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“Compare & Contrast the domestic implementation mechanism of Human Rights between Bangladesh & USA”
This research or essay is basically based on the true factor of the Human rights position or current situation in Bangladesh and USA.Bangladesh is a third world developing country whereas USA is the most economically solvent country. But both of the countries have some issues and problems regarding their Human rights. In my research I have found that comparing to USA,people of Bangladesh is suffering a lot from the violence of Human rights situation.USA also have some little problems and issues regarding their human rights acts and behaviors. But Bangladesh has some big issues and problems. According to Amnesty International Human rights condition of Bangladesh is brittle or fragile. In this paper we can see that too much capitalization and politicalization creates a very bad impact in human rights and making versetile.Also the detorotion of basic character, value and norms are liable for that.
CIDA-Canadian International Development Agency
JIA-Journal of International Affairs
BNP-Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
practice, within international law, global and regional institutions, in the policies of states and in the activities of non-governmental organizations, has been a cornerstone of public policy around the world. The idea of human rightsstates, “If the public discourse of peacetime global society can be said to have a common moral language, it is that of human rights.” Despite this, the strong claims made by the doctrine of human rights continue to provoke considerable skepticism and debates about the content, nature and justifications of human rights to this day. Indeed, the question of what is meant by a “right” is itself controversial and the subject of continued philosophical debate. Many of the basic ideas that animated the human rights movement developed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the atrocities of The Holocaust, culminating in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The ancient world did not possess the concept of universal human rights. From this foundation, the modern human rights arguments emerged over the latter half of the twentieth century. Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Those humans have by the fact of being human, and those are neither created nor can be abrogated by any government. Supported by several international conventions and treaties (such as the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human rights in 1948), these include cultural, economic, and political rights, such as right to life, liberty, education and equality before law, and right of association, belief, free speech, information, religion, movement, and nationality. Promulgation of these rights is nonbinding on any country, but they serve as a standard of concern for people and form the basis of many modern national constitutions. Although they were defined first by the Scottish philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) as absolute moral claims or entitlements to life, liberty, and property, the best-known expression of human rights is in the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776 which proclaims that “All men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity.” Called also fundamental rights. See also civil rights and natural rights
Compare and Contrast: Human rights and democracy are closely interlinked. Democratic process cannot ensure establishment of democracy in spirit unless rightdutyco-relationship exists between the electorate and the elected. And media acts as one of the important tools of strengthening democracy and promoting human rights. It is more important in the context of a nascent democracy like Bangladesh. The number of daily newspapers in the year 2002 was 282 out of which 107 are being published from the capital city Dhaka while the rest185 are from outside Dhaka. The number was 67 and23 respectively in the year 1990. This increase in number of newspapers coincides with the transition of the country from the autocratic rule during the 1980s to democratic process during the 1990s.The society in Bangladesh is highly polarized along political lines of two major political parties the Awami League (AL) and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Newspapers could remain outside and allegedly are toeing the party lines. As a result, people do not always get total picture of particular issue or event and get influenced by biased opinion/analysis. This also acts as some sort of censorship by the journalists or newspaper owners. Similarly the journalist’s unions are divided on political lines, which are a barrier on development ofprofessionalism.Although in 1991, democratic process was established in Bangladesh after a decade of autocratic rule, and the system of governance still remains dictatorial in nature. Instead of presidential form of Government, parliamentary form of Government has been established. But Prime Minister has become all-powerful in the existing system apparently without any checks and balances. Thus the media in Bangladesh is tooperate in an environment of democratic autocracy.Article 39(1) of the Constitution of Bangladesh ensures freedom of thought and conscience. Article 39(2) ensures freedom of speech, Governance Advisor, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Dhaka, Bangladesh. Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 114 8, Nos. 1 & 2, June & December 2004expression and press subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law. Here the term ‘reasonable’ is subjective and can be interpreted selectively by particular quarters to serve their particular interests. According to Printing Presses and Publication Act 1973, publication of any newspaper requires prior written approval of the Deputy Commissioner. The Act also bars printing and publishing anything that affects interest of State and the Government of Bangladesh. During the tenure of Awami League Government (1996-2001), the provision of oath or affirmation was inserted in the law forcing publisher/printer to an undertaking that he/she will not publish/print anything against the interest of the Government. This was undemocratic behavior of a democratically elected Government. According to Section 124A of the Bangladesh Penal Code, a person can be punished with imprisonment for three years or fine if he expresses dissatisfaction against the Government. Dissatisfaction denotes disloyalty and feeling of enmity as explained in the provision. This is an undemocratic obstacle to people’s freedom of expression. Section 505(b) of the same law forbids any report or statement against the State the punishment of which is imprisonment for seven years or fine or both. Originally this imprisonment was for two years as promulgated by the British rulers, but the democratically elected BNP Government increased it to seven years in 1991. What is surprising is that after the fall of autocratic ruler in 1990, the interim government scrapped some provisions (Sections 17, 18 and 19) of the Special Powers Act 1974. These provisions were against freedom of speech and expression in general and freedom of press in particular.
99A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Government can forfeit any publication if it is defamatory of the President; Prime Minister or Speaker of Parliament. The most draconian of the laws against free flow of information in Bangladesh is the Official Secrets Act of 1923. It bars public servants to provide to anyone any secret government plan, document, note, sketch, model, signal, information etc. which are related to restricted places and which if made public could pose threat to the security of the State. But Media, Democracy and Human Rights in Bangladesh 115the Government keeps all its decisions, including very trivial ones out of public knowledge under the pretext of this law. This is abuse of law to curtail free flow of information and hence, undemocratic. The Governments Service Rules of 1979 also prohibits public servants to disclose official information to press or to non-official persons. However, despite presence of such stringent legal regime, media in Bangladesh is very bold in promoting people’s rights and is critical against government. A favors made by some ministers and government officials in providing information to the media-men tacitly has enabled media to play this role. But here too, sometimes professionalism of media-men suffers at the cost of information. Although the number of newspapers published in Bangladesh is huge in terms of number of population and literate people (62% claimed by the Government, 47% claimed by the NGOs), many of the newspapers are not available in newspaper shops. This is due to financial vulnerability of these newspapers. They depend largely on the Government allocated newsprint and advertisement for their existence. Only around 12 leading newspapers out of 282 have considerable circulation at the national level in the country. Moreover, newspapers which are critical of the Government do not get their due share of newsprint and advertisements. The Government claims that advertisements are allocated according to the circulation figure that is, in fact, fabricated by some corrupt government officials in favor of some newspapers behind which, there are some underhand transactions. The Government claims that objectivity of news reporting is also considered in allocating newsprint and advertisements. This issues subjective in nature and is interpreted by the Government according to its own party policy and interest. Reporting on corruption, nepotism, and development projects initiated to protect vested interest instead of people’s interest has deprived many newspapers from Government advertisements. In recent years, some newspapers have succeeded to get rid of their dependency on Government allocated advertisements by getting lion’s share of their revenues from private sector advertisements. But this has not ensured extension of freedom of those newspapers rather they are sometimes influenced by interests of private sector companies and cannot go against those interests. Recently Human Rights Forum Bangladesh submitted a report on the human rights situation of the country from 2009 to 2012 under the universal periodic review of OHCHR. In this report we have included our concerns on the human rights situation of the country and also presented some recommendations to overcome the situation. Findings of the UPR Report-2013 contain both positive and Negative trends of human rights situations in Bangladesh. The report first notes some positive changes in the economic and social rights of citizens (food security, health, education). It then discusses serious concerns in terms of civil and political rights, particularly regarding life and liberty (enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, impunity of law enforcement agencies, attacks on opposition political leaders and labor rights activists), freedom of association, assembly and expression, independence of institutions (judiciary, ACC, NHRC) and rights of particular groups (HRDs, women, children, workers, IPs, minorities, dalits and PWDs). This report also compares the delivery of the Government against commitments made at the 2009 UPR. In the following sections an attempt has been made to introduce findings of the UPR report. In the subsequent sections we are also going to share our recommendations which are extremely pertinent for improving human rights situations in Bangladesh.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:
Government has made some significant development in the sector of health, food and advancements of the women. But there is also some challenges in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.
? Maternal and child mortality rates have been considerably reduced. Reviving of community health centers is another positive development.
? Bangladesh is close to attaining food security
? The Government has nationalized all registered primary schools, enacted the Private University Act 2010, and adopted the National Education Policy 2010, as well as policies to ban private coaching and corporal punishment in educational institutions. The present Educational Policy decreases the scope for discrimination and provides for the right to mother tongue study for IPs.
? The Vested Property (Return) 2011 Act marks an important milestone providing for minorities to reclaim lands which have been expropriated over four decades
? It is matter of concern that general health services remains largely inaccessible for the common people. Misuse, mismanagement and corruption in the health sector still denys people’s rights to access to proper health care facilities. Staff-patient ratio remains high.
? Inadequate implementation of the National Food Policy 2006, climate change, food adulteration, lack of application of relevant laws and adequate monitoring, using agricultural land for shrimp and tobacco cultivation and also for housing are becoming serious issues of concern. The Government has in many cases failed to the act against widespread land-grabbing by powerful sectors including the military and local Powerful elites and corporate interests, in particularly affecting the poor and minorities. Land registration remains complicated. Bangladesh government has no plan yet adopted for providing adequate shelter for the 2.3 to 3 million slum dwellers in the capital city. Despite High Court guidelines for prior rehabilitation/ resettlement of slum dwellers, forced evictions have continued. In April 2012, approximately 2,000 persons in Korail slum were evicted on less than a day’s notice. ? Land occupation remains a widespread concern with land conflicts remaining unresolved in the Chittagong Hill Tracts Women’s Human Rights: Positive Trends:Government has adopted the 2011 National Women’s Advancement Development Policy expressly referring to CEDAW, and restoring promises of gender equality in various sectors. New laws addressed domestic violence, human trafficking and marriage registration for Hindus, and enabled Bangladeshi women to transmit citizenship rights to foreign spouses and children. High Court directives since 2009 addressed gender discrimination, declaring unconstitutional extra-judicial punishments in the name of ‘fatwa’ (2010), prohibiting forced veiling in educational institutions and workplaces (2010), framing guidelines against sexual harassment in public places (2010), directing verification of birth certificates and/or NIDs for marriage registration to prevent early marriages. NEGATIVE TRENDS: Discriminatory policies, ineffective laws or their non-enforcement and social stereotypes contribute to violence against women including domestic violence. Dowry related violence, rape, acid attacks, ‘fatwa’, stalking and sexual harassment.
Compare and Contrast human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights to the human rights defined in the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Persons (formerly, of Man).
Human rights as defined under the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are moral doctrines guaranteed to people in all countries of the World simply because they are human beings. These rights are intended to ensure that people everywhere live a decent life. Under The Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948, basic freedoms guaranteed have been categorized as follows:
Security Rights: These rights are meant to protect individuals from physical harm such as torture, murder and rape orchestrated by the state or any other entity.
Due Process Rights: They are meant to protect people against misuse of the justice system that may cause a miscarriage of justice such as detention without trial, excessive punishment and secret trials.
Liberty Rights: These are rights meant to guarantee every individual the freedom to associate with others, express themselves, to move worship a god of their choice and the right to assemble.
Political Rights: These are meant to guarantee each person the right to participate in the political process through voting, the right to protest peacefully, and the right to serve as a public servant and to communicate.
Equality Rights: These rights protect individuals from discrimination of any kind, equal citizenship and equality of all citizens before the law.
Social Rights: They include the right of every individual to be protected against extreme poverty, universal right to education to all children and protection against starvation (Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy).
The American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Persons somewhat bears a resemblance to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It guarantees every individual the right to life, equality before the law, the right to personal security, freedom to worship, dissemination, expression and the right to life. It however goes further to guarantee other rights and freedoms to its citizens such as the right to protection of personal reputation, honor, and privacy. It also guarantees everyone the right to start a family and its protection, right to health and well being including food, shelter and clothing. During pregnancy, all women all women and children have the right to receive care, protection and aid, it also guarantees every national the freedom to live in any part of the country and to move freely within the country. Everyone has a right to transmit correspondence, the right to receive free basic education, equal opportunity in education in accordance with merit and talent and the right to use the resources that the community can provide. This is to prepare the person to be a useful member of society and adequately raise their standard of living The people are also guaranteed the right to work under decent conditions and to receive fair remuneration so as to ensure that the person together with his family live a decent lifestyle.
Everyone has the right to social security so as to be protected from the ravages of disability that may incapacitate him or her thus hindering them from earning a living, unemployment, or old age. Everyone has the right to participate in the cultural life of the community and protection of artistic, literary or scientific inventions. All citizens are assured their rights to recreation and leisure time. The courts are also entitled to protect individuals incase their legal and constitutional rights have been infringed upon. The law guarantees every person the right to nationality it further protects that persons right to change it. Everyone has the right to be protected from arbitrary arrest and the right to present meaningful petitions to administrative authority. Every person is entitled to a fair public hearing and is presumed guilty until proven otherwise in a court of law. It also guarantees everyone the right to asylum in a foreign country (University of Minnesota).
At the same time this charter expects things from the individual such as the duty of the person to conduct and relate well with others. It is also everyone’s duty to aid in taking care of his or her children and the duty of children to honor, aid and protect their parents when need arises. It is also the duty of every person to take part in the voting process when permitted by law. Every individual has a duty to respect and abide by the law of the land. It is also the duty of every person who is not physical incapacitated to serve his nation in a civil or military service. It is also everyone’s duty to work according to his capacity in order to earn a living to the benefit of the community. It is everyone’s duty to avoid participating in political activities of a foreign country (University of Minnesota).
2). Briefly analyze the role and responsibilities of the United Nations to promote and protect human rights in the Americas.
To promote and protect human rights in the America’s the United Nations through its agencies such as the United Nations Development Program have worked to protect human rights for instance in Mexico where the construction of a hydro-electric dam that would have led to compulsory relocation of indigenous people. The agency came up to advocate for the process to be done as humanely as possible and with adequate compensation to those affected by the project. The United Nations also played a key role to advocate against discrimination against women (Macclancy, J. 2002).
The United Nations through the Organization of American States supports the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights whose main aim is to protect and also promote human rights in the member countries. The mandate of the commission is to among other things is to receive petitions regarding human rights violations among member countries and investigating the claims. It also publishes annual reports that give an indication on the human rights situation among the member states. Through periodic visits to member countries the commission assesses the general human rights conditions. The commission is also charged with the responsibility of making recommendations to the member states (Human Rights).
3). briefly analyze the relevance and importance of the United Nations Charter to international human rights. Select the article that you believe is the most important to the promotion and protection of human rights
The United Nations Charter has promoted human rights the world over among member states. The Convention against torture for instance has gone a long way in trying to reduce and eventually eradicate torture. This convention set up the United Nations Committee against Torture which defined torture as an intentionally inflicted suffering or pain which may be either physical or mental and whose aim is to punish or obtain information from the person.
It expects states to take deliberate legal measures to prevent torture and gives no justification whatsoever for torture. It also forbids the expulsion of a refugee or returning them to their country of origin. It requires states to punish perpetrators of torture and also train the police and military on how to prevent torture. It also requires the states to extradite its citizens who are accused of torture to face a competent foreign justice system whenever they are required to do so. It also forbids the states not to admit any confessions made by suspects while being tortured. Finally it entitles compensation from the state to victims of torture including medical expenses and incase the victim dies as a result of torture, the survivors receive payment (United Nations).
Conclusion: After the findings we can see that Bangladesh is far away from the human rights condition of United States.USA is very good in their local or domestic implementation mechanism of Human rights. Whereas Bangladesh is not in a good position for the political violence.
Date: 12th June, 2013
Date: 13th June, 2013
Date: 16th June, 2013
Date: 17th June, 2013
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