The Solidarity for Asian Peoples’ Advocacy (SAPA), a network of regional and national civil society organisations in the region, expresses its disappointment and frustration over the detention of Adilur Rahman Khan, the Secretary of our member-organization, Odhikar.

We cannot help but notice that his arrest and detention came after his organisation, Odhikar, released a report implicating the Bangladeshi security forces in the deaths of dozens of Islamist protesters in May of this year. This clearly shows that the action taken by the Bangladesh government is meant to instill fear among human rights defenders in the country. There is no way to interpret his arrest other than as an attempt to silence the government’s critics and stifle dissent.

We join the calls of international human rights organisations and other regional and national civil society groups in the region for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Khan as his arrest and continued incarceration has no basis at all. Odhikar and Mr. Khan only wanted the truth to come out when they released the report.

Inaction over the case of Mr. Khan will only add to the already tarnished image of Bangladesh in the international stage. If Sheikh Hasina wants peace and stability ahead of the national elections, she should release Mr. Khan and provide a safe environment for activists and human rights defenders who want to engage in the political debate in the country.

Mr. William Gois (Migrant Forum in Asia)
Ms. Dorothy Grace Guerrero (Focus on the Global South), 
Ms. Clark Militante (Focus on the Global South), SAPA

*Focus on the Global South is a proud member of the Solidarity for Peoples’ Advocacy Network