Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Haque has said the government considers human rights violations as highly heinous crimes and will not compromise with human rights violations even in the current pandemic situation.
The law minister was speaking as the chief guest at a virtual meeting organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday as part of the Human Rights Day 2020 celebrations on the theme "We will turn around again, human rights for all", reads a press release.
On domestic violence and sexual harassment, the minister said these crimes would never be tolerated. The government is giving that message to the people as well as taking various steps.
He said just these laws or stricter laws and increased punishment will not stop these crimes. People also need to be vocal. The Human Rights Commission also has to play a significant role in this regard. Then these crimes will decrease.
He said it was the responsibility of the government to ensure that human rights were not violated. In this case, the Human Rights Commission will act as a check and balance. If human rights are violated anywhere, it will first inform the government. If the government does not take any action after that, they will take action according to the law.
He assured that if any message of human rights violation is conveyed to the government, the government must take action.
Responding to a question raised in the open discussion, the minister said the anti-discrimination law will be seen by the people as a law next year. Work on this legislation is currently in its final stages.
The minister said the people of Bangladesh have a deep understanding of human rights issues. Covid-19 has changed our traditional way of thinking about human rights. That's why this year's motto is "We'll turn around again, human rights for all." Therefore, in the Covid-19 situation, it is necessary to come out of the experience of human suffering and livelihood and re-arrange life and protect human rights with due importance.
He said there are many human rights violations around the world in the pandemic. We have to make sure we take actions against these crimes so that they do not happen again.
He said like the whole world, the government of Bangladesh has to handle the challenges emerging during the pandemic. The government has arranged free Covid-19 test. The vaccine for this disease will also be given to the people for free and priority basis.
The meeting was chaired by the National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Nasima Begum. UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh Sudipta Mukherjee, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo and full-time member of the commission Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed addressed the meeting.
Earlier, an open discussion was held on the human rights situation in Bangladesh.