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Bangladesh

    November 07, 2017

    How can Bangladesh cope with the influx of 600,000 Rohingya?

    Published from the The Washington Post

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/11/06/one-of-the-worlds-poorest-countries-confronts-a-genocide-on-its-doorstep/?utm_term=.c2570b32bff9

    Omar Waraich is deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International

    COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — They may be out of harm’s way, for now, but their ordeal continues. Over the past two months, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar, also known as Burma, to seek shelter in Bangladesh. Not since the Rwandan genocide has a humanitarian crisis unfolded so fast and on such a scale. If one counts the hundreds of thousands who were already based here, driven out by earlier waves of violence in Rakhine state, there are now more than a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

    October 20, 2017

    More countries need to step up and pledge their support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International said today.

    The meeting of high-level representatives of donor countries at the UN’s office in Geneva on Monday must include pledges of new money, including from countries in the region, to support rising numbers of Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.

    The recent influx estimated to be nearly 600,000 people has brought the total Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to more than 800,000.

    “This is an unprecedented crisis that needs an immediate and sustained response from the international community. This means that more countries, particularly those from the region, need to play a much bigger role and share the burden of responsibility. Bangladesh, a poor country which has shown extraordinary generosity, cannot be left to deal with this situation alone,” said Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    August 30, 2017

    Responding to the news that 18,000 members of the predominantly Muslim Rohingya community have fled fighting in Myanmar to seek safety across the border in Bangladesh, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

    “These people are searching for safety in desperate circumstances. The human rights abuses in Rakhine State have forced them to leave and make it impossible for them to return any time soon. The authorities in Bangladesh must not close the border to those fleeing – they must keep the border open for their safe passage and offer the Rohingya all the necessary assistance they need.”

    Background

    Amnesty International’s call on the Bangladeshi government comes as the International Organization for Migration has said that 18,000 Rohingya have fled fresh violence in Myanmar into Bangladesh.

    August 04, 2017
    Good news! All 28 men arrested on suspicion of being gay are now free

    Twenty-eight men were arrested during a social event on May 19, 2017 in Kerinaganj, a town south of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Why? Though the individuals were detained on suspicion of violating the Narcotics Control Act 1990, Amnesty International believes that the arrests were due to the fact that the gathering was known to be frequented by gay men.

    Twenty-three of the men were granted bail in June. The remaining five men were released on bail on July 21. Amnesty does not know if any conditions were attached to the bail. 

    The men do not appear to be facing imminent danger any longer. Amnesty International will continue monitoring the situation, and respond accordingly if there are any developments.

    Background: 

    July 04, 2017

    The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to trace the whereabouts of and recover a prominent writer who has been abducted and may have been subject to an enforced disappearance, Amnesty International said today.

    Farhad Mazhar, a prominent columnist, poet and political analyst, was taken from outside his home at approximately 5am this morning by a group of unidentified people. Half an hour later, his wife, Farida Akhtar, received a haunting phone call from Farhad, when he is reported to have told her: “They are taking me away, I’m afraid they will kill me.”

    “The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to locate Farhad Mazhar, bring him back to safety and hold the perpetrators accountable,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “Far too many people have gone missing in Bangladesh over recent years without any further news of their fate. The government must end impunity for these abuses.”

    May 02, 2017

    The Bangladeshi government has not only failed to protect dissenting voices or hold accountable the armed groups that threaten them, it has also stifled freedom of expression through a slew of repressive tactics and new laws, according to a new Amnesty International report published today.

    The report, Caught between fear and repression: Attacks on freedom of expression in Bangladesh, documents how armed groups have thrived in a climate of impunity, carrying out a high-profile spate of killings of secular bloggers with few consequences. In four years, only a single case has resulted in convictions.

    Activists also regularly receive death threats, forcing some of them to leave the country for their own safety, while the authorities have refused to offer them protection.

    Over the last year, the Bangladeshi government has also intensified its crackdown on public debate and criticism, harassing media workers, interfering with their work, and bringing criminal charges against them under draconian laws.

    May 01, 2017

    By Ta*, an LGBT activist in Bangladesh

     

    “I might not come any longer. I’m afraid. You had to flee from one place to another out of fear of being slaughtered by the extremists. If something like that happens again, I don’t have the strength or ability to do things like you.” I have received many messages like this from fellow LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) activists in Bangladesh over the past year. On 25 April 2016, Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy were killed mercilessly by extremists for promoting LGBT rights in Bangladesh – nothing has been the same since.

    March 22, 2017

    Bangladesh must halt the imminent executions of three men sentenced to death for a grenade attack on the UK Ambassador, Amnesty International said.

    Prison authorities in Bangladesh today confirmed that the executions of Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon – all alleged members of the banned armed group Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI) – would be carried out soon. They were all convicted of and sentenced to death over an attack in 2004 which injured the then-UK High Commissioner, Anwar Choudhury, and killed three people.

    “These executions must be stopped immediately. While those found responsible for crimes after fair trials should be punished, the death penalty is never the solution. It’s dismaying that the Bangladeshi authorities are looking to take more lives in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’,” said Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher.

    September 03, 2016
    The Bangladeshi authorities must immediately release a 22-year-old student activist detained for two Facebook posts criticising the country’s Prime Minister, Amnesty International said today.   Dilip Roy, a student activist at Rajshahi University in western Bangladesh, will be appearing at a bail hearing on 4 September.   “Bangladesh’s authorities should immediately drop this case. By invoking draconian laws to hound critics for Facebook posts, they are not just cracking down on peaceful dissent but courting embarrassment,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for South Asia.   Dilip Roy could face up to 14 years in prison after a student body linked to the government filed a case against him under the country’s Information and Communications Technology Act (ICT) for allegedly making “derogatory remarks” about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid and her ruling Awami League.   Since his arrest on 28 August, Dilip Roy has been detained and was denied bail by the Rajashahi Magistrate Court this week.
    September 03, 2016
    Reacting to the execution on Saturday of Mir Quasem Ali - a key financier of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party, who was found guilty by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal in a flawed trial – Amnesty International said:   “The execution of Mir Quasem Ali, following a trial whose fairness was questioned by the UN, will not deliver justice to the people of Bangladesh. There is no question that the people of Bangladesh deserve justice for crimes committed during the War of Independence, but the death penalty is a human rights violation and will not achieve this. It is a cruel and irreversible punishment that most of the world’s countries have now rid themselves of,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    ****************************

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn in media relations

    613-744-7667, ext 236

    email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    August 30, 2016

    The Bangladesh authorities must halt the imminent execution of a senior political leader who has been sentenced to death following a deeply flawed trial, Amnesty International said today.

    “The people of Bangladesh deserve justice for crimes committed during the War of Independence. The continued use of the death penalty will not achieve this. It only serves to inflame domestic tensions and further divide a society riven by violence,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    The Bangladesh Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and death sentence against Mir Quasem Ali, a key financier of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, after rejecting his review appeal. It follows an International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) judgement – a Bangladeshi court examining war crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence – that found Mir Quasem Ali guilty of committing crimes against humanity in November 2014.

    August 14, 2016

    Bangladeshi authorities should immediately end the illegal detentions of Mir Qasem Ali and Humman Qader Chowdhury, arrested respectively on 9 August and 4 August, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

    Both men were arrested without warrants or charges, have not been produced before a magistrate, and have not been allowed access to family or lawyers.

    “There is no question that Qasem Ali and Chowdhury are subject to an enforced disappearance in the custody of the security forces. Yet the government continues to deny having them. Both men have been refused access to lawyers and their families, and production before a magistrate,” said Champa Patel, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    “This is a practice which has unfortunately become completely routine in Bangladesh, and has to end.”

    June 25, 2016

    Bangladeshi authorities must immediately and unconditionally drop trumped-up charges against a prominent journalist who could be jailed for more than a decade for a Facebook post, Amnesty International said today.

    Probir Sikder, editor of the daily newspaper Bangla 71, was arrested in August 2015 and has been out on bail since. He is due in court in Dhaka on 26 June, when the charges against him are expected to be formalized.

    “Any charges against Probir Sikder must be dropped immediately and unconditionally. It is a sad state of affairs when a respected journalist could face more than a decade in prison simply for posting on social media,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    May 21, 2016

    The Bangladeshi authorities’ treatment of a prominent 81-year-old journalist, who has been held in solitary confinement for several weeks and denied medical care for chronic and life threatening health conditions, is an act of cruelty, Amnesty International said today.

    Shafik Rehman, editor of the monthly Mouchake Dhil magazine, was arrested on 16 April suspected of being involved in a plot to assassinate Sajib Wazed Joy, the son of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

    “The Bangladeshi authorities must end the prolonged solitary confinement of Shafik Rahman and ensure his well-being. It is absolutely shocking that an 81-year-old diabetic man with a history of heart problems is being denied the medical care he needs,” said Champa Patel, Director of Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office.

    According to Shafik Rehman’s lawyer and family members, he has been kept in isolation since 27 April in Kashimpur Central Jail, a maximum security prison, where he is not allowed to interact with other prisoners. He has had minimal access to both his legal team and family members since he was first arrested.

    May 12, 2016

    The Bangladeshi authorities must intensify efforts to hold to account the killers of secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das and to end the impunity that exists for a wave of killings of human rights defenders and others, Amnesty International said on the anniversary of Ananata Bijoy Das’ death.

    On 12 May 2015, while on his way to work Bijoy Das was approached by masked men carrying machetes in Sylhet, Bangladesh. They struck him on the head and body and then reportedly fled into the crowds. Bijoy Das was taken to hospital where he was declared dead. The attack was claimed by a violent group purporting to act in the name of Islam, Ansar al-Islam (also known as Ansarullah Bangla Team), which claims to have links to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.

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