Subject: Ninety-one–year-old Ghulam Azam, chairman of the Jamaat-e Islami Party, who has been under arrest for more than 2 years in Bangladesh, is to be executed by the Bangladeshi government on 26 March, 2013. Articles 3 and 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are explicitly being violated. We request the U.N., the most important voice of the international public, to react in a serious and concrete manner and prevent this execution.
The Behavior of the Bangladeshi Government Is Cruel and Inhumane
The number of capricious measures based on force and compulsion enacted by the Bangladeshi government is growing by the day. People are being detained solely for holding a different political opinion and being kept in prison for long periods. More than 2,500 opponents of the government seeking to protest against the death sentence awarded to Ghulam Azam the other day have been detained for no reason. Yet not one international organization has raised its voice to say that the Bangladeshi government is in the wrong.
The great majority of the world public is not raising its voice against what is happening in Bangladesh. Thousands of people suffering persecution in Bangladesh are being left to their own devices. All these people faced by armed security forces can do is stage protest marches. People are badly beaten during these protests and many taken away to detention for no reason. Those under detention are tortured.
Ghulam Azam, 91-year-old leader of the Jamaat-e Islami, has been detained for approximately 2.5 years. It is cruel and inhumane for someone of that age to be condemned to live under exceedingly difficult prison conditions. Yet the Bangladeshi government has gone even further than that and condemned Azam to death. He is due to be executed on March 26, the anniversary of Bangladeshi independence. This is unacceptable.
This case is a blatant violation of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,” that declaration being drawn up by your office in 1948 and ratified by member countries. It is also a blatant violation of Article 9, that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” The People’s Republic of Bangladesh became a member of the U.N. on September 17, 1974 and thus signed up to all past and future rulings. The U.N. must therefore demand that the government of Bangladesh abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the course of events must be closely monitored.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch condemned the Bangladeshi security forces for disproportionate use of force and the torture of detainees in 2005. Transparency International has placed Bangladesh at the top of the list of countries with the most violations. Yet things have not improved in Bangladesh since then. The country is literally a closed box and there is no structure in the country that can monitor whether human rights are being observed or not. For example, Amnesty International, which identifies human rights violations across the world, has no representation in Bangladesh. In short, what happens in the country takes place out of public view. You will appreciate, however, that this does imply permission for a crime against humanity to be committed in the country.
The Council Must Act at Once
We would ask the council to resort to all means to ensure that this arbitrary death sentence, out of sight and unregulated, is not enforced and that this crime against humanity is not committed. We sincerely believe that you will demonstrate the requisite sensitivity and take immediate action.