Bangladesh Human Rights Group License Revoked
June 8, 2022
Cited article by Faisal Mahmud, Al Jazeera
HRRC opposes the Bangladesh NGO Affairs Bureau's cancellation of licenses for human rights groups operating in the country. The government's refusal to allow rights groups to continue their work is detrimental to the rights of the Bangladeshi people. The government must renew the licenses and assist in improving human rights for all.
One of the top human rights groups in Bangladesh, Odhikar, had its license cancelled by the government's NGO Affairs Bureau, which stated the rights group is "tarnishing the image of the state to the world". Odhikar was established in 1994 and has a history of working with the United Nations in reporting serious human rights abuses, including enforced disappearance and killings by Bangladeshi security forces and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Odhikar's reports helped sway the United States in its implementation of sanctions on Bangladesh in December 2021.
According to local media and top government officials in Bangladesh, the sanctions helped improve the human rights situation in the country. However, the government's refusal to renew Odhikar's license illustrates their refusal to improve their human rights record. In the order issued on June 5th, the NGO Affairs Bureau accused Odhikar of disseminating misleading "information about various extrajudicial killings, including alleged disappearances and murders". The retaliation on Odhikar is likely to affect other human rights groups in the country and contribute to the deterioration of human rights.