The emergence of Bangladesh as self-regulating state is the result of a fight against violation of human rights in many ways. People's great effort to establishing fundamental rights by brushing aside anomalies is always there in this part of the world. But unluckily, the polity is yet to overcome the barriers to human rights. Despite enough potential for development, the country is still facing with miserable poverty, which is perhaps the most powerful enemy of human rights.
People of Bangladesh are not in a good situation to assert due rights and defend against the wrongdoings by violators whoever. For the lacking of the state machinery, Non-Government Organisations are working in Bangladesh to protect human rights. No argument about the protection of human rights is absolute without taking into consideration the role of NGOs. The National Human Rights Commission, with limited financial support and small number of staff, is engaged in certain activities to protect and uphold human rights in Bangladesh. But there need more organisations as like as the National Human Rights Commission to work as an effective watchdog.
The National Human Rights Commission is working to analyse existing laws and making plan to ensure human rights. For the time being, the NHRC is doing well in reviewing a few drafts like disability law, children act, human trafficking act etc. A considerable improvement has been taken place in dealing with complaints which are made through online submission. In this way, the monitoring and investigating systems of human rights violations by the National Human Rights Commission are being developed.
In the matter of child labour, the situation is not satisfactory at all. A report of "Protection of Children at Risk from Abuse and Exploitation and Ensure Their Development" has shown the situation. But Bangladesh government is very strict to curb child labour. They are working for ensuring elementary education for all children.
Apart from these, the Bangladesh government has recently reformed the law for protecting the rights of workers, which is the positive effort of the government to protect human rights. According to information gathered by Ain O Salish Kendra (a legal aid and human rights organisation), nearly 40 women were sexually harassed till March, 2015, although the government has already passed anti-sexual harassment rules.
According to information by Odhikar (a human rights organisation) in November 2014, a total of 39 girls and women were victims of sexual harassment. Among them, four were injured, one was assaulted, one was abducted and 30 were sexually harassed in various ways. During this period, three female committed suicide due to sexual harassment. In most of the cases the government formed committee to investigate the incidents and in some cases the law enforcing agencies took immediate action.
When some political parties started violence in the country, the government had taken necessary steps to control the situation. There has been eye-catching improvement in other aspects of human rights since the establishment of the democratic government. In fact, the accountability of law enforcing agencies can prevent human rights violation mostly.
However, due to promoting human rights perfectly the government needs to raise human rights education and awareness programme among the citizens. On the other hand, people should be careful to protect own rights. Finally, the government should be careful about all institutions like the NHRC which exists to assist when the rights are violated or ignored.
Ashabur Turan is Advocate and Researcher. Email: [email protected]