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[OPIRG-EVENTS] (Dec18,2002) Bangladesh in Troubled Times [Panel Discussion]

** Bangladesh in Troubled Times: Human Rights and Press Freedoms at Risk
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

website: <http://www.sapcanada.org>

A briefing and discussion seminar on the current human rights and freedom of the press situation in Bangladesh for the government, NGOs working in Bangladesh, executing agencies of CIDA projects in Bangladesh, representatives of human rights and press freedom organizations, as well as representatives of the Canadian Bangladeshi community.

Faruq Faisel, Canadian Program Manager of SAP Canada, was in Bangladesh recently at the early stage of the operation and has been following the situation closely since then. He will present a situation report at this meeting, which will provide us with a backgrounder to discuss the matter.

December 16, 2002 marks the 30th anniversary of the end of Bangladesh’s war of liberation. However, instead of celebrating this anniversary in peace, Bangladeshis are witnessing an unprecedented violation of human rights by the very state they fought 30 years ago to create.

Under the so-called “Operation Clean Heart” against organized crime, the Bangladeshi army has rounded up thousands of people without specific charges. Over the past 60 days of Operation Clean Heart, at least 36 people have died in custody during interrogations. Each of these people has died from a “heart attack”, according to military and government spokespersons.

Freedom of the press is also at risk. On November 25, government agencies arrested 6 journalists -- including a British and an Italian journalist -- who were producing a news documentary for British Channel 4. The foreign journalists spent two weeks in jail and were then deported on December 11, 2002. The four other journalists, all Bangladeshis who were working with the foreign journalists, remain in custody, charged with "anti-state activities." They were denied bail and returned to jail, pending trial. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of death.

The government is also cracking down on selected NGOs, intellectuals, newspaper columnists, university teachers and opposition political leaders.

Room 202
* 200, 1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 7B7
No pets or animals allowed.
No smoking.
Wheelchair accessible.

Cost: free
Ages: all-ages
No childcare available.
No pets or animals allowed.
No smoking.
Wheelchair accessible.

* South Asia Partnership Canada: SAP
Website: <http://www.sapcanada.org/>
Contact: Peter Moore
Phone: (613) 241-1333 ext. 229
Phone: (613) 241-1333
Fax: (613) 241-1129
E-mail: pmoore@sapcanada.org

Please let us know if you are able to attend by replying to SAP Canada – email: sap@sapcanada.org or phone 613-241-1333.

(Event: Panel Discussion; Media)

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