HAF Writes to NY Times Highlighting Human Rights Violations in Bangladesh

San Francisco, CA (April 13, 2012) - HAF submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the New York Times. The letter was not published.
To the Editor: 
"Success in a Land Known for Disasters” (April 9) erroneously asserts that “Buddhist and Hindu traditions are respected” in Bangladesh. Contrary to the article’s claims, minorities in this South Asian nation endure a multitude of challenges, including widespread discrimination, land encroachments, violent attacks, gang rapes, and restrictions on religious freedom. According to Odhikar, a Bangladeshi human rights group, there were nearly 1,200 incidents of violence directed against religious minorities (mostly Hindus) between 2008 and 2011.
Furthermore, Islamic extremism is not a “fringe phenomenon” in Bangladesh as the article claims, but rather a formidable force that has attained electoral success in the recent past. In 2001, for instance, a coalition of Islamist parties led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was elected to power. And during the BNP’s four year reign, there were reportedly 10,000 cases of attacks on minorities, while approximately 500,000 Hindus sought refuge in India.
Samir Kalra, Esq.
Director and Senior Fellow for Human Rights
HAF American Foundation