HRCP condemns the Bangladeshi Government’s act of suppressing freedom of expression

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan vehemently condemns the act of banning the photo exhibition of extrajudicial killings in Dhaka called “Crossfire”. This is a step that will further stifle the citizens’ right to freedom of expression and it must, hence, be reversed.

On the Monday, 22nd March 2010, Police closed down the Drik Picture Library where the exhibition was to open in a few hours and officers have been stationed at the gates since to put a stop to an exhibition that the state says will “create anarchy”. The event was to feature Shahid Alum’s photographs based on Drik’s case studies about the alleged extra-judicial killings by the Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh. The police stated that the reason behind closure was the lack of an official permission to hold the exhibition.

Ever since the establishment of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in 2004, there have been more than hundreds of extra-judicial killings. Despite government’s claims of taking strict action against such despicable violation of human rights, no legal action has been taken against those who are responsible.

HRCP requests the Government of Bangladesh to acknowledge RAB’s involvement in these crimes and to address the wrongs it has committed against Bangladesh’s citizens. The act of closing down the exhibition is in the spirit of curbing public debate and opinion regarding the issue and should not be tolerated at all.

The government of Bangladesh is respectfully urged to lift the ban and exhibit a commitment to people’s right to freedom of expression.

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