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IACHR: Inter-American Commission of Human Rights
NGO: Non-Government Organization
NHRC: National Human Rights Commission
OAS: Organization of American States
RAB: Rapid Action Battalion
UN: United Nations
USA: United States of America
Human rights are considered as one of the most discussed matter in the world. But do we really understand what the term “Human Rights”actually means? Everyone is continuously using this term but the funny thing is many of them don’t have any clear idea about it. Human rights are the rights that you must have because you are a human. Human rights are the rights to which everyone is entitled—no matter whom they are or where they live—simply because they are alive.These rights are considered as the most important and fundamental rights someone can have. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights consist thirty article which discusses different types of human rights which basically covers all the basic rights a human should have to live a life with prestige and security. Right to life, right of freedom of thought, right to be free from torture and right to be free from slavery are some example of the basic human rights. Everybody in the world is born with human rights but how many of them are actually benefited of human right? It varies from country to country. In the essay, we will discuss the domestic implementation of human rights and the mechanism of both Bangladesh and USA. Then we will compare the two countries to find out the similarities and differences and also discover who is in a better position.
A Brief History of Human Rights
The concept of human rights was there for more than 1000 years. It was labelled differently over the time period and over different countries. But because there was no guideline what these rights should actually be there was discrimination. But in 1948 the human rights was documented and was named as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations approved it on December 10, 1948. “The United Nations member’s promised to work together to authorize the thirty Articles of human rights that, had been collected and codified into a single document for the first time in history. In consequence, many of these rights, in various forms, are today part of the constitutional laws of democratic nations.” Almost every country tries to implement these 30 rights according to their country context.
1. Human Rights Defined. Retrieved from: http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights.html .
Accessed on 18th June,2013.
2. A Brief History of Human Rights. Retrived from: http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/brief-history/cyrus-cylinder.html . Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
Mechanism of Human Rights in Bangladesh
Human rights are the fundamental rights of each and every human of the world. Each country tries to protect the human rights within the country. Bangladesh also tries to protect human rights and tries to maintain certain equality among the humans of the country. In the part of the essay we will discuss how Bangladesh as a country tries to maintain the equality and what mechanism the country follows to protect human rights.
The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is the first mechanism that puts focus on the importance of human rights. According to the constitution, “The Republic shall be a democracy in which fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for the dignity and worth of the human person shall be guaranteed”. So the constitution which is considered as a guideline of a country is focusing on the fact that human rights should be guaranteed to all. The third chapter of the Bangladeshi constitution is all about the fundament rights of the citizen of Bangladesh. Article 26 to 47a discusses the fundamental rights which are another name for human rights. So the constitution describes what should be the human rights in Bangladesh.
A lot of laws have been passed by the parliament over the years according to the constitution to make sure the guidelines of the constitution regarding human rights and fundamental rights are well protected. All these laws were focusing on the key issues relating to the protection of human rights. But to analyse these laws, policies and practises another organisation was required. The job of this organization would be to look through all the laws and policies and to ensure that no one is facing any sort of discrimination.
On 14 July, 2009 The National Human Rights Commission Act 2009 was passed by the parliament and a retrospective operation of the Act was given from 1 September 2008. And with this law being passed NHRC was in action. According to NHRC website, “The mandate of the NHRC necessarily emanates from the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Human Rights Commission Act and the international human rights instruments to which Bangladesh is a party. As per the Constitution the vital objective of the state is to establish an egalitarian society where equality and social justice would be guaranteed for all citizens.”
3. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH. Retrieved from :http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/print_sections_all.php?id=367/. Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
- Mandate of the NHRC. Retrieved from :http://www.nhrc.org.bd/About_NHRC.html . Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
The NHRC was founded on the basis of Human Rights Commission Act which was established on the basis of the Constitution of Bangladesh. The main purpose of NHRC is to analysis the current human rights condition of Bangladesh. Bring changes to the existing laws and policies if necessary and also making sure that no type of violation is taking place under the watch of NHRC. The other function of NHRC is that they need to ensure the constant development of human right policies by conducting research. The NHRC can also suggest the government to bring changes in certain laws to ensure the human rights. The government of Bangladesh signs treaties with international organizations like UN. To implement these treaties and fulfil the promises made by the government NHRC comes into action. NHRC has partnered up with many international human rights organization to monitor the implementation and improvement of international human rights in Bangladesh.
One might argue that there is too much pressure on NHRC and it is not possible for one organization to protect and implement human rights in a country. To support NHRC there are a lot of active NGOs in Bangladesh who works constantly to protect and establish the human rights and also works non-stop to help the victims. To be very precise there is around 55 NGOs who’s core objective is to establish human rights in Bangladesh.To regulate the human rights condition, international human rights related NGOs also look over Bangladesh and publish reports every once in a while. They also suggest the government to rectify any law if needed and put pressure to make sure of the implementation. All these organizations both local and international do follow up to make sure that international human rights are implemented appropriately in Bangladesh. And that is how the human rights implementation mechanism works in Bangladesh.
Domestic Implementation of Human Rights in Bangladesh
Although there are a lot of laws and enactments for the purpose of protecting human rights, the real scenario is not so good. The parliament is there to pass laws when necessary but the enforcement of these laws is not yet ensured. One might think that having all these laws are somehow ensuring the rights of the citizen but the real scenario is quite different. The implementation of human rights in Bangladesh is really poor. Some might argue that there is no law what so ever to protect the citizens. The reason behind this assumption is the weak law enforcement system in our country.
There are numerous laws to protect women. But in real life, women in Bangladesh are not safe. They are facing physical and mental violence every single day. There were frequent incidents of violence against women, such as domestic violence, acid attacks, rape and as well as extrajudicial penalties in the name of “fatwa”. There are acts like “The Domestic Violation Act” to prevent such violence against the women but these women are still being tortured on a regular basis. This indicates the weak implementation of laws.
Another widespread example of the violation of human rights is the extra judicial killing. Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is one of the main culprits in this issue. According to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, around 70 people were killed extra judicially and 40 of them were killed by RAB. The deaths occurred during raids, arrests, and other law-enforcement operations. “The government often described these deaths as ‘crossfire killings,’ ‘gunfights,’ or ‘encounter killings,’ terms used to characterize exchanges of gunfire between RAB or police units and criminal gangs.”  These things clearly violate the right to life.
Then again there is violation of the freedom of speech. Journalist are constantly being threatened and harassed. The reason behind it is the fact that they are publishing things that goes against the interest of vested quarter. Child labor is also another alarming fact in Bangladesh and sadly there is no specific law introduced that prevents children from being used as a labours. As a result, countless children are being forced to do work instead of going to school. It is violating the basic right of the children.
5. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper/. Accessed on 18th June,2013
Minorities are not treated as equal especially in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. There are different tribes living in those areas but they are constantly being deprived of their basic needs. The continued presence of Bangladeshi military forces within the Chittagong Hill Tracts, despite the lack of emergency or deterioration of law as required by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, is also troubling and compounds on the illegal land seizing problem. All these things are again developing the violation of human rights for the minorities living there.
The last problem that I will like to mention is the lack of safety of the workers and labours of the country. Almost each month we can see a major accident happening in the garments mills and a lot of workers are either badly hurt or killed. According to the human right law, workers should be provided with safety. But in our country it is like day dreaming. A burning example is the recent accident that took place in Savar where a building collapsed and more than 1000 people died in that accident in which mostly were garments worker. Due to the lack of safety provided, these workers died. On top of that they are not paid rationally.
This list of violation will go on if I start giving through details. The main concern here is that although enough laws have been passed by the parliament but the implementations of these laws are very futile. Due to the unwillingness of the government and the political condition of Bangladesh, implementation becomes very tough and time consuming. The government of Bangladesh should consider these things with importance. Although there is NHRC whose job is to ensure the implementation of human rights in Bangladesh. But at the moment they are failing to do their job accordingly because of the lack of human power. So the domestic implementation of human right in Bangladesh is currently in a very weak position.
Probable Solutions for Bangladesh
Strict enforcement of the law is required to establish human rights. NHRC should be given more power so that they take necessary actions. The punishment of violating human rights should be much sterner. So that people behind violating such laws become concerned. And the government must take steps to come clean from their side as well. They should take steps to decrease the all sorts of violation of the human rights in all possible ways. And make sure international treaties are dealt with care. After all unable to implement these rights will create a bad image of Bangladesh to rest of the world. So these steps should be taken immediately.
Mechanism of Human Rights in USA
The domestic implementation of human rights in USA is primarily watched over by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Inter-American Court of Human Rights which works under the Organization of American States.  The main objectives of IACHR are to protect and promote human rights within the states of America. It ensures the domestic implementation of human rights within the states of America. It meets several times a year to discuss and examine the allegations relating to the violation of human rights within the states. Its human right duties stem from three documents which are the American Convention on Human Rights, the OAS Charter and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. To make sure the human right within USA is implemented the IACHR has to go through some functions. The basic functions of IACHR are to analyse and investigates individual petitions that claim of violations of human rights. The US government signs international treaty to ensure human right is established in US then IACHR takes care of the implementation.
IACHR follows the American Convention on Human Right very carefully in terms of implementing the international human rights within the states. There are a total of 82 articles in the convention which gives the IACHR precise information about what are the human rights and how they should be implemented. On top of that all the laws related to human rights are made keeping the American Convention in mind.The organization also makes visits to the member states and observes the general situation and makes report based on that.
To ensure implementation NGOs are capable of doing follow-up and suggest recommendations to put extra pressure on Governments to put more effort towards implementation. NGOs can highlight the important and urgent matters that need to be taken care of. NGOs can also work with alliances to arrange report for the treaty bodies. And to make sure the treaties are being properly executed international organization do follow ups to check the legitimacy. This is how the international human rights get implemented within USA.
6. What is the IACHR. Retrieved from: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/what.asp. Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
Domestic Implementation of Human Rights in USA
The domestic implementation of human rights in USA is far better than most of the other countries of the world. There are a lot of issues that has been taken care of, over the years by introducing different types of acts. The racial discrimination has been decreased significantly along the years. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and African-American Civil Rights Movement ensures that there is no racial discrimination. Barack Obama is the first African American president in USA which indicates the decline in racial discrimination.
Women are treated far better in US. The gender discrimination is also really low in the country. USA is the first country to define “sexual harassment” in workplace.  Women are treated equally and with respect. Any sort of physical violence against women is treated harshly in USA. Unlike other countries, women in US are treated equally in all sorts of profession. This indicates the positive how human rights regarding women.
Labor rights present in USA which protects the right to work. And not just that there are laws and unions in USA which ensures the favourable work conditions and to protection against unemployment. And also ensures equal pay for equal work. The National Labor Relation Act protected the rights of the workers as well as gave them the power to form unions. And having unions ensures that all the rights regarding wage, safety and employments are restored. This gives another good idea of how well the human right related right to work is established in US.
The media and press in United States enjoy the freedom of speech very much. The condition of releasing news is quite satisfactory. Unlike other major countries, the press and media are not controlled by the government. Often one will see that anti-government news is published in major sources. This indicates the freedom of speech in USA. It is another established human right in USA.
Till now we have discussed only the positive implementations of human right in USA. But now it is time to consider the other half of the coin.
7. Zippel, Kathrina, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND TRANSNATIONAL RELATIONS:WHY THOSE CONCERNED WITH GERMAN-AMERICAN RELATIONS SHOULD CARE, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, 2002, page 6
Although USA is able to protect quite a few human rights but at the same time they are seriously struggling with some of the issues which is violating the human rights what so ever. Some of the key issues are:
The first thing that is really causing concern is the violation of privacy by the government of USA. The US National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance efforts raise serious questions about the US authorities’ respect for the right to privacy. NSA is suspected to be monitoring activities in both inside and outside of USA. In order to decrease terrorism US government is violating the privacy of the citizen of USA by keeping tabs on their personal life and conversation. Privacy is a natural right and currently that is being tarnished the government of US.
Guantánamo Bay is another controversial issue which is closely related to the human rights. It is an interrogation of the United States which is located in Cuba. The controversy with this place is that this place is used as a torture cell where all sorts of degrading tortures were done to the prisoner. It was established by the Bush administration after 9/11. People were held captive as a suspect to terrorism. All sorts of degrading and humiliating tortures were done to the captives there. The sad thing is it’s still active. According to Human Rights Watch, “President Barack Obama’s failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center was all classified as human-rights failures.” 
Death penalty is one of the controversial issues currently in USA. In the official website of Amnesty International USA it is considered as the ultimate, unalterable refutation of human rights. It is also being compared to the intentional and cruel killing of a human being by the state. It violates the right to life according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the right to be free from demeaning penalty. More than sixty percent of the countries have abolished the death penalty and the citizen now days are getting restless because of the violation associated with death penalty.  Although the government is considering to stop death penalty.
8. The Ultimate Denial of Human Rights. Retrieved from: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty . Accessed on: 18th June, 2013.
9. Counterterrorism and Torture. Retrieved from: http://www.ibtimes.com/us-guilty-several-human-rights-violations-2012-human-rights-watch-1056702 . Accessed on: 18th June, 2013.
This is the current condition of human rights within USA. There are a lot issues that needs to be taken care of. Although there are laws ready but such violations are not being taken care of by the government. The government should enforce laws strictly to ensure human rights for all.
Probable Solutions for USA
From the discussion above we can assume that the human rights condition is quite well except for some cases. The government should make sure they keep up the good work and also try to take care of the controversial issues solved as soon as possible. The surveillance over everyone is hampering the privacy in a disturbing manner. Government should minimize these things as soon as possible. And Guantánamo Bay should be closed. It is hampering more than one human right. These are the concerning factors and the NGOs are constantly trying to put pressure on the government to take care of the issues. These are the things that should be done.
Comparing the mechanism and the domestic implementation of human rights we can see a lot of similarities as well as a lot of dissimilarities. Out of the two countries USA’s implementation mechanism seems to be much faster and effective than the one in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s implementation mechanism of international human rights is quite slow because of the political and bureaucratic system. It takes a lot of time to introduce the rights in Bangladesh whereas in USA it is quite fast. Women are well protected and equally treated and in USA. On the other hand women are regularly tortured both physically and mentally in Bangladesh. They are not treated equally and they face a lot of difficulties in the workforce. Then there is no effective law that saves the human rights of the labors. On the other hand in USA labors enjoys favourable work conditions, protection against unemploymentand equal payment for equal jobs. USA again is in a better position in this case. USA is considering abolishing death penalty because it is considered as the ultimate violation of human right. But no one in Bangladesh even care about death penalty. And unlike Bangladesh the US media is free to report anything they want as long as it is valid. In this cases USA is far better than Bangladesh in establishing human rights. On the other hand, there are some common issues like torture. Both in USA and Bangladesh the suspects face different type of degrading tortures. These things need to stop. Comparing the two countries we can see that in Bangladesh the very basic human rights are being violated where as in USA the very basic right are still protected but some other higher issues are raising concern. The government of both the countries should understand the fact that if the human rights are not properly served to the citizen of the country then rule of law cannot be applied. This ultimately causes various sorts of complications. To overcome these problems the governments should be more sincere towards establishment of human rights and they must also work with the NGOs to bring human rights accordingly.
Human rights are the basic rights that humans should have just because they are human. These rights are the fundamental rights and not having them indicates injustice. Although there are different laws and acts to secure the human rights but these rights are being violated on a daily basis. To ensure the proper use of the existing laws and to ensure an equal society for everyone, the governments should work harder to protect, promote and implement the human laws more effectively and improve the current situation.
- A Brief History of Human Rights. Retrived from: http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/brief-history/cyrus-cylinder.html . Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
- Counterterrorism And Torture. Retrieved from: http://www.ibtimes.com/us-guilty-several-human-rights-violations-2012-human-rights-watch-1056702 . Accessed on: 18th June, 2013.
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. Retrieved from: <href=”#wrapper/”>http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper/. Accessed on 18th June,2013
- Human Rights Defined. Retrieved from: http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights.html . Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
- Mandate of the NHRC. Retrieved from :http://www.nhrc.org.bd/About_NHRC.html . Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
6. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH. Retrieved from :http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/print_sections_all.php?id=367/. Accessed on 18th June,2013.
- The Ultimate Denial of Human Rights. Retrieved from: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty . Accessed on: 18th June, 2013.
- What is the IACHR. Retrieved from: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/what.asp. Accessed on 18th June, 2013.
- Zippel, Kathrina, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND TRANSNATIONAL RELATIONS:WHY THOSE CONCERNED WITH GERMAN-AMERICAN RELATIONS SHOULD CARE, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, 2002, page 6.