mr. Gomes,
Thank you for providing this information to the Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms. Rita Izsák, relating to the rights of religious minorities in Bangladesh. Your information has been provided to Ms. Izsak and we shall return to you should we have questions or require any clarifications. I apologize for the delaying in providing this response.

Information received is given close consideration as the mandate seeks to engage with national governments on issues relevant to the rights of minorities and ensure implementation of international and national human rights standards including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. Indeed Ms. Izsak has noted in her annual report to the Human Rights Council on 14 March that one of her priorities will be the rights and security of religious minorities and so your information is of particular relevance.

The tools available to thematic human rights mandate holders include to send communications directly to national governments seeking responses to issues of concern and your information may contribute to such action by the Independent Expert. This process is a confidential one and so we are unable to inform you about whether any such action has been taken until it is publicly reported to the Human Rights Council. Nevertheless, I would like to stress the importance of your information to this office and Special Procedures mandate holders and note that much information provided by non-governmental organizations is used as the basis for communications with national governments.

I thank you once again for providing us with this information which may also be shared with relevant colleagues at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.Best regards,

Graham Fox
Human Rights Officer
Mandate of the Independent Expert on minority issues
Special Procedures Branch, Groups in Focus Team

Here is the original letter that was sent by me :

February 12, 2012

Ms. Rita Izsák
Independent Expert on minority issues, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, [email protected]

Re: BANGLADESH: Minorities became the victims of political game in absence of rule of law and democracy

Dear Ms. Rita Izsák,
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the recent political victimization of the religious minorities of Hindu community at Chittagong in Bangladesh.

During the violence the Sri Sri Jagadeshwari Ma Temple and Jagannath Bigroho Temple at Nandirhat and Kalibari Temple at Sadar upazila was attacked. Sri Sri Jagadeshwari Ma Temple was burnt during the violence. Kazi Para Jame mousqe was attacked following the tension. On February 10th, authorities in Bangladesh clamped Section 144 banning public gathering at Hathazari amid mounting tensions after several Hindu temples were vandalised and torched there, according to the local media reports

Background
Clash on the procession of the founding anniversary of Loknath Sebasram:
On 9th February, morning Hindus in the area took out a procession to celebrate the founding anniversary of Loknath Sebasram
Hindus were using microphone and drums in the procession. When the procession was passing a mosque, Muslims in the mosque forbade the Hindus to drums because on that time Muslim people were worshiping in the mosque. While the Muslim asked the people in the procession to stop the drum at one stage, someone hurled a brick bat on the procession. An altercation took place at once which turned into chase and counter-chase when someone from the procession responded by throwing a brick bat. On the violence Aziziul Islam, Mohamaded Mamun and Mohammed Abul Kalam were severely hurted and later on they were admitted on a local hospital for treatment.

The incident was brought in notice to the local police and police organized a meeting between the two parties. A group of Muslims said that the meeting will be held in the mosque and the Hindus agreed. The meeting started in the evening. In the presence of police handful of miscreants vandalized a temple on the Loknath Sebasram premises when the meeting was underway.

Tensions that boiled over into violence
On 10th February 2012, the Tensions that boiled over into violence originated on 9th February morning, following rumors that a mosque had been attacked. Allegations have it that houses of Hindus in the area were also attacked, according to the media reports On 10th February 2012, morning, temples in the area were vandalized and shops owned by Hindus were torched and looted after madrasa students in the area gathered following an announcement through a PA system, according to the media reports. It was alleged that from 9th February evening to 10th February noon activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Chhatra Shibir incited the vandalism and arson of the temples, local people claimed to the media.

On 10th February, afternoon when the situation get worsen police had fired bullet and tortured protestors. Finally local police clamped Section 144 banning public gathering at Hathazari amid mounting tensions after several Hindu temples were vandalized and torched.

Inside Story
From reliable sources I have received information that the local police were directed by the top level of the government to allow the tension turned into violence. The whole mission was coordinate by the senior officials of Chittagong detachment of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). The Police were directed to let the tension turn into violence and keep silent until the tension turned into violence. The officials of Chittagong detachment of DGFI engineered the situations with the help of political activists of ruling government.

The incident shows that the policing in Bangladesh are highly politicized and far away from pro people and modern policing. Bangladesh police has notable records of practicing custodial torture, extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations. In absence of democracy and rule of law police became the murders used by the ruling government.

The security of the people of Bangladesh, specially the security of the minorities is impossible by the highly politicized police. In absence of rule of law, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) became very powerful tools of practicing illegal activities. DGFI is frequently used by the high officials of the government that includes the Prime minister of Bangladesh.

I have received credible information that a core team had form comprising selected pro Awami League officials from different detachment of DGFI. Apart from officials of DGFI, there are members from the National Security Intelligence (NSI) and very pro government high police officials. The team has planned to spread the religious violence in different minorities populated areas to turn the anti government protest. The core team was directed by the Prime ministers of Bangladesh while the opposition party is preparing for the mass protest; the core team has to spread religious attacks on religious and ethnic minorities to keep the focus of the media and international community on attacks and violent attack on religious and ethnic minorities.

Dear Ms. Rita Izsák, I am recalling the General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992, by which the Assembly adopted by consensus the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, and subsequent resolutions of the General Assembly and the Commission on the Declaration.

I am also recalling also its resolution 1995/24 of 3 March 1995 as well as Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/31 of 25 July 1995 and decision 1998/246 of 30 July 1998 on the mandate of the Working Group on Minorities of the Sub Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Along with that I am recalling Sub Commission resolution 2004/13 of 9 August 2004 on the rights of minorities and the recommendations.
I am Emphasizing the importance of the timely identification of human rights problems and situations involving national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in Bangladesh.

While there is no rule of law and in absence of democracy political parties are victimizing the minorities by spreading violence using its highly politicized police and intelligence agencies like DGFI And NSI.In this regard, I urge the urgent international intervention into the case to save the life and property of the minorities of Bangladesh.

AUTHOR: William Nicholas Gomes
URL: www.williamgomes.org
E-MAIL: williamgomes.org [at] gmail.com

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