Bangladesh acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on September 6, 2000. Under this act, “Bangladesh is also committed to segregating under trial prisoners from convicts and juveniles from adults, to bring prisoners as early as possible to trial, and to ensure humane treatment of all persons in custody.” 1
Under the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners, Bangladesh is required to:
[O]bserve the fundamental principles of security of life, health and personal integrity, non- discrimination in the treatment of prisoners, and to create conditions that allow prisoners on release to adjust and integrate into normal community life. It further requires the jail administration to respect prisoners’ right to information regarding jail regulations, as well as rights to religious belief and communication with the family, and to notify the family of a prisoner's death on illness.2
Under Bangladeshi law, one source of law for the operation of prisons is the Jail Code of 1920:
The laws governing prisons, namely, the Prison Act of 1894, its accompanying Rules, and a range of internally issued circulars, notices and orders which together form the Jail Code of 1920, the Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, the Lunacy Act 1974 and the Children's Act 1974 directly contravene the ICCPR or the Standard Minimum Rules. For example, the Jail Code allows for arbitrary and discriminatory classification between rich and powerful prisoners and others, with the former being entitled to "division on special privileges”, determined by court according to the social status of the prisoners.3
In 2006, the Bangladeshi Government enacted the Special Privileges for Convicted Women Act. This Act was designed to facilitate the rehabilitation of convicted prisoners, and provide parole for specific prisoners.
- 1. Ain o Salish Kendra [ASK], Human Rights in Bangladesh: Rights of Prisoners 1 (2008), available at http://www.askbd.org/ask/2009/01/31/human-rights-bangladesh-2008-bangla/; see also International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Dec. 16, 1966, available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx.
- 2. ASK, Human Rights in Bangladesh: Rights of Prisoners 1 (2008), available at http://www.askbd.org/ask/2009/01/31/human-rights-bangladesh-2008-bangla/; see also U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, (Aug. 30, 1955), available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6b36e8.html.
- 3. ASK, Human Rights in Bangladesh: Rights of Prisoners 1 (2008), available at http://www.askbd.org/ask/2009/01/31/human-rights-bangladesh-2008-bangla/.