Security with citizen’s privacy, freedoms urged

Leaders of human rights groups at a public dialogue on Sunday demanded protection of citizens’ privacy, ensuring national security and existing institutional practices to uphold the human rights framework.They also demanded for enacting a new privacy and data protection laws to secure the classified data for state sovereignty.
The leaders made the demands at a public dialogue on ‘Challenges of Privacy and Security in Bangladesh: Perspective from Human Rights Defenders’ at the CIRDAP Auditorium in the city.
The function was organised jointly by VOICE in association with Law Life Culture, Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum; Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum, Campaign on Citizen Right to Information; Equity and Justice Working Group ( Equity BD) ; Online Knowledge Society, Sushashoner Jonno Procharavijan (SUPRO); School of Communications and Cultural Metaphysics.
Addressing the dialogue, eminent women leader Khushi Kabir said criminalisation of opinions expressed offline and online through social media or blogs, is not only a violation of freedom of expression and the right to privacy.  “It also represents a new pattern of persecution of any voice of cyber dissidents, as well as human rights defenders and whistleblowers,” she said.
Khushi Kabir, also the coordinator, Nijera Kori, said the violation of the constitutional right as well as privacy rights actually shirking the democratic space in to the society.
“We cannot only address our concern abstractly in moral, ethical, legal or juridical terms but must act on what concrete changes need to take place and simultaneously, emergency intervention to respond to the current crises (external & internal) which effect victims quality of life, livelihood and dignity,” she added.
Mahmudur Rahman Manna called upon the young generation for their very pro-active role in the information and communication sector but the same time he raised the concern we are losing the social values.
He expressed his concern about the systematic silence of the Government officials in this regard.
In his keynote paper, Rezaur Rahman Lenin, executive director of Law Life Culture said that the constitution of Bangladesh doesn’t categorically guarantee the right to privacy as a fundamental right.
“Since Article 43 limited in application and subjected to ‘reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of the security of the State, public order, public morality or public health’. Several other provisions –articles 11, 31 and 32 –can constructively be interpreted to extend the ambit of the right to privacy. On the other hand the Supreme Court of the country has not yet got any notable opportunity to offer such an interpretation,” he added.
The function was also addressed, among others, by Saiful Haque, Khairuzzaman Kamal, ED, BMSF, Prodip Kumar Roy, CEO, OKS, and Md. Kawsar Uddin, President, BIJF.
– Staff Reporter

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