“Human rights are being violated all over the world. In 2016, we have globally experienced the most human rights violations, on account of the incidents in Syria, Iraq, and Palestine as well as Bangladesh, among others,” said Kazi Reazul Haque, as the chief guest at the programme.
The programme, titled Commemoration of Human Rights Day, was jointly organized by the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) and DIU In order to mark International Human Rights Day.
Trustee Board Chairman of DIU and the Daffodil Group Md Sabur Khan, UNIC Officer in-Charge M Moniruzzaman and Human Rights Officer of the UNRC Office Md Zaid Hossain also spoke at the event, with DIU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Yousuf M Islam as chair.
The NHRC chairman defined human rights as that which allows someone to lead one’s life with dignity as he said: “A person is born along with some basic rights which cannot be snatched by someone else, and these rights are called human rights.”
He added that he did not believe that the state was responsible for human rights violations, but rather it was a section of self-interested individuals with power who were responsible for the abuse.
Commenting on the breach of human rights by influential individuals, Rezaul said: “When lawmakers, authorities, policemen and influential people violate human rights we cannot let them go, because that is not the objective of our constitution. The country’s constitution repeatedly emphasises the importance of human rights in different articles, but we are losing sight of this important aspect.”
He also cited the violence against Nasirnagar’s Hindu population and the Santal eviction as examples of incidents where minority human rights were senselessly violated.
“Without any fault of their own, these people were tortured and their homes and temples were vandalised,” he said.
UNIC Officer in-Charge M Moniruzzaman said: “In order to secure the human rights of refugees and migrants, we have launched a campaign entitled “TOGETHER”, a UN System-wide initiative led by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which will be implemented in partnership with members states, the private sectors and civil society.”
UNRC Office Human Rights Officer Md Zaid Hossain criticised the growing influence of corporations in state affairs, as private institutions may be willing to subvert human rights to advance their corporate agendas.
Zaid said: “The corporate world, a non-state actor, is dominating the state nowadays. After the establishment of theUN, it was supposed to be that states will protect, respect and ensure human rights. Instead, it is seen that states themselves conduct business and, sometimes, they are bound to corporate offices.”
The programme also included a seminar, poetry recitation and a drama production by the students of DIU. Notable Bangladeshi poets Mohammad Samad, Ruby Rahman and Shihab Sarker were present and recited poetry.