Human rights activists have said that they are having to work in an atmosphere of fear in the country.
During a rights conference, organised by the Human Rights Support Society (HRSS) yesterday, they also said, there was a time, they did not have to worry about working on human rights violation issues. But, now they do not have the courage to work on issues including the cases of disappearances.
The theme of HRSS' 8th human rights conference, held at the auditorium of Biswa Sahitya Kendra in the capital was "No more silence in disappearance-murder-torture, we will defeat fear with protesting voices".
"We live in such a society, where we could not talk much about Munia's death. Whether it was murder, suicide or provoked killing, we as a society did not talk about it due to various reasons. It was Muniya today, it can be me tomorrow or someone else the next day," said Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).
"When the issue of rights becomes everyone's responsibility, it is easier to realise the rights," she added.
"Although people are the source of all power according to the constitution, it is not in practice at all. It has come to the point where they can do whatever they feel like," said Rizwana Hasan.
In response to a question, Rizwana Hasan said, "While the civil society kept talking, 'Aynaghar' surfaced. As the civil society was supposed to speak up, in many places we too have failed, in many places the system has failed us. But we do have to speak up."
Human rights activist Hamida Hussain said the human rights movement should recognise all kinds of diversity and collectively deal with human rights violations.
Human rights activist Noor Khan, chief advisor of HRSS said, "Human rights activists or a section of the civil society should have been vocal about these issues [cases of disappearances], but they are not talking about it because of their party point of view. Protests are not taking place from the places where protests used to take place - cultural workers or teachers."
Human rights activists said that democracy and human rights are closely related. One is not possible without the other. Therefore, to establish human rights, voting rights must be established first.
They also pointed out that today people are being harassed in various ways by the Digital Security Act.
Human rights activist Noor Khan believes the youth should move forward.
"In order to establish justice, to establish humanity and to bring morality back to politics, we must move forward by conquering fear," he said.
Sara Hossain, executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) alleged that those who are considered children in the eyes of the law, are now being sued under the Digital Security Act.
Shahzada Al Amin, the chairman of HRSS presided over the conference where Executive Director Ijazul Islam and Research and Publication Officer Imamul Hossain spoke among others.