ASIA/BANGLADESH - Human rights denied for ethnic and religious minorities

Monday, 21 February 2011

Dacca (Agenzia Fides) – Living conditions for ethnic and religious minorities in Bangladesh are very difficult and their human rights are continually denied and trampled on, states the Hotline Human Rights Bangladesh” (HHRB) to Fides. The HHRB was established with the support of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Bengalese Bishops, as a radar to monitor respect for human rights.
A recent assembly held in Dhaka, organised in collaboration with the “Resource Centre for Christian Youth in Bangladesh”, sounded the alarm that ethnic and religious minority groups - including Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities – suffer daily discrimination, abuse and violence from other Muslim citizens (a large majority in the country), and even from police officers and public administration.
According to the framework outlined by to Fides by the HHRB, minorities are often unduly defrauded of the land they have cultivated or houses they have lived in for centuries; women suffer rapes, kidnappings, forced conversions and marriages; the non-Muslim citizens are discriminated against in seeking work and education. “Their basic human rights are openly and continuously violated and no one intervenes,” notes the organisation.
The more than 100 participants at the meeting, from different districts, shared their common difficulties, also recalling abuses by police or government officers. For this they ask the Government that all Bangladeshi citizens, from any ethnic or religious group, enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities, that they stop the oppression and discrimination that “relegates non-Muslims to second-class citizens.”
In Bangladesh, of a population of about 165 million people, Muslims are more than 85%, 10% are Hindus, Buddhists 0.6%, and Christians 0.3%. Among the tribal minorities, the main ethnic groups are the Oroun and the Santal. The minorities, not given consideration or coverage in any way by the Constitution, have little chance of development and emancipation. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/2/2011)


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