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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

The right to human security

Update : 02 May 2014, 06:53 PM

An eerie sense of panic and insecurity is prevailing in the public mind, but we’re not sure whether our leaders can see this. Media reports say nearly 4,000 people were abducted across the country between 2010 and 2013. The number includes politicians, businessmen, and local leaders.

Our Human Rights Commission chief Mizanur Rahman has pointed fingers at law enforcers, as he told a TV channel: “It’s truly astonishing that the abduction rate has gone up alarmingly since the creation of RAB in 2002, and in most cases, the victims’ families say that RAB personnel wearing their trademark black picked up their sons or husbands.”

Many have indicated that security personnel were involved in this, but so far, nothing has been said on behalf of the law-enforcing high command. This unusual silence has also raised suspicion about them among the people. This has expedited the people’s sense of insecurity.

But on the top of everything, this sense has deepened, as we have seen our two leaders engaged in a blame game over recent gruesome abductions and consequent killings. Our prime minister has blamed the BNP, and the BNP chief has blamed the government for these crimes.

Whoever is doing these, surely our track record in ensuring our human or physical security has never seemed straight. It was evident during our political turmoil – the recent spate of general strikes has taken about 40 lives. The strikes become death traps for the common people, as children also become scapegoats in the altar of our power-mongering.

Our physical safety suffers blows from various sources. The enforcement of general strikes is one such source which our political parties think is their “democratic right.” But in the process, the people, whom the parties try to uphold, die gruesomely.

We now know that the causes the strikers are fighting for are not ours. The political parties have already proven that all “their” demands are not going to benefit us. These are “their” demands, and not ours.

We also get killed in traffic accidents. An estimate says about 15,000 Bangladeshis die across the country on the roads. There have been hundreds of media reports and discussions regarding deaths from road accidents, several plans in order to prevent these deaths were also hatched. However, somehow these deaths still continue amid gross inaction on the strategies formulated regarding them. The vehicle drivers still break laws, and the law enforcers still watch them break laws.

It is very unfortunate that most of these are preventable, and that’s why the government needs to take the issue of our physical security seriously. But there’s hardly any campaign in place regarding this issue.

Our fire incidents are also another cause for many deaths in our beloved land. These incidents, especially in the factories, take an unimaginable toll on human lives. Previously, the incidents of fire were not considered as a security threat across the world, but nowadays, they are one of the prime threats. Look at a simple example: The WHO estimates that 195,000 people across the world die each year from fires, while according to the Global Terrorism Database, an average of 7,258 people die annually from terrorism, and that includes deaths in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq. In many places of the world, fire is being used as a weapon.

An estimate says factory fires have killed about 500 workers (we hope the number is enough to worry our leaders) since 2006. Every time a fire incident took place, the authorities asked the factory owners to introduce proper compliance in the factories, and the family members of the deceased were given some financial compensation. And then, all was again forgotten in no time.

Now, if we start talking about arsenic contamination and applying poisonous chemicals in food items, the state of human security and safety would look much direr. But one thing should be clear to everyone: The government is the government because the people chose it to be at helm of the management of the state and its citizens. Ensuring this safety is the responsibility of the government.

However, we have an unusual way of surviving these dreadful odds in our lives, but our leaders don’t see that day in and day out, we continue to be haunted by thought of the lack of human security.

Don’t we have a right to know what the government is doing about these security threats? Perhaps a press briefing would satisfy us much better than the ongoing blame-mongering! 

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