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Corruption and Human Rights Violations prevalent in many Commonwealth Nations, says Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

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New Delhi, March 13, 2017:  On the occasion of Commonwealth Day, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on Monday urged the intergovernmental organisation to ensure liberty and rule of lawin its member-nations as in many of these countries governance was marked by “abuse of power, corruption and human rights violations”.

“The occasion (Commonwealth Day) will once again see member-states pronounce affirmations to the fundamental principles of the Commonwealth Charter — democracy, rule of law and human rights.

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“Unfortunately, the reality is that these core values are currently under severe strain. A majority of the 2.4 billion people living in Commonwealth countries live in poverty, deprived of rights.

“In too many countries governance is marked by abuse of power, corruption and state violence as well as religious intolerance, attacks on free speech, hate speech, the right to associate and discrimination on grounds of race and gender,” the CHRI, an independent organisation working to protect human rights in Commonwealth countries, said in a statement.

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It pointed to the diminished role that governments are playing in securing people’s rights and in curbing their freedom instead, in the name of economic growth and progress.

“The race for markets and economic growth is often an excuse for curbing rights. However, these are not inimical to each other and economic growth must assure basic rights,” the rights body said.

Commonwealth Day is celebrated by 52 member countries, including India, which form the Commonwealth and were formerly British colonies. The day is not necessarily celebrated formally and not many are aware of it.

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However, the occasion is marked by a speech from the British Queen who also hands over a baton on the same day a year before the quadrennial Commonwealth Games, to start off a relay race.

The day is celebrated annually on the second Monday of March. (IANS)

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Khaleda Zia granted bail in 2008 corruption case

Khaleda is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06

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Khaleeda Zia granted 64 months bail. IANS

Bangladesh Nationalist Party Chairperson Khaleda Zia, convicted in a corruption case, was granted bail on Monday.

BNP leader Zia secured a four-month bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case in which she was handed five years of imprisonment by a Bangladesh court.

“Now, there is no legal bar to let Khaleda walk out of prison on bail,” Bangladesh Daily Star quoted BNP Advocate Sagir Hossain Leon as saying.

Earlier today, a bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim passed the bail order in response to a petition moved by Khaleda before a high court back in February.

Her bail was considered on four grounds, including her health condition.

Further, the high court directed the concerned authority to prepare the paper book of the case within the next four months for hearing the appeal she filed against her conviction in the case.

The high court sentenced Zia’s eldest son and Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others for at least 10 years with a fine of 2.10 crore Bangladeshi takas (Tk).

The Anti-Corruption Commission had earlier filed a case in 2008 with Ramna Police Station, accusing six persons including Khaleda and her son Tarique.

Khaleda is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06.

In a political career spanning almost four decades, Khaleda went to the jail several times but was never convicted. She was detained several times during the anti-Ershad movement between the 1980s and 1990s.

In March 1983, she was made vice-chairperson of BNP after her husband and former Bangladesh President Ziaur was assassinated.

She went on to become the party’s chairperson in 1984, a position which she holds today. May 10, 1984.

Since the last three decades, Bangladeshi politics have been dominated by Zia and current Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.