পৃষ্ঠাসমূহ

শুক্রবার, ১৩ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০১৩

Indiscriminate Killings seems to be out of control.

The border force seems to be out of control,
 with orders to shoot any suspect.


The problem of delimitation of maritime boundary with India aggravated with the formation of a new island on the mouth of border river Hariabhanga, named South Talpatty Island. The disputed South Talpatty island, located about 4 kilometres south of the Hariabhanga river, is supposed to have emerged after the 1970 cyclone.

India named this island as New Moor Island. India first showed the South Talpatty Island in the Admiralty Chart No 859 as New Moor Island according to the information provided. Both the countries were basing their arguments on the legal basis of ‘Thalweg’ or mid channel formula of the border river Hariabanga. The ownership of the island became controversial, as it is difficult to decide whether, the stream of the river flows through the eastern or western side of the island as per river demarcation. If stream flows through the eastern side of the island, then India becomes the owner of the island and can claim EEZ further more to their original claim. But if the stream flows through the western side of the island, then the ownership remains with Bangladesh and she can claim EEZ slightly larger than the original claim. India claimed this island in her territorial sea in 1971 on the basis of principle of discovery. Bangladesh claimed that the mid-channel was flowing to the west of the island, while India claimed that it was flowing to the east of the island. Bangladesh issued a white paper justifying its claims and proposed a joint survey to establish the rightful ownership of this island and to seek peaceful solution of the problem.  But India never agreed to joint survey of the Island.
The fact is that South Talpatty has been created as a result of siltration of Raimangal river- an internal river of Bangladesh and Hariabhanga- a boundary river of India. But this island can not be termed as more than a Low Tide Elevation as it does not remain above water during high tide. Thus, it is only visible during Low Tide Elevation. The deeper channel of Hariabhanga creates boundary between Bangladesh and India. The South Talpatty is located in eastern side of the deeper channel. It means that the island is located in the territory of Bangladesh. Bangladesh can legitimately claim sovereignty over the South Talpatty as this has formed in the estuary of Raimangal river, which is the internal river of Bangladesh. On the other hand, India claims that the Island is located in western side of the deeper channel. India’s contention of deeper channel passing east of South Talpatty does not hold good as the streams of Raimangal river, when they meet with the remaining flow of Hariabhanga will no doubt create deeper channel than the channel flowing west of the South Talpatty.  Consciously or unconsciously India claims this joint stream as the deeper channel of Hariabhanga, which is its internal river.   Therefore, India’s claim over the island as natural prolongation of its territory can not be justified. The legality of the conflicting claims can be only determined by the joint survey and negotiation, which India purposefully avoided since the beginning of the problem.




India has been constructing 4000km fence along the border with out informing its Bangladeshi counterparts. The fence is electrified at some stretches. It is made of steel and concrete, packed with razor wire, double-walled and 8-foot high. The reason for building the fence, said an Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, is the same as the United StatesMexico fence or as Israel’s fence on the West Bank- to prevent illegal migration and terrorist infiltration. This is the result of the hysteria generated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party during the 1980s and 1990s—Bangladeshi Muslim ‘infiltration’ by the millions constitutes a serious strain on the national economy, it poses a threat to India’s stability and security. Such allegations are not only an exaggeration, but a complete fabrication. In numerous occasions, Bengali-speaking Muslims nationals were pushed back to Bangladesh by BSF claiming that they were Bangladeshi nationals. But India could not provide any material proof of the allegation.

Bangladesh’s objection to border fencing is based on a bilateral 1975 agreement, which lays down that no country may not build within 150 meters of the border. However, in April 2005, India and Bangladesh reached an agreement requiring India to consult with the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry regarding any proposed construction within the 150-meter area.


Another controversial issue has been the counter blames by both countries over the issue of patronizing anti-Indian and anti-Bangladeshi elements in their respective territories. This problem needs to be resolved through constructive dialogue between two countries.

Human trafficking, smuggling and drug peddling across the border are also issues of mutual concern. Phencydil production is prohibited according to Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical rule since 1982. A huge number of Indian Phencydil companies have been established along the Bangladesh border who supplies phencydil across the border into Bangladesh. A large number of youth is addicted to this drug.

Lack of monitoring over the long and porous boundaries coupled with lax border rules promote trafficking. Thus, the significant portion of this long border areas is open and out of control of border security forces. This weak and vulnerable borderline is one of the causes of trafficking in Bangladesh. There are as many as 20 transit points from districts of Bangladesh bordering India through which women are trafficked. Bangladesh has several land ports attached to India such as Benapol, Hili, Sharsha, which are often used as transit point of trafficking due to corruption of land port officials and security forces of both countries. The determination of occurrence of trafficking is particularly difficult because the distinction between trafficking and illegal border crossing/migration is not always clear.
Bangladesh and India has several border management instruments like Joint Working Group on Border, twice in a year meeting of BDR-BSF high level officials and government level discussions. When any unrest occurs in the border regions especially between the non- civilians, flag meeting held often between BGB and BSF. But these bring little outcomes to accentuate.
The border crisis reflects hegemonic attitude of a big neighbor to its small counterpart. It seems that India is trying to stretch its hegemony over Bangladesh like Bhutan or Nepal. We have the experiences of US-Mexico and Israel-Palestine which is enough to signal a threat to Bangladesh which can only worsen stability in this region.
Effective border management and maintenance of peace and tranquility along the border is only possible through mutual cooperation. India also needs to constructively engage Bangladesh and develop trade and infrastructure along and across the border so that Bangladesh also has stakes in maintaining a peaceful and tranquil border. India as a big and powerful neighbour should play a greater role to dispel mistrust and suspicion in the bilateral relations.  
Some suggestions can be opted to solve the Bangladesh-India border problem. They are:
- Fulfilling the claims of 1974 border treaty.
- Immediately stop shoot-at- sight policy of BSF and alleged BSF soldiers should be trialed.
- A legal body can be formed who will guide both the authorities to maintain international standards of border management.
- Both governments have to initiate development policies which can mitigate basic needs at the poverty stricken border regions.
- More people to people contact between the two countries should be promoted.
- Cross-border trade should be increased to avoid border smuggling.  

Indian Government Should Investigate and End Impunity for Security Force Personnel
- Krishna Chandra Mondal, father of three boys arbitrarily beaten by the BSF.
- Nazrul Islam, Bangladeshi, injured by indiscriminate BSF shooting.
- Mohammad Omar Faruq, 15, injured by BSF shooting recounts the death of 13-year-old Abdur Rakib.

Notwithstanding the relations of friendship and cooperation killing of Bangladeshis in the border area spark huge criticism of India’s violation in Bangladesh as well as around the world. Human Rights organization in home and abroad express deep concern about BSF’s insane muscle flexing upon its neighbour. In 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued an 81 page report which detailed hundreds of abuses by the BSF. The report was compiled from interviews with victims of BSF shootings, witnesses and members of the BSF and its Bangladeshi counterpart. The report alleged that over 900 Bangladeshi citizens have been killed in the first decade of the 21st century by the BSF. According to HRW, while most of them were killed when they crossed into Indian territory for indulging in cattle rustling or other smuggling activities, many were also killed in BSF's indiscriminate firing across the border. Killing of a young girl, Felani, whose dead body was exposed entangled in barbed wire, which mourn Bangladesh with deep anti-Indian rage.

  

Bangladesh Govt. expressed deep concern about the attitude and BSF chief feel sorry for that ‘mishap’ taking months. It seems that a culture of impunity prevails. Neither has the BSF provided any details to Bangladeshi authorities of any BSF personnel having been prosecuted for human rights violation. Impunity is legally sanctioned as the BSF is exempt from criminal prosecution unless specific approval is granted by the Indian government. In a positive development very recently, BSF has decided to use non-lethal weapons in stopping Bangladeshi nationals in the border.
In the maritime front, India is encroaching Bangladeshi zone violating international standards. The problem remains in the absence of demarcated border in the maritime area. Bangladesh Govt. recently adopted a draft boundary which would be finally submitted within June 2011 to retain claim in the Bay of Bengal. A huge reserve of oil and gas is estimated in the contentious sea bed of Bay of Bengal. So proper delimitation of the maritime border is an urgent need for energy stricken Bangladesh



The problem of maritime boundary delimitation with neighbouring India requires effective and equitable solution for harnessing mineral resources including oil and gas for sustainable development of Bangladesh. It should be mentioned that India has concluded a treaty on maritime delimitation of Andaman and Nicobar Island with Myanmar. India has also made similar arrangement with Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The contested claim of sovereignty over maritime zones arises due to the dispute over appropriate method of delimitation of maritime zones. India is a big country with a very large sea coast and configuration of her coast is convex in nature. On the other hand, the configuration of the coast of Bangladesh is concave in nature. India has settled her maritime boundaries with Myanmar at Andaman & Nicober Islands following both the equitable and equidistance method. India wants that maritime boundary with Bangladesh should be demarcated on equidistance method. But Bangladesh, being geographically disadvantaged country, wants to delimit on the basis of equitable principle, which can establish its legitimate claim over maritime resources and ensure equitable result. Bangladesh’s position is that if delimitation is done on the basis of equidistance principle, it would be contrary to the spirit of the Law of the Sea Convention, 1982 which puts emphasis on equitable solution. In fact, delimitation of maritime boundary by equidistance principle would result in significant encroachment of maritime zone of Bangladesh. The growing body of jurisprudence developed through international judicial decisions supports the equitable principles of delimitation of maritime zones. Failing to resolve the dispute amicably, Bangladesh referred it to the Law of the Sea Tribunal in the last year. Thus, the dispute is currently pending before the tribunal. Bangladesh has opted for this dispute settlement by arbitration because the problem of unsettled maritime boundaries has hampered her efforts to explore for marine resources for a long time, due to extensive and overlapping claims by her neighbours.      

PREAMBLE
Article 1; All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 3 : Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4 : No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5 : No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6: Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8 : Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9 : No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10 : Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11.
Article 12 : No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 13 :
Article 14.
Article 15.
Article 16.
Article 17.
Article 18 : Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 21.
Article 22 : Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 24 : Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25.
Article 26.
Article 27.
Article 28 : Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Article 29.
Article 30: Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
DECEMBER 9, 2010
(Kolkata) - India and Bangladesh should take immediate steps to end the killing of hundreds of their citizens at the West Bengal-Bangladesh border by India's Border Security Force (BSF), Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Indian government should prosecute BSF soldiers responsible for serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said.
The 81-page report, "‘Trigger Happy': Excessive Use of Force by Indian Troops at the Bangladesh Border," documents the situation on the border region, where both Bangladesh and India have deployed border guards to prevent infiltration, trafficking, and smuggling. Human Rights Watch found numerous cases of indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, and killings by the security force, without adequate investigation or punishment. The report is based on over 100 interviews with victims, witnesses, human rights defenders, journalists, law- enforcement officials, and Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles' (BDR) members.
"The border force seems to be out of control, with orders to shoot any suspect," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The border operations ignore the most basic rule of law, the presumption of innocence."
Since both Indians and Bangladeshis have fallen prey to this excessive use of force, both governments need to open a joint independent investigation to turn the situation around, Human Rights Watch said.
Many people routinely move back and forth across this frontier to visit relatives, buy supplies, and look for jobs as well as for both petty and serious crime. The border forces are charged with intercepting illegal activities, especially narcotics smuggling, human trafficking for sex work, and transporting fake currency and explosives. They are also charged with restraining militants who are plotting violent attacks.
In many of the cases investigated by Human Rights Watch, the victims were cattle rustlers -farmers or laborers hoping to supplement their meager livelihood as couriers in the lucrative but illegal cattle trade that is rampant at the West Bengal border. Alauddin Biswas, a border resident, described the killing of his nephew who was suspected of cattle rustling by border guards in March 2010:
I went to see the body. It was lying 5 or 6 kilometers away from our house. There were police and politicians. We all saw that the BSF had shot him while he was lying on his back. They had shot him in the forehead and the bullet had pierced through and was lying a few inches inside the ground. If he was running away, he would have been shot in the back. They just killed him...
Over 900 Bangladeshi nationals have been killed by the BSF over the last decade, many of them when they crossed into Indian territory for cattle rustling or other smuggling activities. However, in several cases we also found that Bangladeshi nationals were injured or killed due to indiscriminate firing from across the border. For instance, 13-year-old Abdur Rakib was shot as he was grazing his buffaloes near the border when a soldier opened fire. Another boy, Mohammad Omar Faruq, age 15, was injured.
The Indian government is constructing a fence close to the border to contain the infiltration of economic migrants from Bangladesh, as well as militant groups responsible for attacks on Indian citizens. The resulting limitations on freedom of movement of those wanting to access their own land closer to the border has led to hardship for border residents.
"Residents complain that intimidation, verbal abuse, and beatings are common, with border guards, particularly the BSF, treating everyone as suspects." Ganguly said. "The border force, with a peacetime mission of preventing illegal activity, is acting like it is in a war zone, torturing and killing local residents."
The border force justifies the killings by claiming that suspects were evading arrest, or that it had to fire in self-defense, Human Rights Watch said. But suspicion of a crime or evasion of arrest cannot alone justify the use of lethal force. The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials calls upon officials to apply, as far as possible, nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. Officials are required to exercise restraint and "act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense." Human Rights Watch found no evidence in any death it documented that the person was engaged in any activity that would justify such an extreme response.
Hundreds of complaints of mistreatment by the border forces have been filed, but no member of the force has been prosecuted. Human Rights Watch found that local police forces rarely register complaints against border security and sometimes encourage the victims to drop their cases, telling them that nothing will come of it. On one occasion, the police informed a victim that the border force had committed no crime, since it was there "to beat the people."
The Bangladesh government should vigorously protect the right to life of its citizens, even those who may be involved in illegal trade, and should call upon the Indian government to exercise restraint.
"Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called upon the Indian government to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations instead of letting its security forces get away with murder," Ganguly said. "The BSF insists that there are internal investigations, but why then is it so unwilling to reveal whether anyone has been punished for these killings."

Testimony From the Report

"The BSF personnel were frustrated because their suspects escaped. They surrounded the boys and without giving any reason, started beating them with rifle butts, kicking and slapping them. There were nine soldiers, and they beat my sons mercilessly. Even as the boys fell down, the BSF men continued to kick them ruthlessly on their chest and other sensitive organs...." 
"At around 3 a.m. we decided to cross the Indian border. While passing a field we did not notice that some BSF soldiers were hidden there. As soon as the BSF saw us, they started firing without warning. On that night, the BSF shot at least 30 rounds. I had never experienced such firing from the BSF before." 
"I had taken our three buffaloes for grazing in the field...about 50 yards from the border. It is a common grazing ground and a lot of other boys were feeding their buffaloes in the same field....A young boy was catching fish in the lake.... A BSF soldier was standing at the border and loudly talking to the boy who was catching fish. It seemed that he wanted the boy to give him some free fish.... Soon they started to verbally abusing each other and then the BSF pointed a gun at the boy. The boy ran and the soldier started to shoot. I think maybe about seven to ten rounds were fired... I was hit on the right hip and fell down."
The border force seems to be out of control, with orders to shoot any suspect.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director

INTRODUCTION: 
Over the past decade, hundreds of Bangladeshi and Indian nationals have been killed by India’s Border Security Force (BSF), but despite numerous complaints no member of the BSF has been arrested, much less held to account in civilian courts. The porous 2,000 kilometer border between the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh is densely populated by farmers and landless peasants. Abuses by the BSF and the Bangladeshi border force, the Bangladesh Rifles, are common, including torture and the indiscriminate use of lethal force. Photographs by Prashant Panjiar.
NEWS RELEASE: 
REPORT: 

Photo doc: Human Rights Watch
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
 This is an acknowledgement for and also Remind them according to the,
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS 

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.


Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

 Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

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Sayed Taufiq Ullah