EI deplores repression of academics and students in Bangladesh

EI has written to Ehsanul Haque, Private Secretary to the Chief Adviser of Bangladesh, expressing concern at the violent repression of university student protests.

The repression resulted in one death and 300 injuries. Several university academics have also been detained in jail following military raids on their homes. They are charged with organizing anti-government demonstrations and agitation outside the university campus. The content of Education International’s letter is available below: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Md. Ehsanul Haque Private Secretary to the Honorable Chief Adviser Chief Advisers Office Old Sangshad Bhaban Tajgaon Dhaka 1215
Brussels, 27th September 2007

Dear Mr. Haque: I am writing to you to express grave concern with the situation faced by teachers and students in Bangladesh. It is shocking to learn that the violent repression of university student protests led to one death and 300 injuries. It is worrying to learn that university personnel are being charged with fomenting said protests. I wish to refer specifically to the case of Professor Anwar Hossain, Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and General Secretary of the Dhaka University Teachers Association (DUTA) and Professor Harun-or-Rashid, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Dhaka University. The international education community is appalled to learn that Mr. Hussain and Mr. Rashid have been detained at the Dhaka Central Jail since August 24 of the current year, following army-led raids on their homes on the University’s campus. Education International understands that Mr. Hussain and Mr. Rashid were arrested on the alleged suspicion that they were involved in organizing anti-government demonstrations and agitation outside the university campus. Much to the dismay of Education International, we have learned that formal charges have been made against both academics, who have been accused of violating the Emergency Powers Rules. The international education community strongly opposes the recent arrests of teachers and students in Bangladesh and is concerned that the entry into force of the Emergency Power Rules has severely undermined the exercise of fundamental rights in Bangladesh. In view of this, Education International calls on your government to ensure that fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for the dignity and worth of the human person are fully guaranteed, in attention to the principles set forth in the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The total respect of democratic values is the cornerstone of economic and social justice. Thus, Education International urges you to take the necessary measures to ensure that Mr. Hussain and Mr. Rashid, as well as other teachers and students who have been arrested following demonstrations throughout the country, be released immediately and that the charges made against them be formally dropped. Yours truly, Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary

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