As we begin the new year
2017 has been a year of great ups and downs. It has been a year where we have seen significant improvements in the economic sector in particular, as evident from our high GDP growth rate and per capita income, as well as the ICT sector, which is set to grow even faster in future.
Bangladesh also had to witness great tragedies in the past year. First, there were the floods that caused huge sufferings for ordinary citizens. Then came the enormous influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar fleeing horrific atrocities in their homeland. In response, Bangladesh hosted the Rohingyas and did as much as possible to shelter these oppressed people in what can only be described as a laudable humanitarian initiative.
What has been disappointing, however, is the deterioration of human rights condition within Bangladesh at the same time. Violence and cruelty against women and children have risen significantly. Cases of enforced and mysterious disappearances of people from all walks of life continue to mystify the populace and instil in them a sense of fear. Space for dissent has shrunk considerably and people's right to free speech and thought has deteriorated at an alarming rate. All these realities should give us something to think about going forward.
With the arrival of 2018, although it may seem like a wish-list, we hope that the state and all those it encompasses will finally come to realise the importance of valuing the human rights of all individuals in society. With that in mind, we hope in the New Year, that cases of disappearances and other human rights violations will come to disappear altogether.
The Daily Star, January 1, 2018
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