Chaos at London Conference on Bangladesh
Concern over rise of armed militancy, HR violation
Participants at a European human rights conference on Bangladesh in London yesterday expressed concern over the rise of armed militant forces since the 2001 general elections, according to BBC evening news.
They also criticised Bangladesh government’s failure to probe the incidents of human rights violation by the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Operation Clean Heart after the present government came in power, the London-based radio channel said.
Lord Avebury, a member of the House of Lords, however, praised the government for asking Interpol’s assistance in finding out the armed militant forces in the country, BBC said.
The Bangladesh Conference 2005 Steering Committee, with cooperation from Lord Avebury, organised the one-day conference titled “European Human Rights Conference on Bangladesh: Extremism, Intolerance and Violence” at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London.
A number of members of the European Parliament and Swedish Parliament, lawmakers from different Commonwealth countries, and human rights activists attended the conference presided over by Lord Avebury.
“Bangladesh has now become riskier for journalists to work freely,” the BBC evening news said quoting Lord Avebury as saying at the conference.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK AH Mofazzal Karim, however, criticised the title of the conference, saying, “The conference has been organised to tarnish the image of Bangladesh abroad.”
The human rights status of Bangladesh as pictured in the conference is not true, he commented.
The BBC said after the speech of the high commissioner many of the participants shouted and termed his speech “untrue”. Chaos prevailed following the high commissioner’s speech, it noted.
Asked on the ban of the Ahmadiyya publications in the question-answer session, Mofazzal Karim said the religious feeling of the small Ahmadiyya community generally gets less priority compared to the larger community, the radio channel said.
When some participants tried to speak in favour of the Bangladesh government at the conference, others were seen trying to stop them, it added.