Assaut contre les défenseurs des droits de l’Homme au Bangladesh et en Malaisie

Le rôle des ONG est fondamental. Il l’est en France où elles ont souvent dû remplacer des institutions défaillantes dans la défense des citoyens contre les scandales sanitaires, humanitaires, judiciaires, de corruption… Ce rôle est encore plus fondamental dans des pays qui ne disposent pas de tous les contre-pouvoirs et garde-fous comme nos États de droit. L’ONU a reconnu l’apport essentiel des ONG en leur permettant de s’exprimer en son sein (quoique cela soit menacé par les coups de boutoir des États) et en adoptant une Déclaration pour protéger les défenseurs des droits de l’Homme en 1998 (1).

Le travail des ONG et des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme n’en reste pas moins dangereux. En quelques jours seulement, on a assisté à des attaques contre les ONG en Asie, plus particulièrement en Malaisie et au Bangladesh.

En Malaisie, Cynthia Gabriel, membre du secrétariat de l’ONG Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), qui fut, il y a quelques années, vice-présidente de la Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), est actuellement victime de harcèlement judiciaire : Elle a dû se rendre au poste de police de Petaling Jaya, à 15h00, le 7 août dernier, pour un interrogatoire sur la base de la Loi sur la Sédition de 1948. La raison ? SUARAM a enquêté et dénoncé la corruption liée à l’achat par la Malaisie de sous-marins Scorpène à la France. L’ONG a d’ailleurs porté devant les tribunaux français cette affaire qui aurait déjà mené à une mort d’homme (en l’occurrence le décès d’une femme, interprète lors des négociations, assassinée en 2006 et dont le corps a été truffé d’explosifs et incendié… — voir, par exemple, « L'affaire des sous-marins malaisiens relancée », Le Parisien, 29 mars 2012, ou plus détaillé : « L'autre affaire de sous-marins », Le Monde, 3 juillet 2012 (2)).

L’interrogatoire fait suite à l’organisation par SUARAM d’un dîner pour lever des fonds de soutien à son action sur l’affaire des Scorpène (19 juillet 2013). Les questions policières dont a été assaillie Cynthia Gabriel n’ont évidemment pas porté sur une quelconque sédition mais plutôt sur SUARAM, son travail en général, sa ligne de conduite et ses prises de position. Bref, il s’agissait pour les autorités malaises de mieux connaître l’ONG et surtout de l’intimider en avec des menaces de poursuites pour sédition et faire cesser son travail de dénonciation de la corruption (cette méthode est assez répandue, par exemple, dans un autre contexte, au Vietnam : « Trois ONG internationales protestent contre le harcèlement judiciaire subi par le chef de la Jeunesse bouddhiste Le Cong Cau »).

Au Bangladesh, le 10 août dernier, c’est Adilur Rahman Khan, de l’ONG Odhikar, qui, de retour chez lui avec sa famille, a été arrêté par huit ou neuf agents en civil qui ont prétendu être de la Detective Branch of Police, mais qui n’ont présenté aucun mandat d’arrêt ni n’ont donné d’information à la famille sur les raisons de l’arrestation ou sur le lieu de la détention. Lorsque dans la nuit, les avocats de M. Rahman Khan se sont présentés à la police, celle-ci a affirmé n’avoir rien sur son cas et a donc refusé de les recevoir. A 3h00 du matin, cette nuit du 10 au 11 août, l’épouse d’Adilur Rahman Khan a voulu porter plainte, mais là encore, la police a refusé. Cette fois, la raison en était qu’il s’agissait d’un « cas sensible »

Qu’a donc fait Adilur Rahman Khan pour subir un tel traitement ? Dans l’après-midi du 11 août, on apprenait enfin qu’il avait été mené devant le juge pour être informé des charges à son encontre. Cela se résume à peu près à cela : Publication de fausses informations, violation de la loi et de l’ordre, soupçon raisonnable de lien direct ou indirect avec d’autres délits connus.

 Le nœud du problème réside en fait dans le « faux rapport » (dixit les autorités bangladaises) concernant la répression contre un rassemblement de l’organisation islamiste Hefazat-e Islam les 5 et 6 mai 2013. Odhikar y a comptabilisé 61 morts, a refusé de livrer ses sources aux autorités, en particulier l’identité des tués afin de protéger les familles de représailles et déclaré que les noms des victimes ne seraient fournies qu’à une commission indépendante et impartiale (qu’Odhikar appelle à constituer).

Nonobstant l’antipathie qu’on puisse avoir pour le mouvement islamiste à l’origine de l’affaire, l’arrestation d’Adilur Rahman Khan est clairement une attaque contre les défenseurs des droits de l’Homme, tant sur la forme que sur le fond. Les autorités du Bangladesh se justifient en l’accusant d’avoir des activités ou des motivations « politiques »   , mais cela est l’argument de la plupart des États qui, pris en flagrant délit de violations des droits humains, s’attaquent à la personne des donneurs d’alerte plutôt qu’à la réparation des violations en question.

L’arrestation d’Adilur Rahman Khan va être portée devant le Groupe de travail sur la détention arbitraire de l’ONU.

 

Pour plus de détails, on pourra se référer à l’excellent travail de l’Observatoire pour la protection des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, programme conjoint de l’OMCT et de la FIDH (en anglais seulement pour ces cas) : (Nous reproduisons également ci-dessous ces deux appels de l'Observatoire)

- Affaire Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh) : Bangladesh: Odhikar Secretary and member of OMCT General Assembly Adilur Rahman Khan placed under remand for five days

(On pourra aussi signer la petition en sa faveur ici)

- Affaire Cynthia Gabriel (Malaisie) : Malaysia: Harassment against Ms. Cynthia Gabriel, SUARAM Secretariat Member

 

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(1) Déclaration sur le droit et la responsabilité des individus, groupes et organes de la société de promouvoir et protéger les droits de l'homme et les libertés fondamentales universellement reconnus (réf. A/RES/53/144, 8 mars 1999)

(2) L’article du Monde n’est pas en libre accès, on peut y accéder ici soit en étant déjà abonné, soit en l’achetant.

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BANGLADESH:

Bangladesh: Odhikar Secretary and member of OMCT General Assembly Adilur Rahman Khan placed under remand for five days

New information
BGD 001 / 0813 / OBS 074.1
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Bangladesh
August 11, 2013

 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources that Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of the human rights non-governmental organisation Odhikar, a member of OMCT General Assembly and Executive Committee Member of Forum Asia (1), was placed under remand for five days.

According to the information received, on August 11, 2013, Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan was brought before the Metropolitan Magistrate Court, where Judge Amit Kumar Dey placed him on a five-day remand for interrogation in connection with publishing a “false report” on casualties during a crackdown on a rally by the Islamist organisation Hefazat-e Islam on May 5-6, 2013 (See background information), after hearing a petition from police seeking a ten-day remand.

The Observatory reiterates its deepest concern about Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan's arbitrary detention, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his peaceful human rights activities, and calls upon the authorities in Bangladesh to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity as well as to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Background information:

On August 10, 2013, at 10.20 pm, Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan was arrested by eight or nine men in plain clothes who said they were of the Detective Branch of Police (DB) as he was returning at his Gulshan residence in Dhaka (2) with his family. The men, who brought a white microbus apparently belonging to the United Commercial Bank and a blue and silver coloured mitsubishi pajero, asked Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan to follow them. They did not present any warrant of arrest and did not inform neither his family nor Mr. Rahman Khan why they were arresting him and where they were taking him.

On August 11, 2013, at 2:00 am, Odhikar defenders went to the Gulshan police, where the police present denied having any case against Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and claimed that they learnt of his arrest from the media. Odhikar defenders also went to the DB office at 12:30 am on August 11, where the sentries denied them entry.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police subsequently confirmed the arrest to the media, adding that Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan has been arrested under the Information and Communication Technology Act. The arrest was allegedly made on the basis of a general diary filed by the police with Gulshan police station, in relation to the fact-finding report issued by Odhikar about the killing of 61 people during an operation carried out on May 5-6, 2013 by law enforcement agencies against Hifazat-e Islam activists at the Dhaka’s downtown Motijheel area.

After Odhikar released on June 10, 2013 its fact-finding report on the human rights violations perpetrated at the Hefazot rally in Motijheel on May 5-6, 2013, the Information Ministry sent a letter to Odhikar on July 10, 2013 asking for the names, family names and addresses of the 61 deceased people. In its reply letter sent to the Information Ministry on July 17, 2013, and concerned for the security of victims' families, Odhikar requested those concerned to form an independent impartial commission headed by a retired judge, where Odhikar is willing to submit the names of the 61 victims killed.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Bangladesh, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and of all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;

ii. Release Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan and all human rights defenders in Bangladesh;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

  • its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as
  • its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bangladesh.

Addresses:

  • Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, Gona Bhaban, Old Sangsad Bhaban, Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Fax: +880 2 8113243, Email: info@pmo.gov.bd
  • Mr. Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, Minister for Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat Building 4, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Email: mkalamgir@yahoo.com; minister@mha.gov.bd;
  • Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Email: info@minlaw.gov.bd
  • Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Information, Building # 4 (8th floor), Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh. E-mail: minister@moi.gov.bd
  • Mr. Hasan Mahmud Khandaker, Inspector General of Police, Police Headquarters, Phoenix Road, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh, Email : ig@police.gov.bd
  • H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, 65 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 46 16, E-mail: mission.bangladesh@ties.itu.int
  • Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, 29-31 rue J. Jordaens, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 646 59 98; Email: bdootbrussels@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Bangladesh in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Bangladesh.

 ***

Geneva-Paris, August 11, 2013

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
  • Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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MALAISIE

Malaysia: Harassment against Ms. Cynthia Gabriel, SUARAM Secretariat Member

MYS 002 / 0813 / OBS 075
Judicial harassment
Malaysia
August 13, 2013

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) about the harassment against Ms. Cynthia Gabriel, SUARAM Secretariat Member, allegedly in retaliation for SUARAM’s role in exposing a corruption case involving the Malaysian Government and related to the Scorpene submarine scandal, involving at least RM 500 million in suspected kickbacks.

According to the information received, on August 7, 2013, at 3 pm, Ms. Cynthia Gabriel went to IPD Petaling Jaya police station to be investigated under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948. The investigation took place after SUARAM was informed that a police report was lodged against the organisation in relation to a fundraising dinner it organised on July 19, 2013 in order to raise funds for the Scorpene case, which is pursued by SUARAM before a French court.

During the investigation of Ms. Cynthia Gabriel, the Investigating Officer did not share or detail the content of the police report that was reportedly brought against SUARAM in regards to the Scorpene dinner. The questions focused on SUARAM and its work generally, including its policies and positions, and paralleled the questions that were asked last year when SUARAM faced investigations from the Company Commission of Malaysia (CCM), the Registrar of Society (RoS) and the police from July 2012 to March 2013. The intention of these investigations was also to harass and intimidate SUARAM for its work on the Scorpene case; the RoS withdrew all pending notices against SUARAM in March 2013 (1)

The Observatory condemns the ongoing harassment of SUARAM members and calls on the Malaysian authorities to put an end immediately to the judicial harassment against Ms. Cynthia Gabriel, all SUARAM members as well as againstall human rights defenders and organisations operating in the country.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Malaysia, urging them to:

i. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at judicial level - against Ms. Cynthia Gabriel and all members of SUARAM, as well as against all other human rights defenders in Malaysia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

ii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

  • its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as
  • its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

iii. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Malaysia.

Addresses:

  • Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia, Main Block, Perdana Putra Building, Federal Government Administrative Centre, 62502 Putrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Fax: + 60 3 8888 3444, Email: ppm@pmo.gov.my
  • Mr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62546 Putrajaya, Malaysia. Fax: +60 3 8889 1613 /8889 1610, Email: webmaster@moha.gov.my
  • Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Tingkat 11, Menara TH Perdana, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Fax: +60 3 2612 5620; Email: humanrights@suhakam.org.my; hasmyagam@suhakam.org.my
  • H.E. Mr. Mazlan Muhammad, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations in Geneva, International Centre Cointrin (ICC), Bloc H (1st floor), Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 710 75 01. Email: malgeneva@kln.gov.my
  • Embassy of Malaysia in Brussels, 414 A avenue de Tervueren, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 50 49. Email: malbrussels@kln.gov.my

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Malaysia in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Malaysia.

***

Geneva-Paris, August 13, 2013

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

  • · Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
  • · Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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