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Compare and Contrast the domestic implementation mechanism of Human Rights between Bangladesh and U.S.A
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The research paper mainly focuses on human rights situation in Bangladesh and United States. Some important issues are discussed here to make it understandable about the compare and contrast of Bangladesh and United States mechanisms for implementation of human rights.
What is human right?
Human rights are rights those are inherent to all living human beings, whatever their nationality, living place, sex, origin, skin color, language, or any other status of the world. All men and women are equally entitled to human rights having no discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible and should be distributed to enjoy equally.
On the other hand those basic rights and freedoms to which all men and women are titled and held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.
Basically these rights are based on the principle of respect for an individual. Their basic assumption is that each and every person is a moral being who deserves to be treated with respect and equity. As they are universal, they are called human rights.
History of Human Rights:
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789)
It was 1789, when some French people set up a stage in order to establish the first French Republic. About six weeks later came the great result as the storming of the Bastille, and barely just after three weeks after the abolition of feudalism, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was adopted by the National Constituent Assembly and it was the first taken step to write a constitution for the Republic of France. Thus, the Declaration sees law as an “expression of the general will.’’
The First Geneva Convention (1864)
The Geneva Convention took place among with 16 European countries and also 7 American states in the year of 1864. At the Swiss Federal Council, the conference was arranged on the initiative of the Geneva Committee. The conference was diplomatic enough and it took some time and held for the purpose of adopting a convention for the treatment of wounded soldiers in any combat.
The United Nations (1945)
It was April 1945 when delegates came from 50 countries and they called a meeting in San Francisco. They were all full of hope and optimism. The main target of the United Nations Conference on International Organization was to build a international figure to raise peace and remove wars in long future. These mind-blowing ideals of the organization were stated in the preamble to its proposed charter: “We the peoples of the United Nations are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.” On 24, October, 1945, a day that is enjoyed every year as United Nations Day.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
By 1948, the United Nations’ new Human Rights Commission managed to gain attention of the whole world in a moment for some important steps. The chairman Eleanor Roosevelt—President Franklin Roosevelt’s widow both were very dynamic and active for a human rights champion in her own right and the United States delegate to the UN—the Commission set out to draft the document that became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Roosevelt, credited with its inspiration, referred to the Declaration as the international Magna Carta for all mankind. It was first practiced by the United Nations on December 10, 1948
Human Rights situation in Bangladesh:
The birth of our country has come from the emergence of human rights we all know. Our country is still facing abject poverty despite of having enough chances and progress. From our country’s prospective poverty is the most powerful enemy against our human rights.
The current situation of human rights in Bangladesh is not even near to satisfactory, although the attention is on different sensitive human right related issues. But our country law for human right is in a respective position comparing to any other developing country in the world. Our laws are in a situation presenting an appalling picture. But to some extent we found that police involvement in theft, robbery, and rape frequently appear in the news which is a matter of great shame for us. Governments, past and present, have also taken many wrong steps which seriously damaged our human rights and abused our pride. “The Special Powers Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the so-called Public Safety Act are continually used to suppress political opposition. Extrajudicial killings, police atrocities, and prolonged detention of citizens without formally charging them are common.”
Human Rights situation in U.S.A.:
Human rights in the United States are legally protected by their government and constitution. As they have strict laws and also proper implementation, people are aware of their rights and rules. People are more concern about what to do and what not to do about their human rights. The United States of America ensures freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and also the right to a fair trial by the jury. The civil rights act and the Americans with Disabilities Act are two core examples of human rights. “The United States government has declared martial law, suspended (claimed exceptions) some rights on national security grounds, typically in wartime and conflicts such as the United States Civil War, Cold War or the War against Terror.70, 000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were legally interned during World War II under Executive Order 9066.”
Some Important mechanisms of Human Rights in U.S.A.:
· The United Nations1503 Procedure:
The United Nations 1503 procedure is a worldwide mechanism for human rights in U.S.A. and all other country around the world. It applies in all around the United Nations and any other nations of the universe. The 1503 Procedure is named after the resolution of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights which mainly took a step and established it. It represents and activate through enables 2 bodies of the UN (the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection on Human Rights and the Commission on Human Rights) to examine complaints which are in consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested human rights violations received from individuals or NGOs or other organizations.
Main features of the procedure:
The United Nations 1503 procedure has 2 basic features. It examines the human rights situation in specific countries and it is very important for them to keep confidential.
1. Examination of the human rights ‘situation’ in a country:
This procedure tests the human rights situation in countries and put them in a standard scale to measure. It does not examine or go for any unusual or terrific individual cases. When a large number of individual cases are received, they gather them and from which, important cases are taken together and then the UN may decide either to examine the situation in that country or not to take any further actions. This procedure is really helpful and useful even can work properly if you have strong and clear evidence of a substantial number of any sorts of violations against different individuals or evidence of a serious violation of human rights against one person and wish to draw attention to the human rights situation in a particular country.
Another basic quality of this process is that, the 1503 procedure is highly confidential. It created a new bridge which involves friendly communications between the UN and the state under examination which are not made for the public. Any individuals or NGOs which submit complaints are not informed of any action taken regarding to their complaint. The only communication or signal they receive from the UN is a letter or a receipt of their complaint. That’s all to a serious action against any individual or organizations and they will take them down and bring under laws.
· United Nations trust territories:
The United Nations Charter established a new system named The International Trusteeship system after World War II has also been significant as a way for women’s groups to integrate their vision of equality and equity into self-determination. Women in the trust territories encoded competing signs of purity, equality, gender and decolonization. What has been unfortunately overlooked by intelligent lawyers and non-lawyers alike, moreover, is the fact that women in the trust territories themselves made use of the right to petition the Trusteeship Council. They illustrate as well that no single grand narrative engages the range of identities visible in local women’s communications with their own concern.
· UN Women
It was July 2010 when the United Nations General Assembly felt to create something for their rights less women and came with an idea to establish UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. To fulfill their dream UN Member States took a step which created a new history in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The invention of UN Women came about as part of the UN agenda, bringing together resources and activate for greater impact. It will build on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system which focus exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The main roles of UN Women are:
•To work for inter-governmental stages, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, formulation of policies, keeping global standards and norms
•To support Member States to keep these standards, being ready to provide sustainable technical and financial help to those countries that request for it and to maintain an effective friendly relationship with civil society.
•To keep UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.
· Interagency Working Group on Human Rights:
The President of U.S.A. President Clinton created Executive Order 13107 on Human Rights Day, December 10, 1998. That Order started the Interagency Working Group on Human Rights Treaties. After a short time George W. Bush became President and issued a National Security Presidential Directive 1 (February 13, 2001), by which a new era began with Policy Coordination Committee on Democracy, Human Rights, and International Operations nominally assumed the duties of the Interagency Working Group on Human Rights Treaties. “As a practical matter, however, the Bush Administration does not appear to have implemented the program of action contemplated in the executive order.”
· NGOs Input into the Process:
NGOs can play very important role to run the process of reporting to international treaty bodies with respect to U.S. rules and regulations under human rights treaties. Increasingly, NGOs have become directly involved in educating the treaty bodies on domestic human rights matters. NGOs often have access to information that federal government officials may not have. Thus, during the Clinton Administration, the Interagency Working Group met with NGOs to get input before submitting reports to treaty bodies.
· Proposals for the Future of the Working Group:
A return to the Working Group’s formalized process would lead to more active, effective and efficient coordination of domestic human rights policy. It will also ensure that tasks will not fall between the cracks rather they will go fast. Since then authority already exists under Executive Order 13107, resuming the Working Group’s work would not necessarily require reauthorization. At the same time, there are ways in which the process can be made more efficient and modernized. An expanded and final list of agencies is included in the proposed list of the new Executive Order in new language according to Section 4(b) of E.O. 13107. It is done to include new entities for example Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education.
· The Judicial Branch Recognizes and Honors Human Rights Principles:
To support the critical role of the courts in the protection of human rights, the President nominated judges who recognize that, like the ratified treaties are the “supreme Law of The Land” under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Judicial nominees should also have an agreement of appreciation for the fact of customary international law is the law of the land. Later the Administration should ensure that individuals have recourse to courts in the United States in order to maintain and keep their human rights. For example, the new Administration should support the Aspen Institute (which provides human rights education to judges). “The Administration should support judicial human rights education and support the role of courts in providing full and appropriate hearings on allegations of human rights violations.”
Some Important mechanisms of Human Rights in Bangladesh:
· United Nations Development Programme Bangladesh:
The very important step to have an agreement between the Government and UNDP called the Standard Basic Assistance Agreement. On the 25th of November 1986 this Agreement was signed between the Bangladesh Government and UNDP. The Agreement establishes the basis for UNDP’s support and to Bangladesh’s development actions and promises to regain the most important problems of any section and to ensure social progress and better standards of human life.
UNDP has five basic development areas among them the first one is:
‘Democratic governance and human rights.’
So it becomes very easy to say how important it is to ensure human rights in Bangladesh.
· National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh:
The National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh was established in 2009 as a national institution for human rights protection. It is promised to the reach the top of human rights in a broader sense, including dignity, worth and freedom of every human being, as enshrined in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The purpose of establishing such excellent institution is to contribute to the establishment of human dignity and equality as well as to the secure of the basic order of democracy so that every human being can take the taste of human rights with freedom. It also works for the standers of human rights in a country.
· Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK):
It was 1986 when Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) was established as a national legal aid and human rights organization. At the very beginning it focused on providing legal services freely to the disenfranchised in Dhaka City. Slowly with of Bangladesh government its aims and activities have developed over twenty years to investigation, advocacy, media campaigning, and documentation, training and action research in addition to its core activities of legal services.
· Human Rights Congress For Bangladesh Minorities:
HRCBM is an international campaigning promised to protect the human rights of people in Bangladesh. They work for the minorities in number in Bangladesh. They are dedicated to stand with victims and activate themselves to prevent discrimination and ensure offenders to justice.
Closing your eyes you can say that it is a great process which is working to end xenophobia, human rights abuse, racial discrimination, civil resentment, brutality, black laws and oppression against minorities in Bangladesh. These types of mechanisms are really very important to bring peace and equality in mankind.
· Human Rights in constitution:
Human rights and freedom of expression is very clearly present in the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. In the article 39 (1, 2) of chapter-3 of this constitution these have been stated. Some of them are:
(a) “The right of every citizen of freedom of speech and expression;
(b) Freedom of the press, are guaranteed.
Some reasonable restrictions found in these articles are as follows-
(a) Against the interest of security of the State
(b) Against the friendly relation with foreign state
27 All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. – Equality before law.”
There are some other sectors of these two countries where we can find difference in rules and regulations about human rights issues. We better think for some mechanisms to be right in all’s eyes.
If we talk about marriage as a human right, both Bangladesh and U.S.A. has approved straight marriage rules and some laws to follow. But if we talk about the ages we will find it interesting. In united sates the age varies from states to states. For example it is 19 in Nebraska and 21 in Mississippi. Some other states give women allowance to marry under 18 is well.
In Bangladesh the minimum marriage age is 21 for girls. For the reason girls are becoming more and more attentive to their studies. Women empowerment will be much easier in this way.
Same sex marriage:
Same sex marriage is legal and recognized in different jurisdictions inside United States. In June 2013, 12 states and 3 Native American tribes did legalize same sex marriage. Also California slightly granted same sex marriages in the year of 2008 having some conditions.
But in Bangladesh our country and our culture doesn’t accept this kind of activities by both men and women. Same sex marriage is illegal in Bangladesh. May be to some extend some people will have a feeling of interrupt to human right. But we do have penalty for same sex activity as fines or 10 years of life imprisonment. “According to Section 377 of the Bangladeshi Penal Code, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description that is, hard labor or simple for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine”.
Human trafficking is a crime against human rights. In most cases victims are found involved in debt bondage, prostitution, pornography, illegal drug trade arms trade etc. This is a common and dirty crime in Bangladesh. From a research we found that more than 2000 child are being trafficked every year from Bangladesh. But there is no strong implementation against it. But in a developed country like United States they have strong human right laws for child as well with strictly implemented. So the rate of human trafficking is very poor in U.S.A.
Violence against Women:
Women are also human. They have the equal right to live and die like a man. Still at some stages of life women are being tortured by men in different ways for different reasons. The violence against women Act of 1994(VAWA) is a United States federal law. (Title IV, sec 40001-400703). But in Bangladesh violence against women is a common secret matter. The most tragic fact of a life of a woman is being inequality in most spheres of life in most part of the world. They are being discriminated from birth till death. At home, school, college, university, office, and business sector everywhere they are taught not to be equal to men. As a result a mentality is grown inside them to rise under men shelter in most cases. Between 15% and 52% of ever married women report facing some form of spousal physical violence.’ (Heise et al. 1994). Only 44 countries (approximately) have come forward by adopting specific legislation to address family violence.(Khan M. UNICEF .Innocent research center, 2000 , p. 1). Even Domestic violence was recognized as a criminal offence in India in 1983. (Domestic Violence, p. 493).
Police Torture and Custodial Death:
Any forms of torture in prison or jail were banned by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which the United States participated. “The United States is a government party to the active conventions (international treaties) that avoid torture: the American Convention on Human Rights (signed 1977) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed 1977; ratified 1992).”
Some brutal cases are:
· Nazmul Islam(25) Killed by R.A.B. on 16-3-2012
· Imtiaz hossain abeer(19) was shot death by police
· Limon(20) lost his leg shot by Rapid Action Battalion
Some of these stories tell us everything about police and armed team’s action against innocent people abusing human rights in Bangladesh.
Freedom of Speech:
In the United States freedom of speech of citizens is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. First Amendment providing the safest protection is the biggest industrialized nation in all around the world.
We are speechless to found: Editor of “Amar Desh” Mahmudur Rahman got arrested
Chemical in Fruits: Death for culprits:
The High Court has directed police to file criminal cases under the Special Powers Act, 1974 against those using chemicals to ripen or preserve fruits, and sell them.
According to the act, the maximum punishment for the offence is death penalty.
In the end we can say that, Bangladesh as a developing country is trying their best to do well about human right implementation and promoting mechanisms. But because of over population and illiterate rate we are lagging behind in the race of developing countries’ mechanisms. We have to take lessons from country like United Nations and be aware of human rights. May be many of us already came with the best plans. But we did not share our thought. Only we can make a beautiful future ourselves by putting those dreams into reality by implementing them.
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5. Christopher.L.Gramer.Domestic Violence,(p. 493)
6.Kapoor, S. (2000). Domestic Violence against women and girls : Innocent Research Centre. Retrieved from http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/213 on June 14, 2013
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9.United Nations Development Programme Bangladesh. Retrieved from http://www.undp.org.bd/aboutus.php
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On June 17, 2013
11. Human Rights in Constitution. Retrieved from http://www.banglarights.net/constitutional_hr_1.php on June 17, 2013
12. Bangladesh 2009-2012: Four Years of Human Rights Violation. Retrieved from http://www.awamibrutality.com/file%5CHRinImage%20.pdf on June 17, 2013
<href=”#_ftnref1″ name=”_ftn1″ title=””>Boumediene v. Bush, 128 S. Ct. 2229 (2008).