13 August 2012

Bangladeshi PM Ducks Human Rights Abuse Questions

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina
Host Stephen Sackur asks some hard questions about the human rights record of Bangladesh. Specifically, he cites a UN report that says, "human rights violations continue unabated in Bangladesh. Including extrajudicial deaths, torture and cruel treatment in law enforcement custody." Hasina ducks the question by blaming the previous government. Attempts to push the issue further by Sackur are met by repeated denials.

On the question of the April disappearance and death of activist Aminul Islam, Hasina questioned if he was even activist and said that it was the Bangladeshi police who found his body. She neglects to say that the body was dumped near a police station in Ghatail. Islam's brother told the New York Times, “We found several marks of wounds from his waist to his foot. His big toes and his ankles were smashed.”

From the perspective of development, Bangladesh has come under greater focus over the past year. The ouster of Nobel Prize winning economist Muhammad Yunus from the Grameen Bank was orchestrated by the Hasina government. She made it clear in the past and continues to do so today that she considers Yunus to be an opportunist through his microlending scheme calling him a 'bloodsucker of the poor.' She tells Sackur that it is unfair to charge as much as 40% interest.

Read the full post on the Humanosphere blog.