South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, vehemently condemns the attack on the motorcade of the Jatiya Oikyafront leader and senior lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain on 14 December 2018 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr. Hossain and other JOF leaders were attacked as they were returning from the Martyred Intellectual’s Memorial in Dhaka, after paying tribute to those who were killed and disappeared on this day in 1971.
Reportedly the attackers vandalised vehicles and beat up opposition leaders and activists. SAHR notes that a photojournalist was also assaulted for taking pictures of this incident.
Dr. Hossain is a respected and eminent jurist and human rights defender, recognised internationally, who is also a co-founder of SAHR.
SAHR notes with regret the many reported human rights violations during the pre-election period including hundreds of arbitrary arrests by law enforcing agencies, and physical attacks on opposition candidates, including on supreme court lawyers taking part in the elections. The lack of conviction into these incidents, and lack of protection for candidates questions the government’s and the elections commission’s commitment to conduct free and fair elections.
SAHR calls upon the Government of Bangladesh to launch a swift and impartial inquiry into the reported attacks on candidates in the elections and to stop arbitary arrests. We also call upon the Election Commission to act independently to create an equal playing field for the elections on 30 December to be held in a free, fair and inclusive manner and to ensure all necessary accomodations for minorities and vulnerable persons.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,