We assembled jurists, lawyers and legal academics from throughout Asia gathered in Hong Kong on 17-21 November 2008 for the Fourth Regional Consultation on an Asian Charter for the Rule of Law call for the following steps to address the dire state of the rule of law and human rights in Bangladesh:
1. Establishing the independence of the judiciary, by ensuring full financial power to the chief justice along with administrative power.
2. Curtailing the exclusive power of the police in respect to holding inquiries into cases and the abusive power exercised as a consequence, and ensuring the accountability of police personnel.
3. Holding of preliminary hearings on the credibility of police reports prior to trial in order to avoid false accusations and fabrication of charges.
4. Ending of abuse of police power exercised under Sections 54 and 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in light of the recommendations passed by a Division Bench of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in the case of BLAST and Other NGOs versus Bangladesh (reported in 55 DLR 363).
5. Repealing of all ordinances, regulations, proclamations and rules promulgated by the government, which are opposed and derogatory to the provisions of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
6. Lifting of the state of emergency with immediate effect, for the purpose of holding a transparent and fair election and ensuring a transition to democracy.
7. Repealing of indemnity provisions of Article 46 of the Constitution of Bangladesh.
8. Amending of the procedure of criminal investigation to allow for investigation by an impartial authority other than the police.
9. Establishing of a separate and independent prosecution institution under control of the Supreme Judicial Council to make effective the system for administration of justice.
10. Immediate releasing of persons illegally arrested, arbitrarily detained and charged in fabricated cases during the state of emergency.
11. Prosecuting of all perpetrators of extrajudicial killings and torture.
12. Stopping of harassment of human rights defenders and journalists through the filing of fabricated charges against them, release of such persons from charges and giving of adequate protection and compensation.
13. Giving of equal opportunity to all lawyers irrespective of seniority in the hearing of the cases by the High Court Division and Appellate Division.
Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid (retd.), Supreme Court of Pakistan
Dr. Chandrasekharan Pillai, Dean, Kochi, University of Science & Technology and Director Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, India
Mr. S. Ashiq Raza, High Court Advocate, Pakistan
Mr. Chung Mi Hwa, Lawyer, Former Vice President, Lawyers’ Association for a Democratic Society, Rep. of Korea
Mr. M. Shamsul Haque, Advocate, Supreme Court, Bangladesh
Ms. Phromlak Sakpichaimongkol, Lawyer, Lawyers Council of Thailand
Mr. Jijo Paul, High Court Advocate, India
Mr. Asep Rahmat Fajal, Director, Indonesian Legal Roundtable
Mr. Rishikesh Wagle, Lawyer, Nepal
Mr. Basil Fernando, Director, Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong & Attorney-at-Law, Sri Lanka
Mr. Bijo Francis, Progamme Officer, South Asia Desk, Asian Human Rights Commission & Lawyer, India
Ms. Carla Ferstman, Director, Redress, UK