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Compare and contrast the domestic implementation mechanism of Human rights between Bangladesh and USA
The enormous US prison population, the world’s largest, partly reflects harsh sentencing practices contrary to international law, such as disproportionately long prison terms and mandatory sentencing without parole. Those behind bars include a growing number of elderly people, whom prisons are ill-equipped to handle, and youth under age 18 held in adult prisons. Unauthorized immigrants and their families in the United States are vulnerable to abuses stemming from an outdated, ineffective immigration system that deprives them of basic rights, and increasing numbers are held in detention facilities. A number of abusive counterterrorism policies have continued under President Barack Obama, including detentions without charge at Guantanamo Bay.
Like most of the developing countries, Bangladesh has its share of human rights issues and problems. While freedoms are enshrined in the constitution regardless of race, gender and religion. There are many instances where the rights are often ignored and trampled. There is a lack of tolerance in the political system. Violent loggerhead are often created by major opposition parties. While Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy with reasonably free and fair elections. Opposition to government policies is often displayed through violent demonstrations and enforced strikes. This is irrespective of which party is in power. Most of the time in the year major opposition parties have boycotted parliamentary sessions.
What Is Human Rights?
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.
Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups. Human rights should be:
· Universal and Inalienable;
· Interdependent and Indivisible;
· Equal and Non-Discriminatory;
· Must have rights and obligations
International Human Rights Law
The international human rights movement was strengthened when the United Nations General Assembly adopted of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. Drafted as ‘a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations’, the Declaration for the first time in human history spell out basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all human beings should enjoy. It has over time been widely accepted as the fundamental norms of human rights that everyone should respect and protect. The UDHR, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, form the so – called International Bill of Human Rights.
A series of international human rights treaties and other instruments adopted since 1945 have conferred legal form on inherent human rights and developed the body of international human rights. Other instruments have been adopted at the regional level reflecting the particular human rights concerns of the region and providing for specific mechanisms of protection. Most States have also adopted constitutions and other laws which formally protect basic human rights. While international treaties and customary law form the backbone of international human rights law other instruments, such as declarations, guidelines and principles adopted at the international level contribute to its understanding, implementation and development. Respect for human rights requires the establishment of the rule of law at the national and international levels.
Major Human Rights NGOs
Amnesty International is recognized as one of the most influential human rights NGOs, with over 3 million members in 150 countries. Amnesty International conducts research, raises public awareness of human rights violations, and generates grassroots action. Amnesty International aims to ensure all people enjoy the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The work of Amnesty International includes direct lobbying, letter writing, petitions, public demonstrations, public education and more
Human Rights Watch is an international NGO that monitors human rights conditions in 80 countries worldwide. Human Rights Watch (HRW) works to bring international attention to human rights violations by performing investigations and implementing strategic advocacy work. This organization also collaborates closely with local groups, governments, corporations and international institutions in order to create policy reforms.
Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a national organization that advocates on the behalf of all children in the United States. CDF aims to ensure that every child receives adequate health care, a quality education and protection from poverty, abuse, and neglect. Beyond policy advocacy work, CDF implements programs in struggling neighborhoods, including after-school and summer enrichment programs.
The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) works to eliminate the use of torture globally by implementing a preventative and cooperative approach. APT promotes monitoring and transparency, strong legal frameworks, and capacity building at a local, national and international level.
Current Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh
Here we have discussed the recent human rights implementations, obligations and situation in Bangladesh:
Extrajudicial Killings, Torture, and Impunity
Although there was a decline in overall numbers of civilians killed by security forces in 2012, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)—a force comprised of military and police—continued to carry out extrajudicial killings. The ruling political party, the Awami League, pledged to bring the RAB under control when it assumed office, but abuses persisted. The government continued to persecute 17-year-old boy, Limon Hossain, whom RAB officials shot and maimed in March 2011. Although the government initially said that Hossain was injured in a botched RAB operation, it quickly retracted the statement and filed criminal charges against him. In August 2012, an alleged RAB informant attacked and beat Hossain in a street in his hometown. Instead of protecting Hossain, the government filed further charges against him, and accused him and his relatives of murdering a bystander. The authorities failed to investigate and prosecute the RAB or other security forces responsible for extrajudicial killings or torture. While the RAB set up an internal investigative unit with technical assistance from the United States, no RAB member has ever faced criminal prosecution for a human rights violation .In April, Elias Ali, secretary of the Sylhet Division of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), disappeared without trace. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called on the police to investigate Ali’s disappearance, but undermined the effort by claiming that Ali and his driver were “hiding” at his party’s orders to allow the opposition to blame the government. Human rights groups reported
more than 20 disappearances in 2012.
Aminul Islam, a prominent labor rights activist, was found tortured and killed in April 2012. In response to an intense outcry, the Home Ministry set up a high level commission to investigate his killing, but there had been no progress in the investigation at this writing. While there was no suggestion of political responsibility, Prime Minister Hasina made public statements downplaying the significance of the killing. Workers in Bangladesh faced poor working conditions, low wages, and excessive hours. Government repression and collusion with factory owners prevented them from organizing effectively. The government continued legal action against the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), an NGO that works closely with trade unions. Over a dozen labor rights leaders, including BCWS leaders, faced criminal charges on a variety of spurious grounds, including under the Explosive Substances.
Restrictions on Civil Society and Political Opposition
The government was increasingly hostile in 2012 to civil society groups. Following the July 2012 publication of a Human Rights Watch report on the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles mutiny, Bangladeshi officials threatened action against domestic rights groups who had helped conduct the research. Of particular concern is a draft law aimed at regulating foreign donations to Bangladeshi NGOs. Many NGOs, such as BCWS or Odhikar, had already been facing years of delays in getting critical foreign funds released for their projects. The bill appeared aimed at severing funds for organizations engaged in publicly criticizing the government. In August 2012, the government announced plans to establish a new commission charged solely with regulating NGO activities, in addition to the NGO Affairs Bureau that already exists in the prime minister’s office.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The government’s response to the influx of Rohingya refugees fleeing sectarian violence in Arakan state, Burma, exposed its failure to respect the United Nations Refugee Convention. Bangladesh pushed Rohingyas back at the border, regardless of the risk they faced when they return to Burma, and blocked critical humanitarian assistance. The government suspended any third-country resettlement of the Rohingya refugees, arguing it would encourage other Rohingya in Burma to seek refuge in Bangladesh. Government officials labeled Rohingya “intruders” and “criminals,” and blamed them for destroying Buddhist temples in mass riots in October, without offering evidence to prove they were responsible.
Women’s and Girls’ Rights
While Bangladesh has a strong set of laws and judicial guidelines to tackle violence against women, implementation remains poor. Violence against women including rape, dowry-related assaults, and other forms of domestic violence, acid attacks, and illegal punishments in the name of fatwas or religious decrees and sexual harassment continue. Bangladesh reported the highest prevalence of child marriages in the world. Archaic and discriminatory family laws for Muslims, Hindus, and Christians, continued to impoverish many women when they separate from, or divorce spouses, and trap them in abusive marriages for fear of destitution. The Law Commission of Bangladesh researched and recommended reforms to these laws in 2012.
The international community continued to press the government to respect civil and political rights in the face of increased restrictions on political opposition groups and civil society. The donor community was particularly vocal in calling for swift and meaningful investigations into the murder of Aminul Islam and the disappearance of Elias Ali, as well as calling on the government to give Rohingya refugees sanctuary. The government often responded by suggesting that critics were part of a conspiracy against it. Under persistent pressure from Bangladesh, Indian authorities committed to end all unlawful killings at their shared border. n June, the World Bank announced that it was withdrawing its US$1.2 billioncredit assistance for building the Padma Multipurpose Bridge across the Padma River due to evidence of serious corruption by senior government officials. In September, the government agreed to put in place conditions that the World Bank had demanded when the deal was suspended, including placing all public officials suspected of involvement in the corruption scheme on leave from government employment, appointing a special inquiry and prosecution team, and granting an external international expert body access to investigate the corruption charges and advise the bank. When the government announced in September 2012 that the Padma Bridge deal was back on track, the World Bank issued a public rejoinder stating that the project would resume only once all its conditions had been fully and unconditionally fulfilled.
Current Human Rights Situation In USA:
Here we have discussed the recent human rights implementations, obligations and situation in Bangladesh:
Death Penalty and Excessive Punishments
In 2012, Connecticut joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia in abolishing the death penalty. Thirty-three states continue to allow its imposition. In November, California voters narrowly rejected Proposition 34, which would have abolished the death penalty in that state. At this writing, 42 people had been executed in the US in 2012. There has been a downward trend in executions since 2000. Almost 20 years ago, California was among the first states to pass a punitive “three-strikes” law, mandating lengthy sentences for repeat offenders. In November, California voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure eliminating mandatory life sentences for certain nonviolent third offenses and allowing prisoners serving life for such nonviolent third strikes to seek resentencing. Massachusetts moved in the opposite direction, becoming the 27th state to enact a three-strikes law. Long sentences have contributed to a growing number of incarcerated elderly people.
As of 2010, the US maintained the world’s largest incarcerated population, at 1.6 million, and the world’s highest per capita incarceration rate, at 500 inmates per 100,000 residents. In May 2012, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued final standards under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape. The standards are immediately binding on all DOJ facilities. A presidential memorandum clarified that other federal agencies operating detention facilities, including the Department of Homeland Security are also bound by PREA and must propose rules or procedures to comply with PREA.
Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System
Racial and ethnic minorities have long been disproportionately represented in the US criminal justice system. While accounting for only 13 percent of the US population, African Americans represent 28.4 percent of all arrests. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics approximately 3.1 percent of African American men, 1.3 percent of Latino men, and 0.5 percent of white men are in prison. Because they are disproportionately likely to have criminal records, members of racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than whites to experience stigma and legal discrimination in employment, housing, education, public benefits, jury service, and the right to vote. Whites, African Americans, and Latinos have comparable rates of drug use but are arrested and prosecuted for drug offenses at vastly different rates. African Americans are arrested for drug offenses, including possession, at three times the rate of white men.
There are approximately 25 million non-citizens in the US. The government estimates that 10.8 million of them are in the country without authorization. In 2011, prosecutions for illegal entry and reentry into the US surpassed 34,000 and 37,000 respectively. The federal government has portrayed these programs as focused on dangerous criminals. These programs may exacerbate distrust of police in immigrant communities, and thus may deter crime victims from seeking protection and redress. Some local and state governments have sought to limit the reach of these programs. In September, ICE said it would reconsider its policies on transfers of detainees between facilities. Human Rights Watch documented in 2011 how high numbers of detainees were subjected to chaotic and frequent transfers between facilities, hampering detainees’ access to due process and family support. Alabama’s immigrant law, like Arizona’s, denied basic rights to unauthorized immigrants and their families, including US citizen children.. Hundreds of thousands of immigrant woman and girl farm workers face a high risk of sexual violence and harassment in their workplaces. Immigrant women often fail to report these crimes because of the lack of adequate workplace protections, and their fear of deportation or reprisals from employers.
Hundreds of thousands of children work on American farms. The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act exempts child farm workers from the minimum age and maximum hour requirements that apply to all other working children, exposing them to work at far younger ages, for longer hours, and under more hazardous conditions. As a result, child farm workers, most of them Latino, often work 10 or more hours a day and risk pesticide poisoning, heat illness, injuries, life-long disabilities, and death. Of children under age 16 who suffered fatal occupational injuries in 2010, 75 percent worked in crop production.
In June, the US Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, which significantly expands many citizens’ access to health insurance and medical care. HIV infections in the US continue to disproportionately affect minority communities, men who have sex with men, and transgender women. Many states continue to undermine human rights and public health with restrictions on sex education, inadequate legal protections for HIV-positive persons, resistance to harm reduction programs such as syringe exchanges, and failure to fund HIV prevention and care.
Persons with Disabilities
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the Senate for ratification in July. The ratification package has a number of reservations, including one that says US law is already compliant with the convention. At this writing, ratification appeared stalled until at least 2013.
Women’s and Girls’ Rights
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the primary federal law providing legal protection and services to victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking, faced an uncertain future. At this writing, the congressional renewal process had stalled due to disagreements over protections for immigrant victims; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) victims; and victims on tribal lands. Department of Defense statistics indicate that out of an estimated 19,000 sexual assaults in the military each year, only 3,192 were reported in fiscal year 2011; just 240 of those resulted in military prosecution. Recently announced initiatives to address the problem include removing investigative responsibility from frontline commanders; however, cases would remain within the chain of command. State anti-abortion laws passed in 2012 included limits on insurance coverage for abortion, medical abortion restrictions, and bans on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy
Comparison and Contrast Between Domestic Implementation of Human Rights:
Bangladesh’s overall human rights situation worsened in 2012, as the government narrowed political and civil society space, continued to shield abusive security forces from accountability, and flatly ignored calls by Human Rights Watch to reform laws and procedures in flawed war crimes and mutiny trials. Civil society and human rights defenders reported increased governmental pressure and monitoring. The security forces’ practice of disguising extrajudicial killings as “crossfire” killings or legitimate confrontations between alleged criminals and security forces continued, as did disappearances of opposition members and political activists. A prominent labor activist was kidnapped and killed, and other labor activists threatened. After June 2012 sectarian violence in Arakan state in neighboring Burma, the government responded to an influx of Rohingya refugees by pushing back boatloads of refugees and insisting that it had no obligation to provide them sanctuary. The government curtailed the activities of nongovernmental organizations operating in pre-existing Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar in Chittagong. Flawed trials against those accused of war crimes in the 1971 war for independence continued, as did mass and unfair trials of the Bangladesh Rifles (now Bangladesh Border Guards) accused of mountaineering in 2009. The government continued to demand that Indian border guards stop killing Bangladeshi nationals who cross into India for smuggling or other crimes. On the other hand The United States has a vibrant civil society and media that enjoys strong constitutional protections. The victims of abuse are typically the weakest and most vulnerable in US society: immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, children, the elderly, the poor, and prisoners. The US incarcerates more people than any other country. Practices contrary to human rights principles, such as the death penalty, juvenile life-without-parole sentences, and solitary confinement are common and often marked by racial disparities. Increasing numbers of non-citizens are held in immigration detention facilities although many are not dangerous or at risk of absconding. Federal prosecutions for illegal entry and reentry have escalated. The federal government under President Barack Obama has continued some abusive counterterrorism policies, including detentions without charge at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and proceedings before fundamentally flawed military commissions.
After discussing all of these we can observe that there are a lot of comparison and contrast between the implementation mechanism of human rights between Bangladesh and USA. Despite being a third world country the human rights implementation is not so worst as it should be. In Bangladesh there hasn’t any emergency service like “911” which is available in USA. if they had this kind of emergency service then human rights shouldn’t be violated as much as today. Labor rights are becoming more strong day by day in Bangladesh. Women are getting their rights everywhere in Bangladesh. In the parliament of Bangladesh they have secured women parliament membership, women are getting priority than men in job sector, in the school of villages attendance of female children are increasing and also in politics the importance of women can’t be neglected as the chairperson of two main political parties in are women in Bangladesh. So at this point we can see that the rights of women in Bangladesh are far better than USA. Bangladesh also have strict law against “eve-teasing” which is not so strict in USA. If we look at the crime rate of Bangladesh and USA we can observe that the crime rate in Bangladesh in relatively slow than USA just because of the cultural and religious values. Despite USA being the first world country and having highly secured security system. If we look at drug dealing and smuggling records for the past few years, Bangladesh is in a very well situation than USA. The police service in Bangladesh is full of corruption than in USA. Discussing all these its very hard to compare and contrast because the law in Bangladesh is common but in USA, they have different and moderated law for each and every province.