Bangladesh: Religious minorities accuse government of breaking promises on religious freedom

March 28, 2022

Muslims make up 90% of the population of Bangladesh; Hindus comprise 8.5%, Buddhists 0.6%, and Christians only 0.4%.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Bangladesh, see here.

“Bangladesh minorities accuse govt of breaking promises,” by Stephan Uttom, UCA News, March 24, 2022:

Ahead of next year’s general election in Bangladesh, an interfaith forum has accused the ruling Awami League of failing to implement its past election promises to protect religious minorities in the Muslim-majority nation.

Attacks on houses, shrines and businesses belonging to minorities, land grabbing, abduction and rape of girls, forced conversions and verbal threats have become a daily occurrence, leaders of the Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) said at a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on March 22.

“No matter what the government says about the security of minorities, no visible initiative is being taken sincerely by the ruling party or the government,” the group’s secretary Rana Dasgupta said….

The ruling party made several promises to protect minorities before the 2018 polls, including enactment of the Minority Protection Act, formation of the National Minorities Commission, enactment of the Inequality Abolition Act, implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord and the setting up of an independent commission for plain land indigenous people.

“Needless to say, the current ruling party has completely failed to deliver on its promises to our minorities,” said Nim Chandra Bhowmik, one of the three presidents of the BHBCUC.

“The promises they made were our demands. As long as they do not meet our demands, we will continue our movement on the streets with the minority community and civil society,” Bhowmik told UCA News….

“As a religious minority, we fully support the demands of the BHBCUC,” said Hemanta Corraya, general secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association.

“We, the Christian community in Bangladesh, are very small, so it is not possible for us to implement any demand. In this situation, we along with other minority communities want to put pressure on the government to meet our demands,” Corraya, a Catholic, told UCA News….