12 August 2013
Ms. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH 1211 Geneva 10 Switzerland
Sub: Request for action: Urgent Appeal regarding the arrest of human rights defender in Dhaka, Bangladesh – Reg
Greetings from SICHREM!
The South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
SICHREM is now writing to express our grave concern regarding the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of Odhikar, Executive Committee Member of Forum Asia and a member of OMCT General Assembly, at his Gulshan residence, in Dhaka.
According to the information received, on August 10, 2013, at 10.20 pm, Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan was arrested by eight or nine detectives of the Detective Branch of Police (DB) as he was returning home with his family. The detectives, who brought a white microbus apparently belonging to the United Commercial Bank and a blue and silver coloured mitsubishi pajero, asked Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan to follow them. Reportedly, Mr. Rahman Khan was brought to the headquarters of the police DB in Dhaka.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police subsequently confirmed the arrest to the media, adding that Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan has been arrested under the Information and Communication Technology Act. The arrest was allegedly made on the basis of a general diary filed by the police with Gulshan Police Station, in relation to news and photos uploaded on Odhikar website about the killing of 61 people during the May 5 police drive against Hifazat-e Islam activists at the Dhaka’s downtown Motijheel area.
Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan is a Human Rights Defender among others and is protected under International law on human rights defenders to which India a signatory since 1998. We feel that it is the bounden duty of the State to see that this harassment is stopped and he be released at the earliest.
We understand that harassment, intimidation, and threats on human rights defenders, and of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan are acts aimed to target and obstruct the work of his and the organisation.
SICHREM is gravely concerned about the intimidation tactics employed by the state forces, and the alleged afore mentioned facts and recalls that the authorities have to fulfill their obligations under international human rights law to protect the right to life and to protect the rights of a human rights defender to perform his duties without any hindrance. The State authorities must ensure that the forces comply with international human rights standards on law enforcement, in particular those relating to the defenders rights.
SICHREM, deeply concerned by the developments, Accordingly, calls on the competent authorities to ensure that the investigation is carried out promptly, effectively, thoroughly, independently and impartially, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible for the act, before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.
SICHREM expresses its deepest concern about Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan’s arbitrary arrest, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning his peaceful human rights activities, and calls upon the authorities in Bangladesh to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity as well as to release him immediately and unconditionally.
SICHREM urgently requests you to :
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and of all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;
ii. Release Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan who has also been a former Deputy Attorney General of the Country immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;
iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;
iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:
– its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as
– 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 his or her rights”;
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bangladesh.
Looking forward to your immediate action in this regard,
Note : Similar Urgent Appeal regarding the arrest and detention of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan has been sent to the following:-
i) H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh
ii) H.E. Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, Minister for Home Affairs, Bangladesh.
iii)H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh
iv) H.E Shafique Ahmed, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh.
v) Mr. Hasan Mahmud Khandaker, Inspector General of Police, Bangladesh
vi) Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission Banglade
vii) H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva.
viii) Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, Belgium.
ix) High Commission of Bangladesh in New Delhi, India.