South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) a regional network of human rights defenders, is extremely concerned about the alleged assault targeting Syeda Rezwana Hasan, the Chief Executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), and her team including Aliur Rahman, an environment journalist, on 23 January 2023 in the Akbarashah area in Chattorgram city, Bangladesh.
According to media reports, the followers of Jahurul Islam alias Jashim, a Councilor of Uttar Pahartali ward under Chattorgram City Corporation, were involved in the assault. The police, acting on the complaint lodged by Rezwana Hasan, have reportedly arrested a person. SAHR urges the Government of Bangladesh to ensure an independent impartial and prompt investigation into this incident and bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure reparations for those affected.
SAHR calls on the relevant authorities to guarantee that environmental activists are able to carry out their work freely and without interference or harassment, given the crucial importance of such work in ensuring climate justice, and the survival of the people of Bangladesh. It firmly urges the Government of Bangladesh to respect its obligation to protect human rights defenders as well as the rights and freedoms of the people enshrined in the constitution.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,
Dr. Roshmi Goswami
Dr. P. Saravanamuttu