Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have laudably declared their commitment to a peaceful, inclusive society for Bangladesh. Indeed, most Bengali citizens clearly have a wish for the same. However, given a contradictory constitutional combination of secularism with Islam as the state religion, Bangladeshâ€™s religious, ethnic and sexual minorities remain vulnerable to violence, discrimination and intimidation.
This is reinforced by flawed legal procedures and institutions, corruption, poverty, illiteracy and traditional practices. In 2011â€2012, indigenous peoples, Hindus, Buddhists and other minorities continued to have their rights violated and/or property seized by land grabbers, extremists and some political leaders with authorities either directly involved or bribed into looking the other way.
Between September and October 2012, the largest attacks in recent history against Buddhist communities have added grave concerns with regard to the security and rights of minorities in Bangladesh. Given credible information supported by both government and nonâ€government sources of the inadequacy of public representatives, officials and law enforcement agencies to take proper action to prevent the carnage, questions have been raised about the credibility of the governmentâ€™s commitment to protect the rights of minorities.
The following report is only intended to raise questions based on the evidence in order to ensure a more secure and peaceful Bangladesh for all.