BANGLADESH: Telephone tapping a violation of human rights
10 September 2008 12:29 am

odhikar_logo.jpgFORUM-ASIA member in Bangladesh, Odhikar, has issued a human rights situation report for the month of August. Odhikar's report states that the government's decision to establish an agency to monitor telephone conversations has emerged as a serious infringement of individuals' human rights and the fundamental right to privacy.

Extrajudicial killing and impunity attached to it remains another human rights concern in the country.

The government decision to set up a national centre to monitor telephone conversations of the people has been termed by the Odhikar report as a violation of constitutional rights.

The decision clearly violates the individuals' rights to privacy enshrined in Article 43 (b) of the Bangladeshi Constitution and international law, said Odhikar.

The previous political government led by Bangladesh National Party had amended the Telecommunication Act 2001 on the pretext of enhancing national security.

Meanwhile, Odhikar continues to raise its voice over persisting extrajudicial killings in the country.

The report says 12 persons were killed by law enforcement agencies in 'crossfire, encounter, shootout and gunfight' in August.

Four of the deceased were from radical leftist party Purbo Banglar Communist Party (M L Red Flag).

Violence against women continues to draw attention of human rights community in the country.

Women continued to be subjected to rape, acid attack and dowry violence.

According to the Odhikar report, there were 41 reported cases of rape, out of which 18 were gang rapes.

Six victims were killed after rape. Out of 15 acid attack victims, eight were female while 20 women became victims of dowry demands.

Some of the other human rights issue raised by Odhikar include continued killing of Bangladeshi nationals by Indian Border Security Force with five persons dying at the hands of BSF men and threats to journalists.