It should awaken us to the reality
The Amnesty International Report 2004 has pinpointed certain human rights abuses in Bangladesh. That includes police excesses, attack on Hindus and Ahmadiyyas and violence against women.
There were 13 custodial deaths in the country in 2003, which has been mentioned as an example of cop brutality. The disproportionate use of force in dealing with demonstrations has also drawn the attention of the watchdog body. Finally, the harsh treatment meted out to certain Hindu families and members of the Ahmadiyya community has also been highlighted in the report.
What weighs heavily on us is that violence against journalists, or the members of any community for that matter, and the most corrupt status of the nation are reflective of governance failure, which needs immediate actions to be mitigated or alleviated.
Now, what should be our response to the observations, some of which are very serious in nature? We usually dismiss all these as part of AIs routine exercises. We try to dilute and play down the incidents mentioned in the reports as highly exaggerated accounts of normal happenings. That is the stock response. But it is now clear that aspersions are pouring in from more than one direction. Not long ago, the Transparency International rated Bangladesh as the most corrupt country in the world. We questioned the validity of the observation and locked horns with the TI. Similarly, the Committee to Protect Journalists observed that Bangladesh was the worst place for journalists. So, it is not just one individual or an organisation that we can blame for smearing Bangladesh.
What is not at issue is whether the country is the most dangerous place for journalists or the most corrupt. What weighs heavily on us is that violence against journalists, or the members of any community for that matter, and the most corrupt status of the nation are reflective of governance failure, which needs immediate actions to be mitigated or alleviated.
But on account of this summary dismissal of whatever adverse reports are made by the international organisations, what we see is total inaction on the issues raised. So the trends, far from being reversed, are basically reinforced. And we are caught in the quagmire of tarnished image and bad reputation.
So it follows that we are not helping ourselves at all by ignoring or undermining the observations of the watchdog bodies. And that also has a negative impact on politics and economy. These are the things that the decision-makers should not overlook while assessing the observations of the AI, TI or any other international organisation.