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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 75
July 5 , 2008

This week's issue:
Human Rights Analysis
Law Opinion
Law News
Laws For Everyday Life
Fact File
Court Corridor
Rights Column
Law Lexicon
Law Week

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Fact file

According to a human rights organisation, Odhikar The fundamental right of freedom of expression has been severely curtailed since the imposition of the State of Emergency on 11 January 2007. People do not have free access to information as journalists continue facing negative pressure for publishing factual reports, contravening recognised rights of press under national and international laws. Pressure on journalists poses a very significant threat. Ranging from telephone calls and threats to physical attacks - designed to prevent or punish the publication of critical material.

Since 1January to 30 June 2008, 23 journalists were reportedly injured, while 13 were assaulted. 16 incidents of verbal threats were also recorded. In January the Government asked television channels to avoid all talk shows. In April two journalists were barred from their professional duty at the court. However, incidents of covert restrictions and harassment on print and electronic media are much higher than reported. One of the latest incidents took place on 30 June, when journalists were covering the proceedings of the GATCO graft case against former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The police tried to drive the journalists out of the courtroom, and at one point, Nahid, an assistant Commissioner reportedly flew into a rage and commented 'kick the journalists out' .

Violence against women, in particular, incidents of rape have remained high. In the last six months, 266 women and girls became victims of rape out of which 113 were women and 153 were children. Actual figures are likely to be much higher since all such violations are not reported to police or in media largely because of associated social stigma and other factors.

On average, 44 women were raped per month. Out of these incidences 107 were gang raped. Out of the 113 women, 37 were reportedly killed after rape and 64 became victims of gang rape. On the other hand, out of 153 girls , 20 were reportedly raped and then killed, while 43 became victims of gang rape.

Other vicious forms of violence against women occur due to dowry demands. Between January and June, a total of 140 women reportedly became victims of dowry demands. Due to dowry related violence, a total of 96 women were killed and 38 tortured. During this time, 6 women reportedly committed suicide, as they could not bear the abuse any longer.

Over this period, a total of 65 persons became victims of acid violence; amongst them, 37 persons were women, 17 men and 11 children (6 girls and 5 boys).

Source: Odhikar.


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