View With Charts And Images
Compare and contrast the domestic implementation mechanism of human Rights between Bangladesh and USA
This essay focuses on the comparing and contrasting domestic implementation mechanism of human Rights between Bangladesh and USA. A crucial challenge is therefore to know about domestic human rights of both the countries in order to compare between the two. Secondly, it is significant to understand how the government of both the countries implements their law against violating domestic human rights. Finally, from the discussions some comparisons between the Bangladeshi domestic law and the US domestic law are drawn to consideration.
The term Human rights refers to the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled to often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.Following this concept we will look in to how this is being applied in terms of domestically between Bangladesh and the USA.
This essay will give a brief perspective about comparing and contrasting implementation mechanism of human rights between Bangladesh and the USA.
The right against torture is a fundamental right under Article 35 (5) of the Constitution of Bangladesh, which reads “No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment”. Ironically, Article 46 of the Constitution empowers the State to provide impunity to the perpetrators.
In reality, torture is not a punishable crime in the domestic laws of Bangladesh. The Penal Code of 1860 (Sections 330, 331 and 348) penalizes offences relating to causing hurt or wrongful confinement to extract confession. However, these provisions do not meet the standards of the CAT or define ‘torture’ as a crime.
In contrast, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Sections 132 and 197) protects the public servants such as police officers from prosecution unless prior approval from the government is obtained. According to the current interpretation of these provisions, the courts refuse to take cognizance of crimes committed by state agents without the prior approval of the state. This reflects the moral as well as jurisprudential deficit of the judiciary in the country.
In addition, until recently the subordinate judiciary of Bangladesh, which includes the Magistrates’ and the Sessions Judges’ courts had been under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. This subjugated the judiciary to such an extent that even after the change of circumstances the judicial officers behave as if they are not accountable to a superior court, but to a government officer. The temporal framework of the subordinate judiciary is still that they believe that they are part of the executive, but not the judiciary. This cuts the root of the impartiality quotient of the subordinate judiciary in the country. In addition, the process for complaints, investigation and prosecution of cases involving allegations against state agents is almost impossible in the country.
Since torture is not criminalized, a victim of torture cannot get any compensation in Bangladesh at all. No specific law allowing compensation for the victims of torture exists in the country despite the fact that the right against torture is a fundamental right.
Bangladesh does not have any specific law concerning witness protection. None of the existing domestic law like the Code of Criminal Procedure contains a provision to protect the witness. The court, when it grants bail to an accused, may impose conditions for bail, which are often violated with impunity owing to the lack of monitoring and implementing facilities. The courts have also demonstrated their lack of commitment in this regard through their decades long neglect in addressing this issue. In such a context, the witnesses in a case of torture not only remain far beyond any legal protection but also face further threat, intimidation and the possibility of having fabricated charges filed against them.
The endless practice of torture practiced with impunity, has created a fear psychosis in the society in Bangladesh. The people, has lost their faith on the criminal justice mechanism. Victims refrain from complaining owing to the fear of further persecution. In addition the wide-spread corruption and huge litigation expenses makes the complaint process unaffordable for the ordinary people. In most cases of violence committed by the state agencies, the victims are from the lesser affluent class in the society, which amounts to almost ninety percent of the population.
There is a notion among the law-enforcing agents and the policymakers in the country that torture is an effective tool for investigation. Poor infrastructural facilities are cited as a reason for resorting to torture and further justifying its use.
Bangladesh has 629 police stations. Torture is practiced as a routine in all of these police stations. It is an accepted means of maintaining law and order, investigation and extorting money by the police. Even if it is assumed that only a single person per day is tortured in the country per station, an alarming number of 229,585 persons are being tortured in Bangladesh every year. This figure excludes those victims who are tortured outside the police stations or other detention centers.
Even worse, police is not the only state agency that routinely practices torture. Paramilitary forces like the Rapid Action Battalion, the armed forces, the border security forces, the intelligence agencies like the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and special cells such as the Task Force for Interrogation (widely known as TFI Cell) and the Joint Interrogation Cell (JIC) created by the government, also practice torture. The TFI and the JIC, by their very nature of the mandate are professionally trained to extract confessions from detainees, for which torture is the most common tool.
Many organizations have come across to protect domestic human right and many programs have been initiated. Likewise, PLAN have taken a five years program in protecting Gender Based Violence; Human Rights; Domestic Violence; Child Marriage; Trafficking; Protection. Protecting Human Rights (PHR) is a five year human rights activity project, funded by USAID. Plan shall work with its partners: Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association and International Center for Research on Women. In addition Plan will work with 20 local NGOs in the delivery of survivor support services to victims of domestic violence. Many of the activities of this project will be national in scope such as advocacy, capacity building, and education. It will focus service delivery and its related Service Improvement Plan small grants component in 102 unions of 8 Upazilas within the 6 districts found in Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet and Chittagong divisions.
The goal of PHR is to reduce the high prevalence of domestic violence and other related human rights violations (including, but not limited to, child marriage, anti-stalking, dowry, physical humiliation, torture, trafficking, rape, and child abduction). To achieve this goal, PHR will engage in an array of activities that will encourage policy reform and advocacy, enhance public awareness, and increase public dialogue between the government and civil society on issues of domestic violence and other associated human rights abuses. Interventions under PHR will: 1) advocate for the Government of Bangladesh to adopt and enforce comprehensive women‘s rights and domestic violence policies that includes legislation as the Domestic Violence Bill; 2) ensure that survivors of domestic violence and other related human rights abuses have greater access to justice; 3) increase the awareness and capacity of communities throughout Bangladesh to reduce domestic violence.
PHR represents a renewed and expanded effort of the USAID/Bangladesh Mission‘s earlier successful program entitled Bangladesh Human Rights Advocacy Program (BHRAP). PHR will complement existing U.S. government‘s interagency efforts to advance human rights, support adoption and enforcement of women‘s rights legislation and reform, and increase human rights education and awareness.
The USA Perspective
Human rights in the United States are legally protected by the Constitution of the United States, including the amendments, state constitutions, conferred by treaty, and enacted legislatively through Congress, state legislatures, and state referendum and citizen’s initiatives. Federal courts in the United States have jurisdiction over international human rights laws as a federal question, arising under international law, which is part of the law of the United States.
Beginning in 2005, The Overbrook Foundation assumed a leading role in developing the domestic human rights movement. It joined as a founding partner the U.S. Human Rights Fund to respond to the burgeoning interest among social justice organizations in using universal human rights standards and strategies to advance their social justice advocacy. By invoking universal claims to dignity, equality and opportunity that go beyond civil rights protections contained in statutory law or the Bill of Rights, human rights empower vulnerable communities in the U.S. to define and lead their own campaigns against injustice.
The United Nations says the United States must reassess how it protects victims and punishes perpetrators of domestic violence. The United Nations (UN) Special Reporter on violence against women has urged the United States to re-examine its current policies on dealing with violence against women.
It’s a huge embarrassment for a nation which considers itself to be among the most equal in the world – and the kind of slap on the wrist that the UN normally administers to nations with dismal human rights records.
“Violence against women is the most pervasive human rights violation which continues to challenge every country in the world, and the US is no exception”.
Although the U.S have strong policies regarding violating domestic human rights but they still lacks in implementing them.
The USHRN, a coalition of over 250 social justice and human rights organizations, published its report to challenge the findings of a self-assessment the U.S. government filed with the U.N. Committee on Ending Discrimination (CERD) last April.
The United States ratified human rights standards from the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in 1994 (meaning they have the force of domestic law), but according to the USHRN, has failed to live up to them.
Bangladesh in spite of having law to protect domestic violence stated in the constitution under article 35 is not obliged by it. This is because in Bangladesh perspective ‘torture’ is not acknowledge as a criminal activity. Ironically, article 46 of the constitution empowers the state to provide exemption to the perpetrators. This shows that in spite of having the law to protect domestic human rights, the Government creates another law which impunities the criminals. Also, the code of criminal procedure, 1898 (sections 132 and 197) protects police officers from prosecution unless prior approval from the Government is obtained. This also reflects that police officers cannot take action against violating domestic human rights. Considering so much negligence many organizations have come across to implement program to emphasis on protecting domestic human rights.
On the other hand, human rights in the United States are legally protected by the constitution of the United States. In early 2005, the overbook foundation together with the U.S. Human rights fund took an initiative steps in developing domestic human rights. It has been noted that despite of the U.S. strong policies against protecting domestic human rights huge dismal of human rights records have been found. So, similarly in respect to Bangladesh the United States also fails to implement strong policies regarding violating Human Rights.
From the above perspectives of Bangladesh and the United States and from the comparisons it has been found out that both the countries have law in their constitution against violating domestic human rights and the U.S. have strong rules and regulations in their constitution to legally protect human rights but in spite of several strong law both the countries fails to implement the law in to action. It is also noted that there is a similarity between both the countries in implementation of domestic human rights. Despite of several program and initiative to protect people from domestic violations both the countries have no implementation of such law.
“The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company”, available at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/human+rights
”Torture in Bangladesh Legal framework regarding torture:”available at http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/bangladesh/torture-in-bangladesh
“Bangladesh: Protecting Human Rights”, available at http://www.planusa.org/content2675006
Lauren, Paul Gordon (2007). “A Human Rights Lens on U.S. History: Human Rights at Home and Human Rights Abroad”. In Soohoo, Cynthia; Albisa, Catherine; Davis, Martha F. Bringing Human Rights Home: Portraits of the MovementIII. Praeger Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 0-275-98824-4.
Brennan, William, J., ed. Schwartz, Bernard, The Burger Court: counter-revolution or confirmation?, Oxford University Press US, 1998,ISBN 0-19-512259-3, page 10
Schneebaum, Steven M. (Summer, 1998). “Human rights in the United States courts: The role of lawyers”. Washington & Lee Law Review. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
“Domestic human rights movement”, available at http://www.overbrook.org/human-rights/domestic-human-rights/
“US breaching human rights of domestic violence victims”, available at http://www.channel4.com/news/us-breaching-human-rights-of-domestic-violence-victims
Alex Jung, “U.S commits, lies about domestic human rights violations”, available at http://www.alternet.org/story/70353/u.s._commits,_lies_about_domestic_human_rights_violations
See “The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company”, available at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/human+rights
See ”Torture in Bangladesh Legal framework regarding torture:”available at http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/bangladesh/torture-in-bangladesh
See “Bangladesh: Protecting Human Rights”, available at http://www.planusa.org/content2675006
See Lauren, Paul Gordon (2007). “A Human Rights Lens on U.S. History: Human Rights at Home and Human Rights Abroad”. In Soohoo, Cynthia; Albisa, Catherine; Davis, Martha F. Bringing Human Rights Home: Portraits of the MovementIII. Praeger Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 0-275-98824-4.
See Brennan, William, J., ed. Schwartz, Bernard, The Burger Court: counter-revolution or confirmation?, Oxford University Press US, 1998,ISBN 0-19-512259-3, page 10
See Schneebaum, Steven M. (Summer, 1998). “Human rights in the United States courts: The role of lawyers”. Washington & Lee Law Review. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
See “Domestic human rights movement”, available at http://www.overbrook.org/human-rights/domestic-human-rights/
See “US breaching human rights of domestic violence victims”, available at http://www.channel4.com/news/us-breaching-human-rights-of-domestic-violence-victims
See Alex Jung, “U.S commits, lies about domestic human rights violations”, available at http://www.alternet.org/story/70353/u.s._commits,_lies_about_domestic_human_rights_violations