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From Our Member Odhikar, Bangladesh – 11th Parliamentary Elections: Pre-Election Situation Report

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This report has been prepared based on an analysis of the overall pre-electoral situation leading up to the 11th National Parliament elections. Odhikar has been under severe state-level oppression and harassment1, due to its strong protests and campaigns against human rights violations and for publishing reports on the inactions of the Election Commission and on election-related violence. The organisation is also being attacked by State machinery for being an established and credible election observer. As part of the state repression, the Election Commission, on 6 November 2018, abruptly cancelled the registration of Odhikar as an election observer, with total disregard to election law and election observation rules. On 29 November, Odhikar filed a Writ Petition to the High Court Division of the Supreme Court. A bench of the High Court Division on 12 December issued a stay Order on the letter issued by the Election Commission regarding the cancellation of registration; and the Court also issued a Rule to the concerned authorities as to why the cancellation of Odhikar’s registration should not be declared illegal. The Appellate Division upheld the High Court Order on 18 December. Although Odhikar retained its right to observe polls through the Court, it is not able to observe elections due to a government barrier placed on receiving funds and lack of time for assigning constituency-wise observers. Under such circumstances, Odhikar has prepared this pre-election situation report based on reports sent by its field-level volunteer human rights defenders, information gathered from victims of human rights violations and their families and by reviewing relevant reports published in the National daily newspapers.


For a PDF version of this report, click here.