Human rights defenders are not enemies of the state, says national conference in Dhaka

October 3, 2013

The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Bangladesh, a member of the Law Commission, and several rights activists and academics said on Saturday 28 september that the state should not treat human rights defenders as its enemy. They also expressed concern over the use of several laws against human rights defenders (such as the Special Powers Act 1974, Penal Code 1860, the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 and the Official Secrets Act 1923).


The observations came at a national conference titled “Role of Human Rights Defenders: Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Bangladesh” jointly organised by the NHRC and Relief International. Speaking at the event, NHRC Chairman Mizanur Rahman said the state needed to learn how to respect different views. “Just because one holds an opinion different than that of the state does not necessarily mean he is an enemy of the state. We [Human Rights defenders and the state] need to learn how to work for betterment of the country despite the disagreements.”

Law Commission member Shah Alam said: “A secured environment for human rights defenders and ensuring their freedom to work are the main conditions for the protection and promotion of human rights in general.”

Ruling party lawmaker Fazle Rabbi Miah called upon to human rights defenders unite: “It is you [human rights defenders] who need to be united. No government, neither the so-called developed ones nor Bangladesh will think to protect human rights defenders. If you are united, the government has no other option except ensuring human rights” .

The speakers also stressed the fact that human rights defenders must work in a neutral and impartial manner and that they should not be politically biased in any case.


Human rights defenders not enemies of the state: Conference | Dhaka Tribune.

One Response to “Human rights defenders are not enemies of the state, says national conference in Dhaka”

  1. […] Human rights defenders are not enemies of the state, says national conference in Dhaka […]

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