To observe the ‘International Human Rights Day 2023’ the Global Bangladeshis Alliance for Human Rights (GBAHR) has organised a mass rally and demonstration today 07 December 2023 at 12 pm in front of the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Kings Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH.
In response to the gross violations of human rights and atrocities committed against the dissenting voices, speakers highlighted Bangladesh as a country with a proclaimed large-scale prison and emphasized that no other nation on earth has so many cases against opposition parties or individuals for expressing dissent. They pointed out that the government forces not only engage in torture against leaders, activists, and publishers of opposition parties daily but are also not hesitant to commit murders. They mention of a massive undisclosed prison was made in the context of the arbitrary arrests and persecution of leaders and activists of the opposition parties by the government forces. They stated that the government not only tortures and harasses opposition leaders and activists but also keeps them in captivity without any due process of law.
The speakers in this rally urged the global community for swift intervention and stated that Bangladesh has transformed into a realm of fear, repression, and a single-party autocracy under the grip of the Bangladesh Awami League (BAL). With the government’s support and direct order of Sheikh Hasina, law enforcement agencies are carrying out abductions and killings with impunity. They are arresting children in front of their mothers; brothers in front of their sisters; husbands in front of their wives; and fathers in front of their children only for their political views as opposition party BNP supporters. The fabric of hundreds of families has been torn apart, and the opposition leaders, activists, and dissenting voices are not only being persecuted daily by the government forces but are also facing the threat of murder.
“Global Bangladeshis Alliance for Human Rights (GBAHR)” organized this auspicious event which journalist Shamsul Alam Liton, the convenor of the organization, presided over. Among the prominent figures present was Shafiqul Islam Kajol, a journalist who faced abduction and imprisonment during the Casino Scandal and Papiya Scandals. Major (Retd) Syed Siddiq from GBAHR, Rayhan Uddin, the president of Fight for Rights, Abdul Kaiyum, the secretary of the Center for Democratic and Good Governance, and Naushin Mostari Mia, the secretary of Equal Rights International.
Addressing the gathering, Shafiqul Islam Kajol, a journalist who experienced abduction and spent a year in captivity, exposed the inhumane behaviour, brutality, and torture by the security forces during his period of captivity. He stated that the Sheikh Hasina government and its mafia are targeting him for his writings exposing corruption and irregularities in tax money managed by the BAL through institutions like the police and RAB. Kajol revealed the role of foreign intelligence agency in the condition of being in captivity and explained how the mafia has compromised the country’s interests with foreign entities for their selfish gains. He urged everyone, both local and international organisations, to demand justice for all the crimes against humanity, similar to those faced by him, committed in Bangladesh. Mr. Kajol also pointed out that the mafia has sold out the country to foreigners using the tax money as bait. He raised concerns about the situation in Bangladesh as a warlike state. If international communities and other human rights organizations do not take prompt action then Bangladesh might turn into a failed state and regional security will be at stake in South Asia.
Other speakers expressed concern about the government forces’ announcement of war against the free expression of opinion in Bangladesh and highlighted that for the last fourteen years, the BAL, with undemocratic power, has been using police, RAB, and other forces to suppress dissent. They mentioned that opposition leaders, workers, and supporters are being arrested and imprisoned without proper trials, and another one-party election preparation is underway in Bangladesh for January 2024 with opposition party members being targeted for arrest and imprisonment.
Finally, the GBAHR leadership submitted a memorandum to the office of the British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs the Rt Hon Lord Cameron. An official from the Foreign Office accepted the memorandum on behalf of the Foreign Secretary.
Ottawa: A seperate rally and demonstartion has taken place in front of the Parliament House in Ottawa, capital of Canada. To observe the ‘International Human Rights Day 2023’ the Global Bangladeshis Alliance for Human Rights (GBAHR) Ottawa chapter has organised the rally and a number of Human Right Defender and local diaspora activists attended the demonstration amid minus twenty degree temperature. Australia: GBAHR Australia, in cooperation with local HR activists arrange a separate rally at Sydney, in front of Australian Prime Minister’s electoral office on Friday 8th of December to observe the same occasion and with the same demands.