South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Human rights violation issues are rarely discussed in parliament, said South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) yesterday.

Only 47 out of over 1800 call attention notices were discussed in the ninth parliament over the last three years, according to a study the rights organisation presented yesterday at a roundtable discussion in the capital.

Human rights conditions have been deteriorating day by day in the country but the House has seldom spoken of the issue, SAHR said in the study report.

It was learnt in the course of the study that ruling party MPs had praised their party and party chief 616 times and criticised the opposition 808 times during parliamentary sessions, which SAHR regarded as a waste of time and resources.

It said that due to a comfortable majority in parliament, the ruling Awami League chose to bypass parliament in enacting major laws.

The rights organisation was also critical of the opposition parties, saying they had clearly ignored their electoral pledges by boycotting the House.

The discussion was presided over by Shaheen Anam, bureau member of SAHR, and the study report was explained by Irfath Ara Iva, Bangladesh chapter coordinator of the organisation.

In the study report, SAHR said some 46 hours had been spent in the law making process in seven sessions in the last two years whereas the total working hours of parliament were over 576 hours.

On an average, the House spent 21 minutes to pass a law, as per the report.

The rights body at the discussion said an annual calendar of parliamentary sessions was necessary to run the House effectively.

Besides, a code of conduct or integrity standard must be put in place immediately for MPs.

SAHR suggested that parliamentary seats of MPs should be scrapped if he/she remains absent from sessions for 30 consecutive days, instead of 90 days.

It also recommended ensuring regular attendance of the prime minister and the opposition leader in the House. MPs attendance needs to be recorded digitally and displayed on the websites, SAHR said.

Ruling AL MP AKM Mozammel Huq and Sagufta Yasmin, who spoke in the program, supported many of the recommendations given by the rights body.

Hamida Hossain, a rights activist, Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary of Shushashoner Jannoy Nagorik, among others, spoke in the programme.

Source: The Daily Star ( – 21/2/2012