Restore democratic freedoms, end onslaught on dissent: Int’l civic bodies

New Age Online 

Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, and the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) expressed their grave concerns over what they said the unabated incursions on fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms in Bangladesh amid the on-going political violence in the country.
‘Bangladesh is currently experiencing a serious constitutional crisis through clampdowns on the right to express democratic dissent,’ said Mandeep Tiwana, head of policy and research at CIVICUS in a press statement on Tuesday.
‘Growing authoritarianism is emerging as a severe threat to fundamental freedoms and democratisation of state affairs in Bangladesh,’ says Bijo Francis, executive director of ALRC.
CIVICUS and ALRC urge the government of Bangladesh to take all necessary measures to ensure the full realisation of democratic rights enshrined in the country’s constitution. These bodies also asked the government to release all persons arbitrarily detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, immediately halting and investigating the use of excessive and deadly force to disrupt peaceful protests, and
dropping all politically motivated charges against journalists and media outlets.
Citing Bangladesh’s watchdog groups, they said at least 14,000 opposition activists and leaders of opposition groups have been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned by security forces.
Moreover, nearly 100 people have been killed and hundreds more have been seriously injured in a spate of attacks committed by opposition groups and security officials across the country, the statements said.
A number of journalists have been detained under spurious charges. Mr. Abdus Salam, Chairman and CEO of private TV channel, Ekushey Television, has been in detention since 6 January 2015 for allegedly broadcasting pornography and seditious materials. On 16 January 2014, three journalists of daily Inqilab, Robiullah Robi, Rafiq Mohammad, and Ahmed Atique were arrested at their office under the controversial Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 (amended in 2009 and 2013).

 

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