Ban on rally logical: NHRC

Staff Correspondent

The National Human Rights Commission on Thursday said that the ban on rallies in Dhaka was logical and not against the constitution since it was imposed in the wake violence.
At a briefing at the commission, its chairman Mizanur Rahman called on the political parties to work out peaceful alternatives to ‘violence’ during political demonstrations like general strike as it took a toll on country’s economy, studies of children and lives of poorer section of the society.
‘Right the moment when a culture of violence descended and we have seen how a peaceful rally could turn into devastatingly violent, the commission finds the ban on rallies for sometimes for greater interest of the people logical and not against the constitutional provision,’ Mizanur said.\
Right to assemble is a fundamental right, but it is not above one’s right to life, which is an absolute right without any kind of limitation, he said adding, ‘As right to assemble is not an absolute right, it could be restricted for time being on logical grounds for the greater interest of the
people.’
If the environment of political violence continues, the human rights situation would be on the stake, said the rights watchdog chief.
Responding to a question, Mizanur said nobody from Islamist outfit Hefajat-e-Islam or any other individual ever filed a report with the commission on violation of human rights by the state by using force during the rally of the organisation and afterwards on May 5.
‘Even we did not find any media report of using “unwanted force” on the part of state,’ he said adding that the commission could not investigate on its own for various limitation particularly lack of logistic support.
Asked about the commission’ silence over alleged torture on Hefajat secretary general in custody, Muzanur said neither the reported victim nor anybody on his behalf had informed the commission about such torture.
On tortures in custody in the name of interrogation, Mizanur said that the
law that had constituted
the commission did not allow it to intervene into any matter pending with any court.
He also admitted that the commission was lacking expertise on specialised issues and required manpower to probe any reported torture in custody.
Mizanur said a culture of panic and fear had developed among people centring political programmes like general strike and siege and it was leaving negative impact on co-existence, expressing different opinion and leading usual life.
‘Such hartal and political violence has depicted a negative image among
foreigners about Bangladesh and it threatens the economic activities,’ he said.
Mizanur did not suggest anything alternative to hartal saying that it was duty of politicians to work out.
He also defended the commission’s silence on Rana Plaza tragedy saying that the entire commission was in Geneva to attend the Universal Nations Periodic Review. ‘We rushed there reaching back home,’ he said.
Members of the commission Niru Kumar Chakma and Nirupa Dewan and other officials of the commission were present at the briefing.

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