SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies), University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG
The worsening law & order situation, increased violation of human rights & persecution of minority religious groups, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, tribal communities, Ahmadiyyas, secular and progressive groups, and the rise of extremist armed groups in Bangladesh especially since 2001 is deeply worrying to all concerned with Bangladesh. A European conference in London is being called to highlight the deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh and to discuss and find strategies to address the human rights issues.
Aims & Objectives
The conference, organised by the ‘Bangladesh Conference 2005 Steering Committee’ chair Lord Avebury, Vice Chair of Parliamentary Human Rights Group (UK), brings together social scientists, researchers, academics, writers, artists and human rights activists. It will,
· highlight the deteriorating human rights situation especially in relation to Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, ethnic & tribal minorities, Ahmadiyyas, secular & progressive sections of community in Bangladesh.
· discuss and explore strategies to challenge and counter the religious extremists through a co-ordinated common platform.
· strengthen links and build up a network of progressive groups and individuals to stand up to religious intolerance and violent extremism.
Religious extremism and terrorism exploits the economic and political failures of the Middle East, Iraq, South Asia, East Asia and the Russian Federation, but also relies on ideologies that reject all secular governments as imperfect. The atrocities of 9/11, the Madrid bombings, the Bali bombings, and a large number of lesser acts of irrational violence pose a new and unique challenge to peace and security throughout the world. The terrorists who commit these dreadful crimes are not linked together in a single worldwide hierarchical organisation; they belong to small groups or cells, whose only link is a millenarian ideology dedicated to the destruction of secular government and the advent of a society based on an imagined model of the early 7th century. Local problems everywhere are used as one means to attract people to this worldview, and the extremists then recruit, from the wider group of those who believe in this model, those who are prepared to achieve the goal by violence and martyrdom. In Bangladesh, the terrorist attacks of the last few years are not motivated by the aim of exterminating or exiling the minorities and producing a monolithic theocracy at home, but have a global agenda as well. This is why events in Bangladesh are matters of concern throughout the world.
The persecution of the minority communities in Bangladesh started soon after the general election in 2001, when the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote came to power. What began with attacks on the Hindu community was followed by attacks on the Christians, Buddhists, indigenous communities, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The largest opposition political party of Bangladesh, the Awami League, has also become the target of assassination, torture and harassment. Journalists, human rights activists, intellectuals, officers and employees of government, semi government and other organisations believing in secular democracy are also being persecuted.
None of the terrorists responsible for the crimes of violence against persons belonging to minority religious and ethnic groups, opposition parties and NGOs after the present government came into power in October 2001, have been brought to justice.
Amongst those targeted have been the UK High Commissioner, who was the victim of an assassination attempt on May 21, 2004, in which four people were killed. On August 21, 2004 the Leader of the Opposition, Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped death in a grenade attack in which 21 people died, and on January 27, 2005 the former Foreign Minister, 73 year old Shah AMS Kibria, was killed in a grenade attack, which also left 6 others dead.
Place: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies)
University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG
Conference Agenda (provisional, subject to change)
OPENING PLENERY Chaired by Prof Werner Menski
09:30 Registration tea/coffee
10:00 Opening-Introduction & welcome speech from the conference Chairperson, Lord Avebury
10:30 - 11:30 Keynote address-guest speakers
Justice K M Subhan, Bangladesh
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Bangladesh Govt Representative
Saber Chowdhury, Organising Secretaty, Bangladesh Awami League & Political Secretary to H E Sheikh Hasina
11:30 - 11:45 tea break
11:45 - 13:00 Keynote-guest speakers
P A Sangma MP, former speaker, Indian Parliament
Babu Gogineni, International Humanist & Ethical Union
Simon Hughes MP
Prof Meer Mobasher Ali, Deputy National Ameer, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Bangladesh
Dr Charles Tannock MEP
13:00 Buffet lunch
AFTERNOON Chaired by Lord Dholakia
14:00 - 15:30 Keynote-guest speakers
Cecila Wikstrom MP, Swedish Liberal Party, Swedish Parliamentary Committee Member for Foreign policy: Rise of religious extremism
Maxim Lvovich Dubaev, Russia
Robert Evans MEP
15:30 - 15:45 Tea break
FINAL Chaired by Lord Avebury
15:45 - 17:30 Seminar workshops/questions & answer sessions
17:30 - 17:45 Feedback from seminar workshops: Shahriar Kabir, Bangladesh
17:45 Closing remarks (including future programme & vote of thanks) by Lord Avebury and final declaration
Working sessions: Keynote paper presentations and themes
Working session 1, room G 60
Human rights: Workshop Chair: Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International
1 Datelines Dhaka: Current situation and an analysis of Human Rights in Bangladesh: Advocate Sultana Kamal
2 Human rights violation by law enforcement agencies (Clean Heart Operation, RAB): Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury
3 Torture in Bangladesh 1971-2004: Lutz Oette, Redress
4 Human Rights Violations: Ahmad Salim, Pakistan
5 Advocate Mahbube Alam, President, Supreme Court Bar Association, Bangladesh
6 Advocate Sigma Huda, Bangladesh
Working session 2, room G 59
Persecution of minorities: Workshop Chair: Shelina Thawer, Minority Rights Group International)
1 Hindu, Buddhists, Christian Community: Sitangshu Guha
2 Bangladesh: The Next Afghanistan? Hironmoy Karlekar, India
3 Jumma Peoples Network UK: Mr Kumar Sivasish Roy
4 Ahmadiyya community: Prof Salim Malek
5 Indigenous communities: Advocate Promode Mankin MP, President, Bangladesh Christian Association & Adibashi Forum
6 Minority persecution in Bangladesh: Prof Ajoy Roy
Working session 3, room G 52
Rise of religious extremism & the threat to secular democracy: Workshop Chair: Prof Dr John Eade, University of Surrey
1 Threat to secular democracy: Dr Reza Kibria
3 Resisting Jamaat in Bangladesh : Fatemolla, Canada
4 Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Bangladesh
5 Bangladeshi diaspora: religious trends, socio-cultural dynamics and transnational politics: Dr David Garbin, University of Surrey
6 Barrister Amirul Islam, Bangladesh
Working session 4, room Khalili Lecture Theatre
International aspects: Workshop Chair: …..
2 Maggie Bowden, Liberation
3 Role of foreign donors & NGOs
4 Human Rights Watch
5 Islam & Fundamentalism: defending human rights at the UN: Roy Brown, President, International Humanist & Ethical Union
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European Human Rights Conference on Bangladesh
Extremism, Intolerance & Violence
17 June 2005
SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies)
University of London, Thornhaugh Street
London WC1H 0XG, UKThe worsening law & order situation, increased violation of human rights & persecution of minority religious groups, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, tribal communities, Ahmadiyyas, secular & progressive groups, and the rise of extremist armed groups in Bangladesh especially since 2001 is deeply worrying to all concerned with Bangladesh. A European conference in London is being called to highlight the deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh and to discuss & find strategies to address the human rights issues.Lord Avebury, Lord Dholakia, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Simon Hughes MP, John Wilkinson MP, Roberts Evans MEP, Shahriar Kabir (Bangladesh), Justice K M Subhan (Bangladesh), Advocate Sultana Kamal (Bangladesh), Fatemolla (Canada), Babu Gogineni, International Humanist & Ethical Union, Prof Dr John Eade, University of Surrey, Sitangshu Guha, BHBCUC-(USA), Shelina Thawer, Minority Rights Group International, Prof Salim Malek, Ahmadiya Muslim Association, Lutz Oette, Redress, Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International, Prof Werner Menski, SOAS (University of London), Dr David Garbin, University of Surrey, Dr Reza Kibria (Bangladesh), Cecilia Wikstrom MP (Sweden), Hironmoy Karlekar (India), Ahmad Salim (Pakistan), Maxim Lvovich Dubaev (Russia), Sophie Grig, Survival International, Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury, Advocate Mahbube Alam (Bangladesh), Barrister Amirul Islam (Bangladesh), Barrister shafique Ahmed (Bangladesh), Advocate Sigma Huda (Bangladesh), Promode Mankin MP (Bangladesh), Prof Ajoy Roy (Bangladesh), Prof Meer Mobasher Ali (Bangladesh), P A Sangma (India), Dr Charles Tannock MEP, Roy Brown (IHEU), Kumar Sivasish Roy (JPN) and Bangladesh Govt & Opposition Party representatives.
Members of the British House of Lords, British members of the Parliament (MPs), members of the European Parliament (MEPs), international human rights organisations, faith leaders, Centre for Ethnic Studies Department of SOAS, University of London, University of Surrey & other academics are supporting the conference and a number of international dignitaries are expected to attend and address the conference.
The conference is being organised by the ‘Bangladesh Conference 2005 Steering Committee’, Chaired by Lord Avebury, Vice Chairman of Parliamentary Human Rights Group (UK).
Parliamentary Human Rights Group (UK), International Humanist & Ethical Union, Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, School of Oriental & African Studies (University of London), Bangladesh Hindu Buddhists Christian Unity Council, UK Committee for Resisting Killers & Collaborators of Bangladesh War of 1971, National Coordinating Committee for the Realisation of Bangladesh Liberation War Ideals & Trials of Bangladesh War Criminals of 1971, UK branch, Minority Rights Group International, Liberation, South Asian Solidarity Group, European Bangladesh Forum, Redress, Article 19, Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity & Multiculturalism (University of Surrey), Awaaz, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI UK office), Survival International, World Sindhi Congress, Jumma Peoples Network UK, Vanishing Rites, Baroness Northover, Sally Keeble MP, Tom Brake MP, Tony Baldry MP, Simon Hughes MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, John Wilkinson MP, Gareth Thomas MP, David Drew MP, Angela Watkinson MP, Piara Singh Khabra MP, Peter Bottomley MP, Keith Vaz MP, Karen Buck MP, Ann Clwyd MP, Robert Evans MEP, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Jean Lambert MEP and Bangladeshi progressive political parties and other human rights organisations.
Entrance by invitation only, for Further Information and to register Contact:
Bangladesh Conference 2005 Steering Committee,
email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
European Human Rights Conference on Bangladesh
Extremism, Intolerance & Violence
Friday 17 June 2005
Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies), University of London,
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square,
London WC1H 0XG
All conference seats are booked
A motion against the persecutions and discriminations on the religious minorities and secular groups was discussed at Amnesty International’s AGM and Annual Conference 2005. The conference took place from 8th April to 10th April at Lancaster University, Lancashire. It was presented in front of 550 – 600 delegates from different parts of the UK and was conveyed overwhelmingly. After a series of friendly amendments the motion read as follows:
“The AGM notes the AI report on Bangladesh of 2002 and 2004 and the continuation of abuses committed by fundamentalist parties. The AGM deplores and condemns the continued rise of violence in Bangladesh especially bomb attacks on secular groups and the recent killing of former Finance Minister, Mr. S M Kibria. The meeting also notes the abuses of human rights especially against minority faiths communities of Hindu, Buddhist, Christians and repression against secular and civil society members.”The AGM calls on AIUK to make a representation to the Bangladesh Government to:
Publicly condemn these attacks,
Bring the perpetrators to justice,
Take initiative to pass anti-racism and anti-discrimination laws in parliament,
Take all necessary steps to stop the killings and harassment of secular and minority groups and prevent such abuses in future.
The motion was proposed by Sujit Sen and seconded by Mrinal Kanti Sarkar.
On 12 April 2005, a joint meeting between Lord Eric Avebury the Chairman of the European Human Rights Conference on Bangladesh (to be held on 17 June 2005), Vice Chairman Human Rights Group, Mr. Reza Kibria (son of Mr. S M Kibria -the assassinated finance minister of Bangladesh and member of Asma Kibria Campaign Group), Mr. Rashed A Mahmood Titumir (an academic and trustee of centre for research and action development), Mr. Sultan Shariff and Ansar Ahmedullah of Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and Sujit Sen of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council UK, took place at the residence of Lord Eric Avebury. Mr. Kibria gave details of his father killings and the government’s failure to save his father’s life. He also narrated the vivid picture of uprising fundamentalism and attacks on the religious minorities in Bangladesh. Mr Reza Kibria said the purpose of his mother’s campaign is to find out the culprits and to stop future political killings. The meeting discussed the various steps of protecting the human rights situation in Bangladesh. Earlier it was decided in the conference committee meeting that an organisation will be formed shortly, made up of a combination of British Politicians, University Academics and Human rights organisations, for the safety of the religious minorities, secular and civil society in Bangladesh.