Human Rights Day will be observed in the country like elsewhere in the world marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10 in 1948.
This year, the Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, according a message of the United Nations (UN) issued ahead of the day.
Different organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day.
President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued messages on the eve of the day and wished success of all the programmes.
In his message, President Abdul Hamid said the constitution of Bangladesh ensures all internationally recognised human rights.
The government has constituted the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) aiming at protecting the rights of all and developing the human rights at all levels, he said, adding that as an independent and neutral body, the NHRC is playing an active role in protecting human rights.
This year, Bangladesh was elected a member of UN Human Rights Council for three years, the President said. “I think it is an international recognition to Bangladesh’s efforts of protecting human rights in the country.”
Bangladesh has earned appreciation in protecting human rights by providing shelter to a huge number of forcefully displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar on humanitarian grounds, Abdul Hamid said.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was conferred with the prestigious ‘International Achievement Award’ and ‘2018 Special Distinction Award for Outstanding Achievement’ for making the unique example of humanity.
The President expressed his optimism that all concerned and government and non-government institutions, including the NHRC, will continue efforts to raise awareness about human rights and ensure a smooth way of getting justice for the victims in case of violations of human rights.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government’s commitment to upholding the human rights, saying “We enacted the National Human Rights Commission Act-2009 to realise our commitment to protecting and developing human rights in the country”.
Noting that the government has recruited 48 staff in the NHRC while process continues to recruit 40 more officials in the national rights body, she said the budgetary allocation was also increased for the commission.
This year, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh has been elected the UN Human Rights Council member for three years.
She said Bangladesh has signed different international documents, including conventions on the rights of labour, children, women and people with disabilities, aiming to protect human rights.
“We passed the ‘Labour (amended) Bill-2018′ in the parliament this year to protect the labours’ rights,” the Prime Minister added.
She said the government is implementing different development projects and programmes for protecting human rights and ensuring economic empowerment of all.
Sheikh Hasina called upon all people, government and non-government organisations, international organisations, development bodies, research institutions, civil society members, mass media and the owner’s and labour’s organisations, to play their due role in protecting human rights in the country.
In his message, UN Secretary General Guterres said: “For 70 years, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a global beacon – shining a light for dignity, equality and well-being … and bringing hope to dark places”.
The rights proclaimed in the Declaration apply to everyone — no matter race, belief, location or other distinction of any kind, he said, adding that human rights are universal and eternal.
“They are also indivisible. One cannot pick and choose among civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Today, we also honour the human rights defenders risking their lives to protect people in the face of rising hatred, racism, intolerance and repression,” he said.
Pointing out that, human rights are under siege around the world, universal values are being eroded and the rule of law is being undermined, the UN Secretary General said, adding “Now more than ever, our shared duty is clear: Let us stand up for human rights — for everyone, everywhere”.