Odhikar, the Bengali word for 'rights', works to create a rigid framework to facilitate broader observation and consciousness on the violation of societal and constitutional rights in Bangladesh. It came into existence on 10th October, 1994.
The organisation has two main aims:
- To increase awareness of the protection and violation of human rights;
- To establish a dynamic parliamentary structure through public opinion monitoring.
Odhikar plays an advisory role to assess the on-going human rights condition in Bangladesh. The organisation has helped train 500 individuals, instead of setting up branch offices, so that these trained pupils can go out, receive information from outside of Dhaka, protect human rights and spread the organisation’s motto. Odhikar believes this will help in assuring clarity and accountability, strengthening the human and democratic rights of citizens.
Since 2000, Odhikar has carried out this work with the support of different partners including the American Centre, Forum-Asia, Relief International, the European Union and the Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights. The aim of the training programmes were to create a grassroots and local human rights defenders network, to help mobilise strengthen the social movement against human rights violations. Apart from training on human rights issues, fact-finding, documentation, report-writing and advocacy, Odhikar human rights defenders are also given training on election monitoring.
Odhikar encourages grassroot level participants as it sees empowerment as the prerequisite for human rights. Apart from this this organisation is also engaged in number of activities including research, keeping records, advisory and networking. Odhikar aims to be a driving force in human rights in Bangladesh, and has built a key framework of associates.
Human rights monitoring report: May 2016
The May 2016 monthly human rights monitoring report describes the human rights situation in Bangladesh, specifically describing the following areas:
- Hindrance to freedom of expression and the media
- Political violence and vote rigging in local government elections
- Allegations of enforced disappearance
- Extrajudicial killings
- Attacks and harassment on inhabitants of Gondamara in Banshkhali
- Unlawful acts of members of law enforcement agencies
- Public lynching
- Human rights violations along the border
- Human rights abuses on members of minority communities
- Violence against women
- Anti Corruption Commission and its accountability
Odhikar’s Statement on Human Rights Day 2017; BANGLADESH: People’s participation is needed to uphold human rights
The 10th of December is universally recognised as International Human Rights Day. In 2017, the day is being observed at a time when the human rights situation in Bangladesh has become catastrophic. The current government resumed power through controversial Parliamentary Elections on January 5, 2014 where almost half of the Members of Parliament won seats without even a vote in their name; and due to this farcical election, the moral and legal foundation of this government has become controversial as well. The current political situation of the country is in a deep crisis due to the absence of an accountable government and a very weak parliamentary Opposition.
ROHINGYA: THE MOST PERSECUTED MINORITY COMMUNITY IN MYANMAR
150 case studies of the atrocities by the Myanmar Military: Between January to November 2017 Odhikar carried out a fact finding mission in several places in Cox’s Bazaar where Rohingya refugees have been kept. These places include both registered and unregistered camps in areas such as Shah Porir Dwip, Teknaf, Leda village, Palong Khali and Kutub Palong. Fact finders spoke to mainly women Rohingya refugees, although there were some children and men also willing to share their experiences.