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BANGLADESH – Government objects Odhikar’s human rights programme without reason

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approved, now rejected: the Bangladesh government objected a human
rights programme by FORUM-ASIA member Odhikar, after approving it four
months earlier. The objection letter by the NGO Affairs Bureau reached
Odhikar's office on 31 August 2009, and it gave no reason for the

civil society organisations including FORUM-ASIA expressed their "deep
concerns" over the matter, addressing to the Prime Minister of
Bangladesh (To download, please click here [pdf]).
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), also a FORUM-ASIA member in the country,
issued a statement saying that knowing the reason is the right of the
project holders and general public's (To download, please click here [jpg]) .

project proposal "Human Rights Defenders Training and Advocacy
Programme in Bangladesh" was approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs
and Ministry of
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs by the NGO Affairs Bureau in
April this year. Odhikar originally submitted the proposal in November
last year.

programme aimed to empower human rights defenders in the country to
conduct advocacy on the ratification and implementation of the
Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). It was to
be founded by the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture
Victims in Denmark, as part of a project by the European Union.

In the 14 years
of Odhikar's activities in this work, this is the first time that a
project has been cancelled after approval.