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Urgent Interventions

Acts of harassment against Mr. Pinaki Bhattacharya's relatives


BGD 001 / 1020 / OBS 117

Harassment /



October 27, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situationin Bangladesh.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informedby reliable sources about the harassment against relatives of Mr. Pinaki Bhattacharya, a blogger and human rightsdefender in exile who regularly denounces on social media human rightsviolations perpetrated by Bangladeshi authorities, including extrajudicialkillings and enforced disappearances[1].

Photo courtesy of Nolwenn Brod - Libération

According to the informationreceived, on October 22, 2020, a policeofficer from the Detective Branch of the Bangladesh police and an officer fromthe local police station in Bogura, Bogura District, visited the residence ofMr. Pinaki Bhattacharya’s parents in the city of Bogura and questioned hismother and his uncle. The two police officers inquired about the activitiescarried out by Mr. Bhattacharya in his country of exile and his source ofincome and assets in Bangladesh. The police also took the contact details ofMr. Bhattacharya’s relatives.

On the same day, members of the DhakaMetropolitan Police from the Mirpur Model police station visited the residenceof Mr. Bhattacharya’s spouse in Dhaka to question her. As Mr. Bhattacharya’swife was not at home, one police officer called her on her mobile phone inorder to question her about her workplace and the means she uses to communicatewith Mr. Bhattacharya. She was asked to provide information about Mr.Bhattacharya, in particular about his assets in Bangladesh. However, the calldropped due to poor connectivity and the questioning was interrupted.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern aboutthese acts of harassment against Mr. Bhattacharya’s relatives and recalls thatthe harassment of families of human rights defenders is recurrent in Bangladeshand seems to be merely aimed at sanctioning the human rights activities carriedout by Bangladeshi human rights defenders, both in Bangladesh and abroad.

The Observatory urges the authorities to haltthe climate of intimidation against the relatives of human rights defenders andto put an end to all acts of harassment against them and all Bangladeshi humanrights defenders.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Bangladesh, urgingthem to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physicalintegrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Pinaki Bhattacharya’s relatives, as well as of all Bangladeshi human rightsdefenders and their family members;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Pinaki Bhattacharya’s relatives, as well as of all Bangladeshi human rightsdefenders and their family members, and ensurethat they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without anyhindrance and fear of reprisals;

iii. Conform in all circumstances to the provisions of theDeclaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by theUnited Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2.;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rightsand fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rightsinstruments ratified by Bangladesh.


· Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Email:

· Professor Dr.Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Prime Minister (InternationalAffairs), Bangladesh. Email:

· Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan, State Minister for Home Affairs of Bangladesh. Email:

· Mr. Anisul Huq, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs ofBangladesh, Email:

· Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs ofBangladesh. Email:

· Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Bangladesh,E-mail: or

· Mr. Amin Uddin, Attorney Generalfor Bangladesh, Email:

· H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission ofthe People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva,Switzerland, E-mail:

· Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels,Belgium, Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Bangladesh in yourrespective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies inBangladesh.


Geneva-Paris, October 27, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programmeis to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against humanrights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human Rights DefendersMechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail:

· Tel OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39

· Tel FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18

[1] For more information,see Joint Statement, ‘Bangladesh: End enforced disappearances’, published on August 28, 2020.

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