UN CALL FOR PEACE MISSES KEY POINTS
The UN Human Rights Commission has expressed concern over the prevailing violent political situation in Bangladesh and urged all political parties to shun violence and show restraint in their actions.
Their concern is irrefutable and reflects the very blight of Bangladesh politics now-a-days, which has been continually shedding blood, taking lives, maiming scores and destroying economy.
These occur at the behest of so-called political programmes enforced by opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the 20-party alliance, also led by BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.
The activists primarily targeted innocent people travelling by buses, trains, cars and rickshaws as well as goods-laden covered vans, trucks and other means of transport. They set vehicles ablaze killing people onboard, burned dozens of people sending many to fight for life in the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital or rushed to other hospitals and clinics with parts of their bodies badly sizzled.
The attackers use gun power, bombs and guns to kill people in the name of settling political scores against the government and the ruling party. But they perhaps forget or is unaware of the ethical limits of political actions that should confine to acts designed to achieve rights of the people and enhance peace and progress in the country.
The UNHRC statement came 11 days after the BNP-led countrywide blockade had begun, so far killing at least 25 people and injuring several hundred in a mindless mayhem. In the statement, the UNHRC also called on the authorities to ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigation into all killings committed by state or non-state actors.
“The deepening political violence in Bangladesh, resulting from the failure by the two major political parties to resolve their differences peacefully, is very disturbing,” said the statement issued by Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“We are concerned about the potential for the violence, which has already led to deaths, injury and disruption, to spiral, as seen in the run-up to the 2014 elections,” it said.
The spokesperson also said the government should ensure that all measures taken to restore law and order are conducted in line with the parameters set by international human rights law, including respect for the freedom of peaceful assembly, movement and speech. It also said arrests or jailing of political leaders should not be based upon arbitrary decisions.
We also share the UNHRC’s concerns and appreciate their suggestions
But we strongly feel that the UNHRC should have clearly demonstrated its concern over who will compensate for the deaths and why it could not ask BNP and its militant allies to call off right away their killing mission disguised in blockade or hartal. The UNHRC could probably also suggest a mechanism to take both BNP and ruling Awami League to the negotiating table.
It should send a team to Dhaka to visit hospitals where arson victims are fighting for life, listen to their near ones and find ways to help victims who cannot pay for treatment, persuade the government to take effective measures to stop violence and deaths and save people from harassment, fears and losses of property – and also arrange for treatment of burn victims away from country with funding from any UN affiliated charity. Mere shedding of crocodile tears would not help.
The victims were caught unaware of in the burst of guns, blasts of bombs and blazing vehicles due to no fault of their own, they won’t steal power from anyone nor would object to anyone’s grabbing it. Unfortunately, they don’t have a say in governance nor will they probably have in many years to come. But the victims, if they survive, will become permanent burden to their families and lives of their children would be doomed. Those who have been killed or maimed mostly came from very poor families struggling for a sheer survival. Yet, the BNP and its insane partners made them easy prey in their fight against rivals or hunt for power.
Who will pay for them? A very serious and inhuman crime is being committed against them by BNP-Jamaat hartal and blockade activists. Ironically, the government has not been able to handle the grievous situation turning worse each day.
A recent breed of cheer-leaders in both government and opposition parties confine their duty in blaming each other for anything and everything that goes against the interest of the people and the country. They don’t seem to have any responsibility beyond that towards the country and the people.
Bangladesh should frame a law compelling the perpetrators of death and injuries to bear the life-long costs of living of the victims or their children. Unless they oblige the perpetrators and their mentors – no matter which party they belong to – would be penalized by the state using the toughest provision of the law. We need a counter-terrorism law enforced immediately and rigorously.
Big powers raise their voice when a somewhat big target is hit – like ex-junior foreign minister Reaz Rahman, Begum Khaleda’s adviser. Within hours of the incident last week, the US came up with a statutory condemn statement laced with some guarded warnings. Will they follow up if they have been heeded?
One of the root causes of the current political upheaval is fugitive Tarique Rahman who has been continually spreading falsehood, telling lies and making highly objectionable remarks about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the country’s 1971 Liberation War. Has the UNHRC or any government being too concerned about Bangladesh has ever asked Khaleda Zia to briddle her insolent son? No, because they never want to uproot the main cause of an issue in a third country.
JANUARY 18, 2014