Dear all,You are cordially invited to attend the general meeting of CPRMB on 29th November 2015 at 4.30pm @ Shiva Temple, 2 Salisbury Road, Manor park, London E12 6AB.CPRMB has been created in 2013 with some noble Aims and Objectives (attached in 2nd page) and managed to do some work which definitely created some pressure on Bangladeshi and UK lawmakers to take the minority issues seriously.The job has just begun and still a long way to go. To accomplish the task, we would need your assistance. Let’s participate the meeting and exchange our views on it so we can formulate our best guidelines and work for the suppressed communities in Bangladesh.Agendas:1. Preparing the Short guide line of regular work;2. Updating the constitution3. Working Committee election4. Deciding on the appropriate legal structure / registration5. Funding issues6. Membership update7. AOBYour presence will definitely encourage us and we are sure we can do something better together.With Best regards.Mihir SarkarPushpita GupaAjit K Saha
The best one for the coverage of the seminar on 17th July 13.
Please read. It is very detail and accurate refection of what was discussed in the seminar.
This is the further analysis of the London Seminar from Prothom Alo
Please read it. http://www.prothom-alo.com/detail/date/2013-07-22/news/369710
Article 1: House of Commons debate
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Bangladesh (Escalation of Violence)
Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow) (Lab): It is a pleasure to serve under your chairwomanship, Mrs Riordan. I am pleased to be able to speak in this debate, which will focus on the recent escalation of violence in Bangladesh and which I know hon. Members from all parties are concerned about. First, I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the violence that has taken place over recent weeks, particularly following the International Crimes Tribunal—a domestic court that tries people for alleged international crimes, including the genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed during the 1971 war of independence. The war, as many people will be aware, lasted nine months and cost the lives of some 3 million people.
I deplore the escalation of violence and the recent attacks on places of worship and private property in Bangladesh. Recent developments are of great concern not only to people in Bangladesh, but to the British Bangladeshi community and of course to those who have friends in Bangladesh.
Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con): I congratulate the hon. Lady on securing this debate. As she knows, I am chair of the all-party group on Bangladesh. I have been contacted by numerous Members of Parliament, as well as British Bangladeshis, asking for an emergency debate. Sadly, although the high commissioner is here today, we will not be able to facilitate such a debate with him present, so I am glad he is here to listen to the hon. Lady’s comments today.
Rushanara Ali: I thank the hon. Lady and commend her for her work as the chair of the all-party group. I agree that there should be more focus on what is happening. We must ensure that we in the British Parliament play our part in supporting countries such as Bangladesh, so that early action can be taken. We can apply the appropriate pressure as friends of Bangladesh to try to make sure such situations do not escalate and become more grave. I hope that after the Minister has heard today’s discussions he will make the appropriate representations. I have a series of questions that I will come on to.
Many British Bangladeshis have raised concerns about the escalation of violence. A third of my constituents are of British Bangladeshi origin and 500,000 people here in the UK have Bangladeshi heritage. Many have made representations to me, particularly regarding consular issues. For instance, constituents have contacted me about the safety and security of family members who visit Bangladesh. My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown), who is unable to join us today owing to a family funeral, asked me to raise the issue of her constituent. She has been working hard to support her constituent, Sheikh Noor-e-Alom Hamidi—a British national of Bangladeshi origin who unfortunately got caught up in the violence, while attending Friday prayers. He sustained injuries during his arrest and was subsequently taken into custody. There have been particular concerns as Mr Hamidi, the director of a charity, suffers from ill health. Will the Minister update us on the advice and support that his consular department is offering to my
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hon. Friend’s constituent? There is grave concern across the board for his safety. I want to thank the Minister in advance for any assistance that his officials are providing.
On business and investment, many in the UK Bangladeshi community have business interests. Britain is the top investor in Bangladesh; our economic connections are very strong. If the unrest and instability continues, it will damage business and investment in that country. Many business leaders in my constituency have already made representations to the UK Government and to their counterparts in Bangladesh to convey their concerns and to try to bring the major leaders of the parties towards dialogue, so that they take responsibility and action to bring an end to the unrest.
Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) (Con): I congratulate the hon. Lady on securing a debate on the escalation of violence in Bangladesh. Does she agree that more needs to be done to protect the minorities in Bangladesh—the Hindu and Buddhist communities—who have been affected most by the unrest?
Rushanara Ali: I am coming on to that. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. There have been reports of attacks on Hindu temples and other minority groups, including Buddhists, and on businesses and homes. That is completely unacceptable. I will come on to that in a moment and refer to discussions in the other place.
Following the International Crimes Tribunal’s recent rulings, there has been violence, as we are all aware. According to Odhikar—a Bangladeshi human rights watchdog—morethan100 people died between 5 February and 7 March; 67 people were killedafter the court delivered its third sentence on 28 February. As the hon. Gentleman has already mentioned, there have also been attacks on minority groups, and they have been highlighted by Lord Avebury in the other place. I hope that the Minister will be able to provide an update on any representations that the UK Government have made about these issues and what action the Bangladesh Government are taking to provide protection to those who feel vulnerable, particularly those in minority communities.
Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. There was a demonstration outside the Palace of Westminster last Wednesday on behalf of minority groups—Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and others—who put responsibility for the attacks on minority communities directly at the door of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. They claim that it organised the violence as a response to the war crimes tribunal judgments. Has my hon. Friend received similar complaints about Jamaat, and how does she see the role that it is playing in all this? I am sure that the Minister will respond to that in due course.
Rushanara Ali: My hon. Friend will be aware that any attempt to try to understand the deeply complex nature of the politics and political parties of Bangladesh is beyond me. I am concerned that all parties behave responsibly and within the law, whether they are here or in Bangladesh. My job as a constituency MP is to make sure that people behave responsibly and that, whatever their political leanings towards parties in another country, they act peacefully and within the law, whether there or here.
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I appeal to those who demonstrate in one of the major parks—Altab Ali park—in my constituency every weekend and every Friday to do so peacefully and to relay their concerns peacefully. In the end, they will be doing no favours to their fellow countrymen and women in Bangladesh if they act irresponsibly. I would say that to all the political parties and to all those who have political leanings, whether towards Jamaat, the Awami League or the Bangladesh Nationalist party. Sadly, too often people get into polarised positions and insist that we, as British parliamentarians, should take sides. I do not think that is the responsible thing to do. What is important is that those people themselves exercise responsibility.
The hon. Member for St Albans (Mrs Main), in her capacity as chair of the all-party group on Bangladesh, has also raised concerns about political violence in Bangladesh, particularly among the youth wings of parties. Political leaders—our appeal is to all the political leaders—should take responsibility and ensure that they set the tone, so that the young, impressionable people who are involved in the youth wings of political parties act in a non-violent, peaceful way to highlight their concerns and their unhappiness about whatever may be happening. In the end, that will be the true test of the maturity of where people in Bangladesh and the British Bangladeshi community have got to. We have a responsibility to ensure that we encourage dialogue across the board in all the parties.
Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): First, I congratulate the hon. Lady on bringing this matter to the House. My constituency has the largest number of Bangladeshis in Northern Ireland and therefore this issue is very close to my heart. The attacks on religious organisations and religious beliefs—those of Hindu and Christian people in Bangladesh—have resulted in some 89 people being killed in the past year. Does the hon. Lady feel that perhaps more needs to be done to address the issue of the Hindu and Christian people who have been attacked and murdered because of their beliefs?
Rushanara Ali: Bangladesh is a country that was founded on the idea of standing up for the rights of minorities. The majority Muslim population in Bangladesh is all too aware of what it is like to face persecution; they fought a war of independence for that reason. I am a British Bangladeshi, but I was born in Bangladesh, and it is absolutely right that people are constantly reminded of the values and principles on which Bangladesh was founded. In fact, the nation was founded by Muslims and Hindus, by those with faith and those without faith—by people across the board. That is Bangladesh’s great strength as a country. Where there is rising intolerance, that intolerance must be dealt with.
I would emphasise, however, that there are concerns about religious freedoms across the board. Within a liberal framework—I believe that Bangladesh has a strong liberal tradition—the rights of people to peacefully practise their religious beliefs, whatever religion they practise, should be observed, along with their other civil rights. So I totally agree with the hon. Gentleman, but we need to ensure that we encourage the Government of Bangladesh and other political leaders in the country to set the tone and to try to ensure that they stand up not only against any kind of oppression towards any minority
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group, but for religious freedoms within a peaceful context. The concern is that violence is increasing—some of it sadly through the prism of religion—and that is deeply unhelpful.
Mrs Main: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Rushanara Ali: I want to make a bit more progress.
There have been reports of police officers losing their lives. However, people have raised their concerns about reports of the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement agencies. Frequent nationwide strikes have caused considerable volatility and led to businesses suffering and to ordinary people being unable to go about their daily lives in safety, or at least without having concerns about their safety even if they are not directly affected by violence. Of course, the country risks reputational damage in the eyes of the international community, not to mention damage to its economy.
As we look forward to the elections that are set to take place in Bangladesh in 2014, there are of course grave concerns about political violence and unrest ahead of them. So I hope that the Minister will be able to provide an update on what assurances the British Government are seeking from the Bangladesh Government, on what representations they are making ahead of the 2014 elections and on any dialogue that he and his Department are having with the main opposition party in Bangladesh, to ensure that the country can move towards, first, security and safety and then free and fair elections next year.
I remind Members of the progress that Bangladesh has made in its 42 years of history. The country started off facing huge challenges, but the growth rate in Bangladesh is now at 6%, according to the World Bank. According to Goldman Sachs, Bangladesh is projected to be one of the next eleven countries that could reach middle-income status. Bangladesh has made considerable attempts to address poverty, to improve girls’ education and to achieve many of the millennium development goals, particularly those on girls’ education.
Those are important achievements, but Bangladesh still faces grinding poverty and it is the second most vulnerable country to climate change. So I hope that we can work together with our friends in Bangladesh to ensure that people focus on the big challenges facing the country. Only when the governance of the country is genuinely focused on the future needs of its population and on the challenges that it faces will Bangladesh be truly able to meet its aspirations of reaching middle-income status and achieving economic and social prosperity.
We all have a vested interest in seeing countries such as Bangladesh progress, and there is no reason why Bangladesh should not progress if the issues that I have outlined are addressed and if we can encourage the major political parties in the country to work towards peace and stability. However, that requires political will and courage from all sides. I hope that the Minister will highlight what his Department is doing to try to encourage dialogue in Bangladesh.
I will end by asking the Minister a few questions; I will be very quick in doing so. First, can he provide an update on the representation that his Department has
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made about the rising violence in Bangladesh? What efforts are being made to try to bring an end to that rising violence? Can he update the House on whether he has had discussions with the main political parties in Bangladesh and, if so, what progress has been made? What representations have been made and what consular assistance has been provided to UK nationals in Bangladesh, such as Mr Hamidi, who have found themselves caught up in the current difficulties? Finally, has the Minister discussed with his international colleagues, including his European counterparts, what action we can take together to support Bangladesh in this very difficult period? I very much look forward to hearing his response to the debate, and I thank him for taking the time to respond to my questions.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Hugo Swire): Mrs Riordan, it is a very great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Rushanara Ali), whom I congratulate not only on securing this important and timely debate but on approaching what is a difficult matter in such a reasoned and balanced way.
I know that she and other hon. Members, together with their constituents, continue to take a close interest in the situation in Bangladesh. A number of important points have been raised this afternoon, and I hope that I will get round to responding to most of them in the time left to me.
I concur with my hon. Friend the Member for St Albans (Mrs Main), the chairman of the all-party group on Bangladesh, that there is clearly an appetite to debate this matter further, but alas allowing that is not in my gift. However, I am sure that she will make her representations in the usual places, and I hope she will secure a wider debate.
First, I want to make it clear that the United Kingdom and Bangladesh enjoy a strong and long-lasting relationship, which is important to both our countries. As Bangladesh prepares to mark 42 years of independence, we are proud that the UK was the first European country to recognise Bangladesh. Personal ties continue to connect our countries. Nearly 500,000 people of Bangladeshi heritage live in the UK, a good number of them in Bethnal Green and Bow. It is all the more important that we do not shirk our responsibility to highlight our concerns about human rights and respect for the rule of law. Those values are at the heart of British foreign policy, and they are particularly important at a time when Bangladesh is experiencing some of the worst violence it has witnessed in decades. According to human rights organisations, last year there were 15,101 incidents of political violence. That is lower than the 2001 figure of 26,426, but it shows the magnitude of the problem. Indeed, human rights organisations indicate that in January and February alone, there have been approximately 5,000 incidents of political violence.
Since January, the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh has found three men, including two leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, guilty of crimes committed during the 1971 war between Pakistan and Bangladesh. As a result of the verdicts and the ongoing political tensions, opposition parties, mainly Jamaat-e-Islami and the Bangladesh Nationalist party, have called approximately
Bangladeshi community rallies against violence
Deadly clashes in Bangladesh linked to violence by Islamists
Posted: Apr 7, 2013 4:08 PM MT
Last Updated: Apr 7, 2013 5:39 PM MT
Caption: About 100 members of Calgary’s Bangladeshi community rallied outside city hall Sunday against recent violent clashes in Bangladesh. (Meghan Grant/CBC)
About 100 people from Calgary’s Bangladeshi community gathered outside City Hall Sunday to protest recent violence in Bangladesh.
Dozens of Bangladeshi minorities there have been killed and their churches and temples burned down in a recent series of deadly clashes.
“Nobody’s standing for the minorities,” said Kiron Banik, the rally organizer. “If international pressure come to the government, the government should protect their citizens, especially the minorities. It’s their fundamental rights.”
The violence is tied to verdicts and sentences handed down to members of the country’s radical Islamist opposition by an international war crimes tribunal.
The tribunal was set up to try people accused of war crimes stemming from Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.
Article 3: From: Hindu American Foundation
Date: Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Subject: You’re Needed: Join Us on Wednesday to Stop Violence against Bangladesh’s Hindus, White House, 4/10
Article 4: 21 families of indigenous Chak community left their village
following harassment of land grabbers in Naikhyongchari
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2013 09:03:47 Subject: 21 families of indigenous Chak
community left their village following harassment of land grabbers in
Naikhyongchari 21 families of indigenous Chak community left their village
following harassment of land grabbers in Naikhyongchari Indigenous villagers
of Padujhiri Chak Para of Alikkhying mouza under Baishari union of
Naikhyongchari upazila in Bandarban district abandoned their village following
disturbances, harassments and threats of outsider land grabbers. A total of 21
families belong to indigenous Chak community were compelled to leave their
village. Most of the evicted indigenous Chak families are Jum cultivators
(traditional shifting cultivator). It is reported that prior to ‘Sangrai’
festival, a traditional national festival of indigenous Chak community, on 9-10
April 2013, the Chak families left their village as influential land grabbers
including rubber companies, different commercial companies and fundamentalist
militant groups have been inciting hired miscreants and Bengali labourers to
conduct theft, robbery and intimidation on indigenous villagers long time with
the intention to evict them from their village and occupy their ancestral land
and homesteads. Most of the evicted indigenous Chak families took shelter at
premises of Baishari Upar Chak Para and other families at Baishari Headman Para
under Baishari union. It is learnt that the miscreants often beat indigenous
Chak villagers and seize their valuables while the villagers come from and go to
the market. Even miscreants commit eve teasing and sexual harassment on
indigenous women and girls at elsewhere they catch them. The miscreants also
frequently destroy Jum farm and orchard of indigenous Chak villagers to
disturbance them. Due to unendurable harassment of land grabbers, the Chak
villagers abandoned their village prior to start their Sangrai festival. It is
also learnt that earlier five years ago, the indigenous villagers of another
village named Longadu Chak Para under Baishari union fled from their village
following unbearable harassment of outsider Bengali land grabbers. Another 13
poor indigenous Mro families from Amtali Para village of Fasiakhali union under
Lama upazila in Bandarban district were forced to evacuate the village in 2012
due to the alleged persecution of the land-grabbers. It is worth mentioning
that different companies and outsider Bengali businessmen made rubber plantation
on hundreds acres of land. In some cases, they planted rubber on the land
belonging to indigenous villagers. Besides, more than 11 business companies
including Destiny Group occupied thousands acres of lands recorded and owned by
permanent residents of CHT including indigenous Jumma people. The business
companies include Mostafa Group, Laden Group, Shahamin Group, S Alam Group, PHP
Group, Meridian Group, Exim Group, Babul Group, Agme Group etc. These business
companies continue to occupy lands in order to extend its business and area.
They occupied hundreds acres of land just by hanging signboard on the land and
threatened the indigenous villagers and permanent Bengali residents to leave the
area. In some cases, hired miscreants of land grabbers attacked the villagers.
However, local administration has been playing passive role which encourages the
outsiders to occupy more land freely. Kapaeeng Foundation (A Human Rights
Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh) Shalma Garden, House # 23/25,
Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone:
Article 5: All these link would be come as an article
Article 6: Buddhist temple attacked
Articles 7: The Daily star report
Minorities in Bangladesh
Article 9: Some analysis of mayoral elections in Bangladesh
Article 10: Biswajit case in fast-track cour