Published : Tuesday, 30 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM
Human rights, as a concept, have gained huge importance all over the world in the last few decades. We are hearing a lot about the protection of human rights now-a-days. Many local and multinational institutions have devoted their works to ensure the rights of people to provide them a sense of equality, safety and to rid them of deprivation.
In the context of Bangladesh also, human rights is gaining much attention today. But still, it is being violated every day. Hence, a lot is required to be done to protect human rights in our country.
Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.
It was gradually expanded to encompass specific standards for women, children, persons with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups to save them from discriminations that had been long existent in many countries and societies.
Human rights are relevant to all of us, not just those who face repression or mistreatment. They protect us in many areas of our day-to-day life, including our right to a private and family life, as well as expressing our opinions and our right of not to be mistreated or wrongly punished by the state.
Human rights can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted, for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security. These rights are based on values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. But human rights are not just abstract concepts rather they are defined and protected by law.
In the context of Bangladesh, people are often deprived of their basic needs. It is mostly evident with the lower class of the society. Though the lives of people have improved a lot in overall in the last one or two decades, still many are deprived of two square meals a day and are also deprived of education and treatment. It must be noted that, a much lower number of people now remains hungry but that is not the case in terms of other basic needs.
Similar is the situation with the medical treatment. Healthcare facilities are inadequate in terms of the large number of population we have. Though Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has attached high importance to ensuring these basic rights of the people, they are often denied or absent due to corruption and lack of planning.
We are mostly deprived of these facilities in Bangladesh. We do not have proper supply of utilities in spite of paying very high price. We do not have effective education system. We even do not have required numbers of playing fields where children can play. Very few recreation centres are there mostly under private ownership with focus on earning money only.
Our roads and transport facilities are also inadequate. All these are our civil rights and we are deprived of that.
The government must ensure our safety. But regretfully, we have very low security with increasing crimes in the society. Our lives are threatened everyday and many people are killed, raped or terrorized everyday in our country. The law and order situation is not at all satisfactory. Unfriendly behaviour from the law enforcers and poor legal support are leading to serious violation of human rights in Bangladesh.
The political parties run the activities without considering public issues. The citizens have no participation in any national issues and are completely ignored. The only privilege they enjoy is voting in the polls and that also seems not much required. This is a serious violation of human rights.
But they are not focusing on creating awareness rather they mostly work with violated victims. They often receive foreign or government funds and they need to ensure effective use of that. Here, it is more important that, the people are made aware of their human rights which they are carrying from their birth. Our people still lack knowledge of human rights.
The law enforcement agencies should be involved in these drives so that a friendly relation can be established between them and the people. Widespread media campaign can help building awareness.
We are working with so many development goals under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and quickly moving towards becoming a middle income country by 2021. If our people remains deprived of these basic things, that achievement will not have much significance. Hence, we need strong and primal focus on protecting the human rights of our fellow countrymen.
The Writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA) and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)