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15-Year-Old Joins over 1,000 Children at Risk of Covid-19 in Detention Centers

Bangladesh authorities on Saturday arrested a 15-year-old for “defaming” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed in a Facebook post. It was an especially egregious move in a wave of arbitrary arrests targeting critics of the ruling party with the harsh and…
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets with officials in Tokyo, May 29, 2019.
News

Blocking Access Could Cost Lives

UPDATE: Ethiopia announced that it would restore phone and internet service to western Oromia after a three-month shutdown. (New York) – Intentionally shutting down or restricting access to the internet violates multiple rights and can be…
202003bhr_coronavirus_kashmir_internet shutdowns
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Urgently Act to Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak in Refugee Camps

(New York) – The Bangladesh government’s internet blackout and phone restrictions at Rohingya refugee camps are obstructing humanitarian groups from addressing the COVID-19 threat, Human Rights Watch said today. The shutdown is risking the health…
Rohingya refugees wait at a crowded relief distribution point at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 24, 2020.
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Netra News Latest to be Blocked in Free Speech Crackdown

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities are blocking access to online news sites in violation of the right to free speech and access to information, Human Rights Watch said today. The government has also adopted advanced methods to block or conduct…
Bangladeshi photojournalists and journalists form a human chain infront of National Press Club protesting the attacks on them during the students' ongoing protest demanding safe roads, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 7, 2018.
News

Abrar Fahad’s Brutal Murder Highlights Impunity for Abuses

On October 6, Abrar Fahad, 21, was summoned from his dorm room at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) to Room 2011, known among students as the “torture cell.” The room is run by members of the Chhatra League…
Bangladesh Student Union stage a torch light procession rally to protest the murder of Abrar Fahad, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), who was allegedly beaten to death by Bangladesh Chhatra League men.
News

Poet, Lawyer, Activists Jailed in Free Speech Crackdown

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities made a series of new arrests in their crackdown on the right to free speech, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests were based on vague charges such as “hurting religious sentiment” or undermining “law and…
A Bangladeshi reads a news report that makes mention of Facebook along with other social networking service, on his mobile phone in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.
News

Ahead of Elections, Government Won’t Tolerate Criticism

(New York) – The Bangladesh government has embarked upon intensive and intrusive surveillance and monitoring of social media ahead of national elections, raising concern over a chilling effect on speech, Human Rights Watch said today. Draconian new laws…
Police in Bangladesh have registered hundreds of complaints under the Information and Communication Technology Act, including against authors of social media posts and journalists criticizing the political leadership and the ruling Awami League party.
News

Digital Security Act is Overly Broad, Ripe for Abuse

(New York) – The Digital Security Act passed by the Bangladeshi parliament last week, despite vehement opposition from the country’s journalists, strikes a blow to freedom of speech in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The law, which…
Bangladesh's President Abdul Hamid (3rd R) and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2nd L) walk near female members of the Bangladesh army at the national parade ground in Dhaka on December 16, 2015.
News

Periodic Rights Review Response Ignored Main Concerns

(Geneva) – The Bangladesh delegation to the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on May 14, 2018, failed to respond to pressing human rights concerns in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The law minister,…
Tear gas is seen while police takes their position in the street Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
News

Judiciary Blocks Popular Messaging Application Telegram

(Beirut) – The Iranian judiciary’s blocking of the messaging application Telegram is an unjustifiable restriction on freedom of expression and access to information, Human Rights Watch said today. With more than 40 million users,…
People protest in Tehran, Iran December 30, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
News

Cabinet Approves New Law That is Overly Broad and Ripe for Abuse

(New York) – The Bangladeshi government should review and reform the proposed Digital Security Act (DSA) instead of enacting the law in its current form, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 29, 2018, the cabinet approved a…
Bangladesh's President Abdul Hamid (3rd R) and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2nd L) walk near female members of the Bangladesh army at the national parade ground in Dhaka on December 16, 2015.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Government Asks Facebook to Play a Direct Role

It is a challenge for governments to manage the onslaught of social media that can incite public violence. But too often, a state crackdown is aimed more at silencing critics than maintaining public order. This is certainly the case in Bangladesh.…
Screenshot of the "Moja Losss?" Facebook page.
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Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
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Prison Term Ended, But Hellman-Hammett Winner Still Held

(Beirut) – The Iranian authorities should immediately release the detained writer and blogger Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, who is being unlawfully held despite the expiry of a prison sentence. On March 11, 2015, Branch 1 of the Iranian Revolutionary…
News

Protect Bloggers, Prosecute Those Targeting Free Speech

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities should unequivocally declare their commitment to free speech instead of proposing self-censorship, Human Rights Watch said today. The killing of secular blogger Niladri Chakrabarti on August 7…
Niladri Chakrabarti
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Imminent Risk of Execution for ‘Insulting the Prophet’

(New York) – Iran’s judiciary should vacate the death sentence of a 30-year-old man who faces imminent execution for Facebook posts linked to his account. On November 24, 2014, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to…
News

Renewed Crackdown with Four New Arrests

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities should immediately ensure the release of three journalists and a fourth person arrested in recent days, including the Tehran correspondent for The Washington Post, unless they plan to bring recognizable criminal charges…
News
Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
News

Seven Face Possible Charges Over Music Video

(Beirut) – Iran’s judiciary should drop the case against seven youth for participating in a video showing them dancing and end any further legal proceedings or harassment against them and their families. Authorities released six of the seven on bail on…