Posts tagged Bangladesh
Posts tagged Bangladesh
The eve of Bangladesh’s 10th national parliamentary elections saw a wave of violence as more than 100 schools turned polling stations in 20 districts were set fire by protesters.
Bangladesh rebuffs pleas to admit people fleeing Myanmar violence
Bangladesh has rebuffed pleas from the United Nations and other groups to allow in Rohingya Muslims displaced by sectarian clashes in Myanmar, continuing to turn away their boats at its borders.
“It is not in our interest that new refugees come from Myanmar,” Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told reporters in Dhaka, the capital, on Tuesday.
Border guards “foiled two separate attempts of Rohingyas to enter” Bangladesh on Wednesday, the national news agency reported, sending 70 people back to Myanmar. About 1,500 Rohingya fleeing Myanmar in boats have been turned back since the weekend, when clashes broke out with the majority Rakhine Buddhist population, the Associated Press reported.
“It is not in our interest that new refugees come from Myanmar,” Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told reporters in Dhaka on Tuesday. She reiterated that position Wednesday, the national news agency said.
The United Nations’ refugee agency has called on Bangladesh to provide a haven for people fleeing the fighting in coastal Rakhine state, where rival mobs of Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have burned homes and at least a dozen people have died. The violence in western Myanmar erupted after the lynching of 10 Muslims in retaliation for the rape and murder of a Buddhist girl, allegedly at the hands of three Muslims.
The Rohingya minority, estimated by the U.N. to number about 800,000, lack official acceptance from both Bangladesh and Myanmar, leaving them in effect stateless as the violence explodes. Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry has stressed that it is working with Myanmar “to ensure that developments in the Rakhine state do not have any trans-boundary spillover.”
The U.S. joined the public calls on Bangladesh on Wednesday, with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urging the country to ensure refugees aren’t turned back to their persecutors, Agence France-Presse reported.
“By closing its border when violence in Arakan state is out of control, Bangladesh is putting lives at grave risk,” Human Rights Watch refugee program director Bill Frelick said Tuesday. “Bangladesh has an obligation under international law to keep its border open to people fleeing threats to their lives.”
Pictured: Rohingya Muslims sit in a boat after being intercepted by Bangladesh’s Border Guard members in Teknaf on Wednesday. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency
Protests in Bangladesh after opposition leaders arrested
Demonstrators and police have clashed in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka after 33 senior opposition figures were arrested in connection with anti-government protests last month.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has called a nationwide general strike for Thursday.
"We are awestruck at the court’s decision not to grant bail to our top leaders," a BNP spokesman said.
The BNP leaders deny involvement in an arson attack during protests in April.
They include Mirza Fakhrul Alamgir, the acting secretary of the BNP led by Khaleda Zia, and former Dhaka mayor Sadeq Hossain.
"It’s totally unbelievable and a fabricated case," BNP spokesman Nazrul Islam Khan told AFP news agency.
Following the arrests, there were angry scenes outside the court in Dhaka. Police baton-charged angry demonstrators and a number of vehicles were attacked and set alight in the capital and several other towns, news reports said.
Pictured: A number of vehicles were set alight in the protests
Bangladesh police out in force as tension rises over missing politician
Ilias Ali of opposition party disappears, with fingers pointing at Sheikh Hasina’s government and security forces
Police in Bangladesh used baton charges, live bullets and teargason Sunday in clashes with demonstrators protesting against the alleged abduction of a senior politician. The violence was the most acute for many months in the unstable state.
In Dhaka, the capital, dozens of small devices were reported to have exploded and 20 arrests were made. In the north-eastern city of Sylhet, 12 people were reported to have been injured and more than 50 detained in running battles. On Sunday night a tense calm had been established, although tens of thousands of security personnel remained deployed across the country in anticipation of further clashes on Monday.
The crisis was sparked by the disappearance last Tuesday of Ilias Ali, a key organiser with the Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP). Ali was the latest in a series of political activists who have apparently been abducted, raising fears of a concerted campaign of intimidation aimed at opposition politicians. At least 22 people have gone missing so far this year, the local human rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra said. In 2011, the number was 51. Estimates of the exact number vary though all indicate a rising overall total.
Many local and international campaigners have blamed security forces, accusing the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and local police of eliminating opposition figures to benefit the administration of Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister.
Spokesmen from the Rab have denied the charge, saying that many of those found dead or who have disappeared were involved in crime and killed by associates or rivals. The director of the Rab’s legal wing, Commander Mohammed Sohail, said an operation had been launched to recover Ali and a search was continuing.
Speaking in Dhaka last week, Hasina suggested Ali might have been “hiding somewhere” on the orders of his party. Ministers described his disappearance as “sad” and “unexpected”.
Pictured: Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, claimed Ilias Ali may be hiding on the orders of his own party. Photograph: Faisal Al-Tamimi/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands march for change in Bangladesh
Opposition demands that a non-partisan caretaker government be charged with conducting next general election.
Tens of thousands of people gathered in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka to demand the government step down and hold elections, police said.
In what is being seen as the biggest opposition demonstration since the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) suffered a landslide defeat in 2008 polls, the protest on Monday was largely peaceful but under the watchful eye of thousands of armed troops across the city.
The main opposition BNP and its Islamist ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, are demanding the restoration of a constitutional provision that required incumbent governments to transfer power to a neutral caretaker administration to conduct polls.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government scrapped the 15-year-old system last year.
The opposition, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, has said elections due in 2014 will be rigged if held under the current government without a caretaker system in place.
Pictured: Supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its alliance gather in front of their party office during a rally in Dhaka March 12, 2012.
Almost half the population of Bangladesh does not know how to read or write. Authorities want to change this so they have made education free and mandatory until the age of 11.
In coaching centres government teachers can supplement their income by teaching extra classes. Students attending these classes are effectively guaranteed to pass their exams, but the ministry of education wants to ban the centres, saying that teachers and the government have a moral duty to provide schooling to all children.
But new students are flooding government schools, and there are not enough teachers to attend to them.
Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.