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Messages - abduarif

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Law / Re: Hindu women's Right to Adoption
« on: July 31, 2015, 08:12:28 PM »
Section 8 equals to 8). Interesting!

Law / Re: Ten most incriminating types of Evidence
« on: July 31, 2015, 08:10:42 PM »
Informative post! Thanks.

Abdullah Al Arif, Md Ershadul Karim

The regional organization South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established on December 8, 1985.There were initially seven member states that are mainly located in South Asia, i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In April 2007, at the Association's 14th summit, Afghanistan became its eighth member. The Headquarter of SAARC is in Kathmandu, Nepal. His Excellency Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa of Bhutan is the present Secretary General of the organization (From March 1, 2014 to present).
In the late 1970's, the then Presidentof Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries and with this end in view, he wrote communicated with the heads of governments of South Asian countries. The proposal was accepted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a meeting held in Colombo in 1981. In August 1983, the leaders adopted the Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation at a meeting which was held in New Delhi, India.
During the next two years the South Asian nations committed themselves to form this South Asian alliance and the process culminated in the First SAARC Summit held on 7-8 December, 1985 in Dhaka where the Heads of State or Government of the initial seven countries adopted the Charter establishing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

·        Afghanistan
·        Bangladesh
·        Bhutan
·        India
·        Maldives
·        Nepal
·        Pakistan
·        Sri Lanka

Objectives of SAARC
According to Article I of the SAARC Charter, the Association has the following objectives:
·        To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life.
·        To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potential.
·        To promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia.
·        To contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciations of one another problem.
·        To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
·        To strengthen cooperation with other developing countries.
·        To strengthen cooperation among themselves in International forums on matters of common interest.
·        To cooperate with International and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.
SAARC’s Principles
According to Article II of the SAARC Charter, the Association has the following principles:
·        Cooperation within the framework of the ASSOCIATION shall be based on respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and mutual benefit.
·        Such cooperation shall not be a substitute for bilateral and multilateral cooperation but shall complement them.
·        Such cooperation shall not be inconsistent with bilateral and multilateral obligations.

For the full text of the research guide on SAARC, click:

Law / Bangladesh’s Very Public Toilet Crisis
« on: June 04, 2015, 09:05:22 AM »

By Tahmima Anam

PEOPLE trapped in Dhaka’s notoriously gridlocked traffic have developed various coping strategies. Some take naps. Others work or catch up on social media.

My mother likes to text me to complain about the traffic. “Still stuck in Mohakhali,” she writes.

“Two hours from Gulshan to Banani!”

But one thing binds all commuters together: Make sure you use the toilet before you set off, because there won’t be anywhere to go en route.

If I could, I would write a book called “Where to Pee in Bangladesh.” It would be a useful but very short book. It would tell you, for instance, that in our capital city, there are 67 public toilets for over 15 million residents. And of those 67, many have no running water or electricity. According to a 2011 study, only five are fully functional.

The Dhaka City Corporation, which built new public toilets as part of a 2005 sanitation program, leased them to private contractors because it wanted to outsource their maintenance. But this system has not worked because the contractors often use the buildings for selling drinking water or washing cars. Sometimes, the space is rented out for people to sleep in. Some offered no sanitary facilities whatsoever.

Although the lack of public toilets in Dhaka affects both sexes, men have the distinct advantage of being able to take to the streets. They can be found squatting at roadsides, in alleyways, by railroad tracks or over ditches. When it rains, you can see a line of umbrellas next to rows of men as they crouch over a drain. And walls everywhere are treated as urinals.

The ubiquitous signs in Bengali that say “Do Not Urinate Here” are ignored. Moves to impose fines for public urination have come to nothing.

The anthropologist Mary Douglas famously defined dirt as “matter out of place”: What we consider polluted is merely a question of context. Now the Ministry of Religious Affairs has found a way to tackle the problem — by changing the context.

Its technique is to pepper the walls with Arabic script. Because, the logic runs, people won’t pee on what they consider holy.

The campaign, devised by the advertising agency Grey, features a video called “Language Matters.” It shows people painting over signs in Bengali and replacing them with Arabic. Almost no one knows what the words mean because few Bangladeshis understand Arabic. A patronizing voice-over explains, “Arabic is the sacred language of the people.”

The video shows men approaching the freshly painted walls, noticing the Arabic signage and slipping away guiltily. The men are shamed into feeling that if they were to urinate there, they would be committing an unholy act. The minister for Religious Affairs has urged men to use public toilets in the nearest mosque. I suppose he thinks he’s doing society two favors: getting men to stop urinating on the streets and getting more of them to go to mosques.

This may seem a reasonable form of behavior modification, a classic “nudge.” But the approach is deeply insensitive, because in Bangladesh, language has long been a matter of national identity.

The very seeds of our independence movement were sown when, in 1948, the government of Pakistan declared Urdu, not Bengali, the official language of East Pakistan, as Bangladesh was then known. And during the 1971 war of independence, faith and language were pitted against each other in the struggle over nationhood: The Pakistani Army would randomly stop people and ask whether they were Muslim or Bengali — as though to speak Bengali precluded being a true believer.

So the writing on the wall today contains an echo of that old conflict. It tells Bangladeshi citizens that it is acceptable to urinate on their own language, but not on Arabic. At a moment when the shadow of Islamic fundamentalism looms large, the subtext of the signage is to declare the conservative religious forces triumphant in this symbolic struggle over language.

Predictably, the ministry has been heavily censured. Critics argue that the government should spend its money on building toilets, not painting signs. And people comment sardonically that the walls of Dhaka may be covered in Arabic, but we still have nowhere to pee.

It is estimated that by 2025, Dhaka will be home to 20 million people. The government has a duty to ensure that these urban citizens — garment factory workers, rickshaw drivers, shopkeepers, truckers; in short, the people who make our city work — have access to the basic facilities they need to lead a dignified life. Researchers estimate that up to 5.5 million urban poor workers are outdoors in the city for between five and eight hours a day.

Even if the city corporation built more toilets, though, it would not begin to address the real sanitation crisis in Bangladesh: the near-total lack of access for women. In Dhaka, men can commit this private act of urinating with impunity in almost any public space. And when they do so, they are expressing their absolute freedom to do as they please — on streets where women’s basic safety is not guaranteed.

The Arabic lettering campaign focuses entirely on getting men to do their business elsewhere. Overlooked is that women can’t use the streets at all, reinforcing the social norm that public space is controlled by men and off limits to women. The invisibility of women’s needs is all too apparent in the minister’s proposal, for women are effectively barred from most mosques.

Any campaign to address the public nuisance of men urinating on the streets should also tackle the absence of facilities for women. Otherwise, we are simply saying that our streets belong to men, and our walls to Arabic.


Law / Preventing street harassment
« on: June 02, 2015, 10:54:06 AM »
Kh. Kohinur Akter

Generally street harassment means and includes unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place and are directed at them because of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation. 

Street harassment, like other forms of sexual harassment, can induce a variety negative mental health effects on victims. In research it is found that that exposure to harassment from strangers is an important factor in women's perceptions of their safety in public. Harassment from a stranger, as opposed to an acquaintance, is more likely to induce fear of sexual victimization. Another study published in 2010 reported that the experience of street harassment is directly related to a greater preoccupation with physical appearance and body shame, and is indirectly related to heightened fears of rape. Stranger harassment reduces feelings of safety while walking alone at night, using public transportation, walking alone in a parking garage, and while home alone at night.

Addressing the problem the crime prevention strategies can be applied to intervene. Crime prevention strategies attempt to reduce and deter crime and criminals. It is applied specifically to efforts made by governments to reduce crime, enforce the law, and maintain criminal justice. Criminologists have been at the forefront of analysing what work to prevent crime. Prestigious commissions and research bodies, such as the World Health Organization, United Nations have analysed their and others' research on what lowers rates of interpersonal crime.

Crime prevention strategies includes four major prevention strategies-

1. Developmental prevention refers to interventions designed to prevent the development of criminal potential in individuals, especially those targeting risk and protective factors discovered in studies of human development.

2. Situational prevention refers to interventions designed to prevent the occurrence of crimes by reducing opportunities and increasing the risk and difficulty of offending.

3. Community prevention refers to interventions designed to change the social conditions and institutions (e.g., families, peers, social norms) that influence offending in residential communities.

4. Criminal justice prevention refers to traditional deterrent, incapacitative, and rehabilitative strategies operated by law enforcement and criminal justice system agencies.

To understand how to apply those strategies, risk factors must be identified first. In Bangladesh, the major risk factors for street harassment are social format, unimproved street lighting, inadequate use of technology (less cctv monitoring), gender role of the society, violence-supportive attitude and cultural norms of the society, culture of insecurity, economic inequality, drug abuse, addiction to pornography, religious fundamentalism, inadequate and less enforcement of laws, lethargic role of police, less public awareness programs, overall less public-safety measures in the streets.

Formation of attitude towards such violence is a major concern here. People who support traditional gender-roles are more likely to express violence supportive attitude. In everyday social and family relations, violence is there. So it becomes normal to the children raising in such social format. Moreover, children who watch violence in family are also prone to violence to solve conflicts. From early childhood, boys get better treatment in families that give them a view of superior role-playing. Peer influences, exposure to pornography, portraying women in narrow sexualized ways are also responsible to form such attitude.

So saying about the prevention strategies firstly, developmental prevention can be done by incorporating educational programs in schools on gender-role, egalitarianism of gender, culture of tolerance, raising empathy for female victims, emphasizing the perceived consequence of such violence (getting caught, negative response from family and peers). Anti- violence education is applicable to people of all ages but the content and format of any educational programs should vary at different stages of human development. The infants and pre-school children, school-age children, adolescent and adults are needed to be targeted for such education.

Secondly, situational prevention can be done by designing the city establishment and by taking security measures like improved lighting, using cctv camera in public space and transport, adopting city safety plan, providing training and tips to women to avoid high-risk situation (carrying pepper spray or taking picture or video  by using cell-phone), using self-defense technique and fight back, instant protest, react and seek help from other stand- bys, reporting to the nearest police station etc.

Thirdly, community prevention can be done by ensuring safety of women in the community by watching, monitoring and prevention while street harassment happening in the community. Local NGO's, small community female groups can participate here. Adopting rape prevention program in locality or community can be an example of such prevention that already adopted by some cities.

Lastly, criminal justice prevention can be done by enforcement of laws, speedy disposal of cases and exemplary punishment by the judiciary, separate female police station for anti-violence against women, providing attention and better treatment to victims and witnesses, enforcement of rights as victim.

To note, punishments for street harassment are there under section 354 and 509 of the penal code 1860. But it is a matter to re-think that whether the punishments are adequate according to the gravity of the crime.

The writer is Lecturer of Law, Bangladesh Open University.


তথ্যবহুল ও দরকারি লেখা। ধন্যবাদ শেয়ার করার জন্য।

অত্যন্ত সময়োপযোগী একটি লেখা। বস্তুতঃ আমাদের সমাজ ব্যবস্থার উৎকর্ষ সাধিত হয় জ্ঞানের দ্বারা আর শিক্ষক হচ্ছেন সেই জ্ঞানের সৃষ্টি, বিকাশ ও বিতরনের প্রধান চালিকা শক্তি। একটি সমাজের মূল্যায়ন তাই করা হয় সেই সমাজ শিক্ষকদের সাথে কি আচরন করে তার ভিত্তিতে।

আমাদের সমাজের আজকের এই অবস্থার কারন অনুসন্ধানে বেশি গবেষণার দরকার নেই।

On May 25,160 law students representing eight universities launched a Student Legal Aid Forum in an event held at the University of Dhaka. In accordance with Section 7(g) of the Legal Aid Services Act, as Amended, the Forum is the first student-led initiative designed to increase legal literacy and citizen access to quality free legal aid services in collaboration with the National Legal Aid Services Organization (NLASO). Forum members committed to increase the visibility of government legal aid, raise awareness among marginalized groups, and facilitate links between law students and justice sector institutions. To date, the Forum has mobilized more than 100 members through its Facebook group and is followed by 388 individuals.
The formal launch served to build a bridge between students, university leadership, and NLASO and secure their commitment to collaborate. Syed Aminul Islam, Supreme Court of Bangladesh and former NLASO Director, congratulated students that have “taken the initiative to be part of positive change, serve the underprivileged, and promote access to justice for all citizens.” Malik Abdullah Al-Amin, current NLASO Director, encouraged “Forum members to continue to demand more, raise your voice, strengthen your network, and, most importantly, participate in any activities that have a positive change in the life of people.” Dr. Taslima Mansoor, Dhaka University Law Faculty Dean, praised the initiative and encouraged coordination with other universities. Dr. Borhan Uddin Khan, Dhaka University Law Department Chairman, and Harold D. Dampier, Jr., USAID’s Justice for All Chief of Party, also addressed participants.
Student participants received pocket guides on the Legal Aid Services Act as well as pamphlets and brochures on the Forum’s objectives and internship opportunities. In coming weeks, the Forum will initiate activities designed to increase the visibility of government legal aid, raise public awareness, and build practical skills among law students. Planned activities include seminars on legal aid services and legal rights, visits to courts and District Legal Aid Offices, research and studies on legal aid and contemporary issues affecting legal outcomes for marginalized groups.
The Student Legal Aid Forum’s Facebook group is open to the public and accessible at:


Law / A Critical Review on ‘The Idea of Justice’ by Amartya Sen
« on: May 31, 2015, 11:25:48 PM »

By Tashmia Sabera

Globally respected and acclaimed Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen wrote on justice issues in his remarkable theoretical classic The Idea of Justice (Harvard University Press, 2009) and this work is now widely acknowledged to have had an immense significance in the development of contemporary jurisprudence. By taking considerable help from Indian philosophical ideas, this venerable professor of economics contributes to the justice theory and assertively challenges western hegemony in the development of legal philosophy. Idea of Justice, therefore, deserves a critical study.

The dominant view of the contemporary jurisprudence on justice is much influenced by a thought presented by famous political thinker John Rawls (1921-2002). In his view, justice or fairness can be achieved by letting people choose their conception of justice after placing them behind a hypothetical veil where they have no idea about their self-identities in the world and in that situation all would opt for equality. This is how Rawls prescribes to remove biasness with which Sen agrees. However, Sen departs from Rawls’s ideas in several aspects. One of the major departures is that unlike Rawls, Sen’s idea of justice refrains from revealing how a perfectly just society can be made; rather looks to remove manifest injustice prevailing in the society.

The theory claims that human reason can differentiate between justice and injustice through a realization process. Democracy, where public reasoning plays the central role is essential for this realization process. Sen adopts the idea of ‘nyaya’ (Sanskrit: “Judgment” or “Method”) from the Indian philosophy for explaining how the process works (p. 20). ‘Nyaya’ based system prioritizes human lives where we determine justness of an act by seeing its overall consequence, as opposed to mechanically following some institutions or rules which is analogous to the Indian concept  of ‘niti’ (Sangskrit: “Rule”). In ‘nyaya’ based system, the main task is to prevent ‘matsanyaya’, i.e. big fish eating small fish, which is a manifest injustice.

Let me clarify the process by outlining what is not within the scope of the theory. Unlike Rawls, Sen knows that even behind the veil, people might not be able to find a uniform solution because of plurality of impartial arguments. Sen poses an example of a likely problem with the connotation of distributive justice where three children argue for the ownership of a single flute. Their arguments are based on the grounds that one knows how to play it, another is very poor and has no other toy, and the third one has made the flute. These arguments respectively represents utilitarian, economic egalitarian and in Sen’s language ‘nonsense libertarian’ (p. 13). To Sen, it is not possible to reasonably reject any argument here and that makes it impossible to find a single principle for a perfectly just society. That is why, he abstains himself from giving solutions to reasonably unsolvable problems.

Part I of the book deals with the demands of justice, such as, objectivity and impartiality in reasoning. Sen begins the part believing that intelligence should be utilized for making the world a better place. Then he relies on Rawls in his ‘Justice as Fairness’ theory as it strives to avoid biasness while evaluating the justness of the conditions of the society. For that, objectivity requires judgments of reasonable persons. This concurs with the assumption that human beings are capable of reasoning beyond the narrow boundaries of self-interest.
Part II of the book deals with forms of reasoning. One of the limitations of public reasoning is that it is influenced by various societal conditions in a given time like superstitions, which Sen terms as ‘positional limitation.’ This shortcoming can be overcome by acknowledging worldwide duty to neighbours in a global perspective of justice. Plurality of conflicting reasoning is another vital problem. This can be solved to a certain extent by reasonably rejecting some alternatives. Beyond these limitations, as Sen thinks, reasoning can be an efficient tool for reducing injustice relying on the assumption that any power creates some obligation to do so.

Part III of the book deals with materials of justice. Sen emphasizes that equality of freedom where it offers ‘comprehensive opportunity’ to achieve something is necessary. Freedom has to be ensured to a person, not only in providing opportunity to choose to do something, but also freedom from any consequences which restrict such liberty. But, even if every person is given equal opportunity it might not be sufficient to address the situation of everyone without prejudice which underscores the importance of addressing the capability aspect of freedom. Capability does not equate to advantage, it includes obligation of individuals and ultimately aims at enhancement of the well-being of people.

Part IV of the book focuses on public reasoning and democracy. Sen proves that, democracy in the form of public participation has always been a global idea and not merely a western product. The theory presented by him requires global public reasoning as opposed to mere domestic ballot politics. Free and well functioning media is essential for democracy and free flow of information facilitates public reasoning and protects voices of the neglected portion in such a democracy. Human rights ought to play a dual role of ethical standard and legal entitlement because it envisages the idea of imperfect obligation, meaning duty to others and calls for the realization of economic and social rights for all.

However, the theory still has some issues to address. It can be accepted that human reason does not always incline to self-interests but it remains doubtful as to how long this may function as an obligation. Moreover, Sen naively tries to explain how positional limitation can be overcome by globalizing public reasoning, considering it to be an instant effect of its surroundings. But reducing positional limitation is scarcely possible in cases of nature influences and extremist ideologies. Again, the solution Sen provides for bad reasoning is good reasoning. Sen could have explained how he determines goodness or badness of some reasoning, especially in cases where plurality of political interpretation of facts largely confuse public as arguments can be made in line with philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) that there are no facts, but interpretations and our preset morality is responsible for our stands.

The theory stands for removing manifest injustice and instead of providing criteria of manifest injustice, it leaves the room for reasoning the essential conditions of which he describes. Slavery, gender discrimination, artificial famine, war etc. are instances of manifest injustice according to Sen and it gives the impression that institutional evil such as, perpetual economic inequality as a necessary tool of capitalism is beyond its scope to combat. But this issue deserves more attention in a theory of justice because if slavery was an institutional form of oppression in feudal societies, why is it that the necessary evils of capitalism should not be dealt with?

Linguistic deconstruction is a distinguishable feature of the book. Sen shows the courage to use the pronoun ‘she’ to indicate general third person, though nowhere he mentions any reason for this feminist stance. Juxtaposition of plenty of oriental instances in contrast to western ones placed in the work suggests Sen’s intent to challenge western hegemony in the intellectual arena. But his compromising attitude towards status quo and maintaining a reformist attitude within the feasible limits contradicts with that spirit. For facilitating global democracy and protecting freedom of speech, the work ultimately depends on the United Nations and NGOs though the power structure of these organizations often reflects western bias. Therefore, the biggest challenge it brings with it is how to save the world from the hegemony of powerful countries.

The Idea of Justice is an excellent endeavour to see the notion of justice in the light of oriental philosophy and discourse. Considering the work as a commencement of a new era of eastern contribution, the above-mentioned unanswered issues definitely necessitates more work on the field to be initiated.


Law / Myanmar signs off controversial pregnancy law
« on: May 24, 2015, 06:23:59 PM »
Activists voice concern the new law could be used to repress religious and ethnic minorities.

Myanmar's president has signed off a law requiring some mothers to space their children three years apart despite objections by a visiting US diplomat and rights activists.

The bill, which was drafted under pressure from hard-line Buddhist monks, was passed by parliamentarians last month and approved by President Thein Sein, state media reported on Saturday.

The announcement came a day after US Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned during a face-to-face meeting with Sein of the potential consequences of the law, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Both the US and rights activists worry it could be used not only to repress women, but also religious and ethnic minorities.
Blinken said he expressed "deep concern" about the law and three others in the assembly aimed at protecting race and religion.

"The legislation contains provisions that can be enforced in a manner that would undermine reproductive rights, women's rights and religious freedom," Blinken said.

"We shared the concerns that these bills can exacerbate ethic and religious divisions and undermine the country's efforts to promote tolerance and diversity."

"It's very disappointing," Khin Lay, a women's rights activist, said of the president's decision to sign off on the law.
"If the government wants to protect women, they should strengthen laws already in place to do that."

Fears of discrimination

The government says the law is aimed at bringing down maternal and infant mortality rates, activists argue that it steps on women's reproductive rights and can be used to suppress the growth of marginalised groups.

As predominantly Buddhist Myanmar started moving from dictatorship to democracy four years ago, newfound freedoms of expression lifted the lid on deep-seeded hatred for minority Muslims including Rohingya Muslims now arriving on Southeast Asian shores in crowded boats.

Many are fleeing persecution and violence that has left up to 280 people dead and forced another 140,000 from their homes in western Rakhine state. They are living under apartheid-like conditions in dusty, crowded camps, with little access to education or adequate medical care. They also have little freedom of movement, having to pay hefty bribes if they want to pass police barricades, even for emergencies.
The population law, which carries no punitive measures, gives regional authorities the power to implement birth-spacing guidelines in areas with high rates of population growth.

Hard-line Buddhists have repeatedly warned that Muslims, with their high birthrates, could take over the country of 50 million even though they currently represent less than 10 percent of the population.


Law / Arguments against the Human Rights Act are coming in the UK
« on: May 16, 2015, 09:46:28 AM »
In the aftermath of the second world war, nations came together to say “never again”. They established the United Nations and agreed a simple set of universal standards of decency for mankind to cling to: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These standards were intended to protect the individual from the state, to uphold the rights of minorities and to provide support for the vulnerable.

The idea was simple; these standards would first be enshrined in regional treaties such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and then be given legal effect in every country. In the UK this was achieved when Labour enacted the Human Rights Act (HRA) in 1998.

The incoming Tory government now intends to strip our people of these universal rights by repealing the HRA. Michael Gove has been appointed as the new justice secretary to lead the assault. In a week when we celebrate VE Day, the irony should not be lost. British politicians, many of them Tory, participated in the drafting of the ECHR in Whitehall because they believed that they were drafting an instrument to reflect the values that we in this country took for granted and which, they thought, vindicated our military triumph.

No doubt Gove will peddle the myth that the HRA is effectively a villains’ charter. But the evidence is against him
No doubt Gove will peddle the usual myth that the HRA is nothing more than a villains’ charter. But the evidence is against him on that. There has been no fundamental shift in defendants’ rights under the HRA, mainly because legislation passed by the Margaret Thatcher government in 1984 set out clear rights for suspects that have been successfully embedded in our law for many years.

By stark contrast, the HRA has heralded a new approach to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, including child victims of trafficking, women subject to domestic and sexual violence, those with disabilities and victims of crime. After many years of struggling to be heard, these individuals now have not only a voice, but a right to be protected. The Tory plans to repeal the HRA, together with the restricted access to our courts already brought about by the restriction on judicial review introduced by Gove’s predecessor, Chris Grayling, will silence the vulnerable and leave great swaths of executive action unchecked and unaccountable.

Gove may try another tack, arguing that the Tories are not against human rights at all, but simply want to keep those pesky judges in the European court at bay. But this argument also unravels quickly. The rights in the ECHR are very simple. They include the right to life, liberty and security of person; the right to a fair trial; protection from torture and ill treatment; freedom of thought, conscience, religion, speech and assembly; the right to marry; the right to free elections; the right to fair access to the country’s education system; and, to top things off, the right not to be discriminated against. Which of these rights would you not want? One of the reasons the much-vaunted Tory “British bill of rights” has never seen the light of day is because any proposal that does not match these basic ECHR rights will be torn to shreds.

That only leaves Gove with the shallow argument that our courts are shackled because they are bound to follow the decisions of the European court of human rights. But that argument runs into two fundamental problems. First, the HRA only obliges our courts to “take into account” judgments of the European court; they are not bound by them. Second, it is not the HRA that obliges the UK to respond to the judgments of the European court. It is Article 46(1) of the ECHR itself.

Why human rights reform could trip up Michael Gove
Joshua Rozenberg
Joshua Rozenberg  Read more
Article 46 states that: “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.” The UK signed up to that international obligation when it signed the ECHR in the 1950s. Repealing the HRA would have no effect whatsoever on the UK’s obligations under Article 46. The only way for the Tories to achieve what they want is for the UK to pull out of the ECHR and, as a consequence, out of the Council of Europe.


That would leave the UK outside the family of nations upholding universal human rights and would hugely diminish our reputation abroad. It would also widen the fracture in our own politics evidenced by last week’s elections. When the bill of rights commission set up by the coalition government in 2012 went to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to find out what they thought of the HRA, they returned to London with a very blunt message ringing in their ears: the plan to repeal the HRA and adopt a British bill of rights is a ridiculous metropolitan Tory idea that should be put back in the box.

A proposal that deprives people of their rights, divides nations abroad and divides nations at home is a grossly disproportionate reaction to one or two adverse rulings from Strasbourg. It also cuts across the basic fairness, dignity and equality that all nations committed to nearly 70 years ago.


Law / "Miranda" Rights and the Fifth Amendment of USA Constitution
« on: May 09, 2015, 03:11:45 PM »
What are the "Miranda" Rights?

In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the historic case of Miranda v. Arizona, declaring that whenever a person is taken into police custody, before being questioned he or she must be told of the Fifth Amendment right not to make any self-incriminating statements. As a result of Miranda, anyone in police custody must be told four things before being questioned:

1. You have the right to remain silent.

2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

3. You have the right to an attorney.

4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

Read the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision: Miranda v. Arizona.

What if the Police Fail to Advise Me of My Miranda Rights?

When police officers question a suspect in custody without first giving the Miranda warning, any statement or confession made is presumed to be involuntary, and cannot be used against the suspect in any criminal case. Any evidence discovered as a result of that statement or confession will likely also be thrown out of the case.

For example, suppose Dan is arrested and, without being read his Miranda rights, is questioned by police officers about a bank robbery. Unaware that he has the right to remain silent, Dan confesses to committing the robbery and tells the police that the money is buried in his backyard. Acting on this information, the police dig up the money. When Dan's attorney challenges the confession in court, the judge will likely find it unlawful. This means that, not only will the confession be thrown out of the case against Dan, but so will the money itself, because it was discovered solely as a result of the unlawful confession.


Law / Re: Agony of Teaching and Learning Law in Bangladesh
« on: May 08, 2015, 09:16:18 PM »
This fantastic piece by Rokeya Chowdhury was was also featured in the Juris section of the Dhaka Tribune. Here's the link:

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