This report has been prepared based on the overall human rights situation in October 2018 where violations of civil and political rights, including state repression and deprivation of the right to life were analysed. The country‟s human rights situation has been serious cause for concern since 2009, after the Awami League led Alliance government came to power; and which has further deteriorated after the same government re-assumed power for a second term, through a controversial 2014 Parliamentary election. The government has created a fearful atmosphere in the country by indiscriminately abusing the human rights of the citizens. Even as the Election Commission is preparing to declare the election schedule of the 11th Parliamentary Elections to be held in December 2018, a level-playing field for all political parties is yet to be created. The current (Awami League) government is dominating the election area by suppressing opposition and dissenting voices, through violating freedom of opinion, expression, assembly and association. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia has been imprisoned and numerous cases have been filed against the leaders and activists of BNP and arrests made. Cases were also filed against deceased and seriously ill persons or BNP affiliated persons who live abroad. In such a situation, a new political Alliance called Jatiya Oikya Front led by Dr. Kamal Hossain has emerged, demanding a free, fair and inclusive election.
Meanwhile, several cases were filed against apolitical members of this Alliance, Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury and Barrister Moinul Hossain with the patronisation of the government and Moinul Hossain was arrested and is detained in jail. Apart from the Jatiya Oikya Front, a few more political parties, including Left Democratic Front and Jatiya Mukti Council have also been vocal for a free, fair and impartial election. Bangladesh is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to Article 25 (b) of ICCPR, “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without unreasonable restrictions, to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors”. However, the ruling party has violated Article 25 (b) of the ICCPR as a State party, by making the electoral system dysfunctional and depriving the Election Commission from independent functioning, in order to win in the polls at any cost.
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