Bangladesh: Information on the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council: Executive members, duties, function and role of the group and its relationship with the government (1999-2001)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||5 April 2002|
|Citation / Document Symbol||BGD37927.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bangladesh: Information on the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council: Executive members, duties, function and role of the group and its relationship with the government (1999-2001), 5 April 2002, BGD37927.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be1124.html [accessed 26 September 2018]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC), also known as the Bangladesh Hindu Bouddha Christian Oikya Parishad (BHBCOP), was established in 1988 (IND Oct. 2001). It is a member of the Human Rights International Alliance (HRIA 17 Jan. 2002), a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom that aims to better the community as per the United Nations Charter on Human Rights (ibid. 18 Jan. 2001).
An article in The People's Review stated that His Excellency Cyril Sikder, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Nepal, is one of the co-chairmen of the BHBCUC (9-15 Aug. 2001). This is supported by a 20 October 1999 article published in The Daily Star, which lists a "Siril Sikder" as one of the three presidents of this organization, along with Maj. Gen. (Ret.) C.R. Dutt and Bhandonta Bodhipal Mahathero, and also identifies Dr. Nim Chandra Bhoumik as the General Secretary of the BHBCUC.
The following information was provided by the president of the Montreal branch of the BHBCUC during a 21 December 2001 telephone interview.
The presidium of the BHBCUC in Bangladesh consists of three presidents, one from each of the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities. The Hindu representative is Maj. Gen. (Ret.) C.R. Dutt, Bhandonta Bodhipal Mahathero is the Buddhist representative, and Daniel Korraia now represents the Christian community.
The members of the executive committee generally attend meetings every three months, however a meeting can be called at any time. Following the 1 October 2001 elections in Bangladesh the executive committee was meeting every two weeks due to the increase in violence. A general meeting is held every year for members from all over Bangladesh, and a convention is held every three years, at which a new executive committee is chosen.
The BHBCUC is not a political but rather a human rights organization, which works for minority and religious rights in Bangladesh. The BHBCUC informs foreign agencies about the situation of minorities in Bangladesh. The role of the group is to advocate awareness on behalf of minorities, who often face job discrimination or discrimination on religious grounds. They organize protests and write letters to the Bangladeshi government, as well as to foreign governments, including the Canadian government. The council has not received a response to date from the current president of Bangladesh.
Some activists in Bangladesh face problems because of anti-government activities. The Detective Branch (DB) of the national police makes lists of journalists, minorities, and those opposed to the government, and monitors their activities.
At the present time members of the BHBCUC are not targeted by the government for their activities, but it is possible that they could be in the future.
The president stated that the BHBCUC has been very active in its letter-writing campaign since the 1 October 2001 elections due to the increase in rapes of Hindu women, killings, house burnings and lootings.
Names of people mentioned by various media sources as being associated with the BHBCUC include Basudev Dhar, Professor Lolit Mohon Nath, Srimat Shumangal Mahathero, Nirmal Chatterjee, Tapash Pal, Chandranath Poddar, Aloka Ghose, Sattendra Chandra Bhakta (Daily Star 9 Oct. 2001; The Independent 9 Oct. 2001), Nirmol Dey, Subrata Chowdhury, Porimol Chandra Guha, Dipen Chatterji, Porimol Dey, Proshanta Bhusan Barua (ibid. 10 June 1999) and Debabrata Chowdary (World Sindhi Congress 2 Sept. 1999).
A written request was sent to the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council office in Montreal, requesting further details such as the address of the BHBCUC headquarters in Dhaka, the locations of regional offices, the names of regional leaders and executive members, specific details of BHBCUC activities in Bangladesh and information on the Council's relationship with the Bangladeshi government and law enforcement agencies, however no response was received by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC), Montreal. 21 December 2001. Telephone interview with president.
The Daily Star [Dhaka]. 9 October 1999. Vol. 3, No. 749. "CA Blamed For Attack on Minority Community."
_____. 20 October 1999. Vol. 3, No. 57. "Bijoya Dashami Today."
_____. 10 June 1999. Vol. 2, No. 287. "BHBCUC Demands Repeal of 5th, 8th Amendments."
Human Rights International Alliance (HRIA). 17 January 2002. "Members and Affiliates."
_____. 18 January 2001. "Introduction: Information Sheet."
Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), Home Office, UK. October 2001. Bangladesh Assessment.
The Independent [Dhaka]. 9 October 2001. "BHBCOP For An End to Attack on Minorities."
The People's Review. 9-15 August 2001. "Bangladesh Is Keen to Boost Business Relations: HE Cyril Sikder."
World Sindhi Congress, Cardiff. 2 September 1999. "World Sindhi Congress Organizes an International Conference on Sindh in London – Proceedings and Resolutions."
Additional Sources Consulted
IND Country Assessments
International Association for Religious Freedom
US Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom 2001.
US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001.
Internet sites including:
Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities
Human Rights Watch