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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

Refusal to Restore Communications Threatens Public Health

Every time you place a call in Ethiopia, you get an educational message about coronavirus prevention – but that only helps if you can make a call. Millions of Ethiopians living under a months-long government-imposed shutdown of internet and…
A volunteer provides hand sanitizer to passengers entering a bus
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.
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End Media Censorship, Prosecution of Journalists

In its annual press freedom index, Reporters Sans Frontières has dropped Bangladesh to 150th out of 180 countries – the lowest ranking it has ever received. Bangladesh’s Information Minister Hasan Mahmud disputed the report’s findings,…
201904asia_bangladesh_journalists_media
News

Criminalizing Speech Won’t Solve Problem

Hate and dangerous speech is a serious and growing problem in Ethiopia, both online and offline. It has contributed to the growing ethnic tensions and conflicts across the country that have created more than 1.4 million new internally…
Internet café in Lalibela, Amhara Region, Ethiopia.
News

Shahidul Alam Held Over a Month Amidst Broader Crackdown

A Bangladesh court today rejected the bail plea of renowned photographer and activist Shahidul Alam. He had been arrested on August 5, 2018 just hours after denouncing on Al Jazeera and on Facebook the government’s crackdown on massive…
Activist and photographer Shahidul Alam arrives surrounded by policemen for an appearance in a court, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 6, 2018.
News

Enshrine Laws that Protect Free Expression, Association

For a decade, Ethiopia’s government has relied on repressive laws to silence dissenting voices and throw journalists and activists behind bars. The laws helped make Ethiopia into one of the most inhospitable places in the world for people speaking out…
News

Important Steps, But More Rights Reforms Needed

Today, Ethiopia’s ruling coalition announced it would release political prisoners and close the infamous Maekelawi detention center in the capital, Addis Ababa. While the government did not say how and when this would occur, doing so…
News

Offended groups threaten at will while state fails to act

During a recent visit to Bangladesh to revisit my years there as a student, a colleague suggested I meet Sultana Kamal, much admired for decades of work on justice as a human rights defender. But Kamal was not making many public…
Bangladesh Supreme Court statue
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.
News

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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A year ago today, Ethiopian security forces arrested Pastor Omot Agwa and six colleagues at Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport and took them to the notorious Maekelawi police station, where torture is routine. The arrest came several…
Pastor Omot Agwa was charged by Ethiopian authorities under the anti-terrorism law after being detained for nearly six months.
News
The Chinese government is well known for covering up that which it does not want discussed: the horrors of the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, and even elements of its purported campaign against corruption…
Empty art frames seen at the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh following objections from China’s ambassador to Bangladesh.
News
Last June, Facebook locked the account of “Happy Addis”, an Ethiopian LGBT activist who runs Facebook groups for gay Ethiopians. The reason? His Facebook profile does not list his real name. But Happy Addis had good reason not to want his real name…
Facebook real name
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Free speech in Bangladesh is under attack as never before, held hostage between angry, machete-wielding radicals on one hand and a government, quick to take offence, on the other. Four bloggers have been murdered this year by religious…
Niladri Chakrabarti
News
An open Internet offers both benefits and risks for human rights. It has allowed activists anywhere to have global impact and hold institutions accountable. But digital technologies have enabled surveillance on an unprecedented scope and scale. When…
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…