Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of
the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation
Against Torture (OMCT) requests
your urgent intervention
in the following situation in Bangladesh.
of the situation:
Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about continuing acts of
harassment against the members of Odhikar,
a human rights organisation composed of lawyers, university professors,
journalists, social and development
activists committed to human rights.
to the information received, numerous
acts of harassment have been recently taking place against several members of
Odhikar, particularly in the aftermath of Odhikar's 3rd "Annual Human Rights
Defenders Conference" organised on March 12 and 13, 2011 in
March 14, 2011, members of the National Security Intelligence (NSI) reportedly
resumed their activities of close monitoring on Odhikar and its members, in
particular Mr. Adilur
its Secretary and member of OMCT General Assembly. On March 14, 2011, at about
4.30 p.m., one person came to the main (outside) gate of the Odhikar office in
Dhaka and asked questions to one of the employees about Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan's
family situation, such as how many children he has.
March 15, 2011, while Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan was returning from the Supreme
Court where he appears as an advocate, at about 12.30 p.m., two persons on a
motorcycle bearing the license number Dhaka Metro A-07-5535 followed him to his
home, located on the ground floor of the building where Odhikar premises are.
the afternoon of that day, when one of employees – who is also a relative of Mr.
Adilur Rahman Khan – walked out of the gate at about 5 p.m. to get some tea from
the tea stall, four persons surrounded him and requested information about Mr.
Adilur Rahman Khan's schedule. Two of these men had reportedly established
themselves opposite the premises all day long, therefore having full view on
Odhikar’s main gate.
March 17 at about 7.30 p.m., two persons blocked the road of the same employee,
and asked him about the whereabouts of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan. The employee told
the men not to bother him with questions he could not answer, and walked into a
nearby house until the men left.
addition, on March 16, 2011 at about 12.30 p.m., an individual introducing
himself as Mr. Mohammad Tota Miah, Deputy Assistant Director of the NSI, came to
Odhikar’s office and asked the accountant to hand him over all the documents
which Odhikar had already submitted to the NGO Affairs Bureau. When the
accountant requested to see his identity card or a mandate from the competent
authority demanding the supply of such documents, the latter left the office.
on October 5, 6, 7, 9, 17, 23, November 3, and December 25 and 26, 2010, 8
members of Bangladeshi law enforcement – Special Branch of Police and NSI – had
visited Odhikar offices and identified themselves as members of the police from
the “Special Branch”. During the visits, members of the law enforcement agencies
had inquired about Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, and had requested his curriculum
vitae, his passport details and his political background.
October 17, 2010 in particular, the Deputy Assistant Director of the Munshiganj
of the NSI, Mr. Abdul Mukit, had called Odhikar
information about Odhikar projects.
On October 19, 2010 Mr. Nasiruddin Elan had faxed
all the relevant information to Mr. Abdul Mukit, who
to come to the Munshiganj NSI office. Meanwhile,
at the local level in Munshiganj about the work
of the organisation.
October 23, 2010 Mr. Nasiruddin Elan had
to the Munshiganj NSI office to meet
with Mr. Abdul Mukit. The Deputy Assistant Director of the NSI had asked
questions to the Odhikar Director, in particular his
background and other
affiliations. Mr. Abdul Mukit had told
Mr. Nasiruddin Elan that
out by order
of the ‘higher
without providing further information.
Observatory was also informed of the silence of the Bangladeshi administration
following the submission of various human rights projects by
although Odhikar sent a letter to the NGO Affairs Bureau on July 7, 2010
demanding approval of project titled ‘Promotion of Human Rights in Bangladesh
through Documentation, Fact-finding and Advocacy’ (funded by the Finnish NGO
Foundation for Human Rights – KIOS), and another on December 28, 2010 for the
project titled ‘Education on the Convention against Torture and OPCAT
Awareness Programme in Bangladesh’ (funded by the European Union), both
projects are reportedly still pending with the Bureau for its approval and
clearance, although Odhikar has already clarified a number of
Observatory highlights in that regard that according to its Rules of Business,
the NGO Affairs Bureau has to issue a decision on a proposed project within 45
days after the reception of all relevant information, and that after it has
examined the project proposal, the Bureau needs to send it to the relevant
Ministry which has 21 days to provide its comments regarding the project. The
Rules of Business further state that if the Ministry fails to send its comment
within the specified period, it is considered that the Ministry has no objection
regarding the project.
through a letter dated February 11, 2010, the NGO Affairs Bureau had refused to
grant extension of one of Odhikar projects.
its deepest concern aboutthe
ongoing acts of harassment against Odhikar and its members, which
seem to merely aim at hindering their human rights
write to the Bangladeshi authorities urging them to:
Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of
Adilur Rahman Khan, Mr. Nasiruddin Elan, and all staff
as well as all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;
Conform in all circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human
Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General
Assembly, in particular:
Article 5 which provides that “for the purpose of promoting and protecting human
rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in
association with others, at the national and international levels: (a)
meet or assemble peacefully; (b)
To form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or
To communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental
Article 6.a which states that “everyone
has the right, individually and in association with others, to know, seek,
obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental
its Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary
measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone,
individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats,
retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other
arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the
rights referred to in the present Declaration.”
the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the
Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights
instruments ratified by Bangladesh.
Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, Gona Bhaban,
Old Sangsad Bhaban, Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Fax: +880 2 811
3243, Email: email@example.com
Ms. Sahara Khatun, Minister for Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs,
Bangladesh Secretariat Building 4, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Fax:
+880 2 716 9667 or +880 2 717 1611.Email:
Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs,
Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat,
Dhaka, Bangladesh, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Mizanur Rahman, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Dhaka,
Mr. Hasan Mahmud Khandoker, Inspector General of Police, Police Headquarters,
Phoenix Road, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh, Fax:
2 712 5840.
Ambassador Mr. Md. Abdul Hannan, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of
Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, 65 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva,
Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 46 16, E-mail: email@example.com
Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, 29-31 rue Jacques
Jordaens, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 646 59 98; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
also write to the diplomatic representations of Bangladesh in your respective
March 22, 2011
inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your
Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human
Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of
contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18
 See Section 7(Gha) and 7(Chha) of
the Rules of Business of the NGO Affairs Bureau, dated May 29,
 See Open letter of the Observatory dated
February 18, 2010.