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U.S. Department of State
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006
The government’s human rights record remained poor, and the government continued to commit numerous serious abuses. The following human rights problems were reported:
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
The law establishes Islam as the state religion and also stipulates the right, subject to law, public order, and morality, to practice the religion of one’s choice, and the government generally respected this right in practice. Although the government is secular, religion exerted a powerful influence on politics. Discrimination against members of religious minorities existed at both the governmental and societal level, and religious minorities were disadvantaged in practice in such areas as access to government jobs, political office, and access to justice.
Religious organizations are not required to register with the government, but the government requires all NGOs, including religious organizations, to register with the NGO Affairs Bureau if they receive foreign funds for social development projects. The government has the legal ability to cancel the registration of an NGO or to take other actions such as dissolving the executive committee of the NGO, freezing its bank accounts, or canceling projects; however, the government rarely used such powers and did not affect NGOs with religious affiliations.
Discrimination against Ahmadiyas continued during the year. The government ban on the publishing of Ahmadiya literature continued to be stayed by the high court, and the government did not appeal the stay to the appellate court, effectively allowing Ahmadiyas, for the time being, to publish their materials. At times police allowed, and even assisted, demonstrators in removing signs referring to Ahmadiya mosques as mosques. For example on April 17, approximately 15 thousand activists belonging to the International Khatme Nabuat Movement (INKMB) marched on an Ahmadiya mosque in Sathkira in the southwestern part of the country, and attempted to remove signs referring to the Ahmadiya place of worship as a mosque. Members of the Ahmadiya community tried to stop the group, but marchers began throwing stones. Police attempted to intervene, but instead of dissuading the activists, they assisted members of the INKMB in taking down and replacing the Ahmadiya sign.
Societal Abuses and Discrimination
Discrimination against Ahmadiyas, Hindus, and Christians occurred during the year. On June 22, unknown actors set ablaze an Ahmadiya mosque in Nator, and two days later, unknown actors detonated several bombs at an Ahmadiya mosque in Brahmanbaria, and four bombs at an Ahmadiya mosque in Bhadugarh in the Branmanbaria area. At year’s end eight persons were arrested in connection with the attacks.
On December 22, after the government declined to meet the demands of the INKMB to label Ahmadiyas as non-Mulsims, the IKNMB and a splinter organization marched to the Ahmadiya complex in Dhaka and attempted to hang a sign that stated that the Ahmadiya mosque was not an actual mosque. The police stopped the IKNMB activists and their affiliates from proceeding and in the clashes that ensued between the 2 groups, 50 demonstrators and 7 police were wounded.
Religious minorities were disadvantaged in access to government jobs and political office. Selection boards for government services often lacked minority group representation.
For a more detailed discussion, see the 2005 International Religious Freedom Report.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Disability, Language, or Social Status
The law prohibits discrimination; however, the government did not strongly enforce laws aimed at eliminating discrimination. Women, children, minority groups, and persons with disabilities often confronted social and economic disadvantages.