The TBH Desk
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has decided to hold party gatherings after 43 days and will hold a human chain programme in the capital and district towns across the country on International Human Rights Day on Sunday, 10 December.
Family members of the missing leaders and activities of the party will join the human chain while other political parties and alliances waging anti-government movements will also be on the streets with similar programmes.
People concerned said this time BNP sees the human chain on the International Human Rights Day in a bit different way considering the prevailing situation and other issues.
In Dhaka, the human chain will be held at 11:00am in front of the National Press Club on Sunday.
This the first gathering the party has announce so far since their leaders and activists went into hiding in fear of arrests after the party’s grand rally was foiled in Naya Paltan on 28 October.
BNP, and other parties and coalitions have so far enforced 10 spells of blockades for 20 days and three spells of stikes (hartal) for four days since 29 October demanding the resignation of the government, election under a neutral government and cancelation of the polls schedule.
BNP leaders think parties that waging anti-government movement have been focussing this year’s International Human Rights Day ahead of the 12th parliamentary election. The BNP aims to bring back its leaders and activists to the streets centring the human chain on 10 December, and to observe the activities of the government and the police. The party will then set its next course of action.
Several leaders of BNP and other parties waging anti-government movement think since major political parties including BNP are not joining the next election, so this type of ‘one-sided’ polls will not be credible to international democratic community including the US. Considering all political issues, the programs on the Human Rights Day is very important to the opposition parties including BNP.
Sources said various human rights organisations are likely to be invited in the human chains along the relatives of the jailed party leaders-activists.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Ahmed Rizvi called the party men to make the human chain a success as symbol of protest overcoming all barriers. At a virtual press conference on Friday afternoon, he instructed the party leaders and activists to bring the family members of people who become victim of torture, killing and enforced disappearance to human chains. Not only BNP leaders and activists, rights activists, journalists and protesting people also face torture and oppression of the government.
On 10 December, Ganatantra Manch will hold a protest rally on the road in front of the office of the National Human Rights Commission in Karwan Bazar on 11:00am. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami said they would also hold human chain and discussion. The party, however, did not disclose the venue to the media.
Jamaat central assistant secretary general Abdul Halim said they would observe their announced programmes.
In the meantime, people from the government top level to the ministers have spoken of possible sanctions by the US ahead of the International Human Rights Day. Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said at a press conference in the capital’s Dhanmondi they are not concerned over any sanctions. He said, “We are marching toward a peaceful, fair and free election under an independent election commission abiding by constitution. Why would the sanction be imposed here?”
The US released the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, also known as the Human Rights Reports, every year. The US imposed sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion and seven former and current officials on allegations of human rights violation on 10 December 2021. On 25 May this year, the US announced visa restrictions for Bangladeshi people who is believed to hamper the electoral process, and applied the visa policy.
People concerned said there are discussions in any announcement on stern action by the US against the government will boost the opposition’s movement, and if no announcement comes the movement may take a negative turn.