Govt feels disturbed if rights issues raised: Sultana Kamal 

Sultana Kamal speaks at a press conference in Dhaka on 31 December, 2023.Sazid Hossain

Sultana Kamal, a former caretaker government advisor, has described the current human rights situation in Bangladesh as 'very bad' and observed that the government feels disturbed whenever human rights issues are raised.

At a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) on Sunday, the noted rights defender also alleged that those who advocate for human rights find themselves in a hostile environment. The rights defenders are being placed in confrontation with the state.

Sultana Kamal, the founding president of the Manabadhikar Shongskriti Foundation (MSF), presided over the press conference titled 'Human rights situation in Bangladesh: MSF observation.'

Reflecting on 2023, she said the responsibilities of a state are to respect, protect, and implement human rights. But they did not pay any heed to the responsibilities throughout the last year, rather responded defensively whenever human rights concerns arose.

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Noting a lack of appropriate measures to safeguard human rights, Sultana Kamal said human rights were not respected properly, while the government did not take any intellectual initiative to promote the sense of human rights.

The government’s behaviour gives the impression that they are not taking the rights issues seriously. They think only infrastructural development is enough, and turn reluctant to their responsibilities to improve people’s mentality and the sense of rights.

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At the programme, MSF chief executive Saidur Rahman presented a report on the human rights condition in Bangladesh.