Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Political ‘offenders’ safe: Dhaka, Delhi sign landmark treaty to extradite criminals, ease visa provisions

In a major breakthrough, Bangladesh and India yesterday inked Extradition Treaty to hand over the convicted and criminals hiding in each other’s countries.

Click here to see Full Text of the Treaty
Click here to see Revised Travel Agreement signed in 2013

The deal, however, excluded the political asylum seekers, accused of political crimes and the offenders awarded with less than one year’s jail term.

According to the agreement, those who are charged with murder, culpable homicide and other serious crimes would come under the purview of the deal.

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and his Indian counterpart Sushilkumar Sambhaji Rao Shinde signed the agreement at the end of their bilateral talks. The dialogue also yielded a revised travel arrangement, through which Dhaka and Delhi have eased their visa regimes under several conditions. (more…)

UN human rights chief backs Verma panel report

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has backed the Verma Committee report saying that she strongly supported the fact that the report “eschews” death penalty and any lowering of the age of juvenile perpetrators.

“And that, instead, it recommends suitably heavy prison sentences ranging from seven years to life,” said Pillay in a statement.

“The Committee’s recommendations are grounded in a framework of rights, equality and non-discrimination, and represent a paradigm shift towards recognition of women as holders of rights, not just objects of protection,” she added. (more…)

Afghan Officials Criticize U.N. Report on the Abuse and Torture of Detainees

A United Nations report, endorsed by the international military command, about torture and abuse in Afghan-run detention facilities, has reopened fissures with American forces and underscored the Afghan government’s sensitivity to being seen as a country that permits torture.

Within three days of the report becoming public, President Hamid Karzai appointed a commission to look into its findings. The National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence agency, which was strongly criticized by the report, took its case public, inviting Afghan television reporters to see some of the detention centers and talk to detainees.

Mr. Karzai’s spokesman said the government was especially perturbed by the endorsement of the report from the International Security Assistance Force because the military has had a program of reviewing Afghan detention facilities for the past year. If it had concerns, he said, the military should have raised them sooner. (more…)

Support for women’s rights in the Maldives declining, finds HRCM study

Support for women’s equality has experienced a “significant drop” despite overall progress in improving the human rights situation nationally, a Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) second baseline survey has concluded.

“The ‘Rights’ Side of Life” [report] studied knowledge, behaviours and attitudes regarding human rights in the Maldives and reinforced many of the findings from the 2005 survey,” according to the UNDP-backed report released by the HRCM in December 10, 2012.

However, fewer respondents than in the first study believed that women should have equal rights to men in all seven of the areas surveyed (inheritance, divorces, work, politics, family matters, courts, custody), the report found. (more…)

International Commission of Jurists open letter: Concerning the removal of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake

High Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse
Honorable Speaker of the Parliament Chamal Rajapakse
Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
Sri Lanka

January 23, 2013

Concerning the removal of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake

Your Excellencies,
The International Commission of Jurists and the undersigned senior judges and
eminent jurists from around the world condemn the recent removal of Chief Justice
and urge you to act immediately to restore the independence of the judiciary by
reinstating the legal Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. We are gravely
concerned that recent actions to remove the Chief Justice have been taken in
contravention of the Constitution, international human rights law and standards,
including the right to a fair hearing, and the rule of law. (more…)

Pakistan to release Indian fishermen, peace activists express happiness

Mumbai-based activists who have been campaigning for peace between warring neighbours India and Pakistan have expressed happiness that Pakistan has decided to release all Indian fishermen soon.

Writer-activist Jatin Desai said, ” Rehman Malik, interior minister of Pakistan, announced the decision today after he had a meeting with his President Asif Ali Zardari. More than 200 Indian fishermen are held in Pakistani jails. Conversely, there are around 100 Pakistani fishermen in Indian prisons.” (more…)

Bangladesh: Government to amend Chittagong Hill Tracts land commission act

The government has taken initiative to revise some provisions of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act, 2001 to make the land commission more efficient, said State Minister for CHT Affairs Dipankar Talukdar yesterday.

“The land ministry and the law ministry are working together for this. We hope the commission will be effective after completion of the amendment and it will act properly to resolve land dispute in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT),” he also said, while addressing as chief guest the inaugural session of a seminar.

He, however, did not mention which provisions will be amended.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) jointly organised the seminar titled “The ILO Conventions Relating to Ethnic Minorities” at Senate Bhaban in Dhaka University. (more…)

India: Gender and human rights now in school curriculum

In the next academic year, students in government and aided schools will not just be welcomed with payasam and sweets, but they will also be told about gender rights. Director of public instruction (DPI) intends to make gender and human rights and gender sensitization a regular feature of school learning.

“We have lessons in social science and Malayalam on these issues. But it has to be integrated in the school curriculum in such a manner that it becomes a part of classroom teaching and activity,” said DPI director A Shahjahan.

To ensure this, DPI has asked the expert committee on state school curriculum to integrate gender sensitivity and rights in the syllabus that will be implemented in schools from academic year 2014-2015. (more…)

Sri Lanka extends police detention of suspects amid protests

Sri Lanka approved legislation on Tuesday allowing police to hold suspects for up to 48 hours without a warrant amid street protests accusing the government of acting to suppress dissent.

Rights groups assert that Sri Lanka, which has a long history of police impunity, of continuing to violate human rights despite the end of a three-decade-long war with Tamil Tiger separatists in May 2009.

Police in the South Asian nation previously could detain suspects without charge for 24 hours.

“This is to curb organised crime,” Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told parliament in presenting the bill. “If there is a need to extend the detention by another 24 hours, it could be done by a magistrate based on a certificate produced by the police.” (more…)

Maldives government ratifies International Labour Organisation conventions on worker rights

The Maldives government has ratified eight “fundamental” International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions designed to bring legislation on employee rights and trade unions in line with international standards.

According to the ILO the conventions, which were ratified by authorities on January 4 this year, outline rights in a number of areas including allowing staff freedom of association and the prevention of child labour and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, race or age.

The ratification of the conventions comes as foreign governments and civil society organisations continue to raise concerns about rights abuses of expatriate workers in the Maldives.

Foreign labourers are estimated to account for a significant proportion of the country’s workforce.  Just over a quarter of the Maldives population of 394,451 people is estimated to be made up of foreign workers, according to recent statistics supplied by the Department of Immigration and Emigration. (more…)

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