Stop Abusing Human Rights Activists and Union Leaders

Originally published on August 19, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh

Goal: End the violence against human rights defenders and union leaders supporting workers’ rights

The police and pro-government groups are attacking union leaders participating in a hunger strike in Bangladesh. Human rights activists attempting to give medical supplies to the striking workers have been beaten and arrested. The government of Bangladesh needs to investigate these attacks and charge the guilty officers of excessive force.

At least 1,200 workers have been on a hunger strike since July 28, 2014. The workers are protesting in Hossain Market and demanding three months of unpaid wages. Human rights activists and doctors visit the workers, providing medical treatment and saline drips.

On August 6, police and members of a pro-government workers’ union barricaded the market to prevent doctors and human rights defenders from helping the striking workers. Targeting activists and union leaders, the police and pro-government groups savagely beat several human rights defenders and arrested them. Instead of engaging in retaliatory violence, the workers continued their hunger strike.

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