UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Forum demands action on violence
Report on attacks against religious minorities 'must be made public'Leaders speaking at press conference in Dhaka yesterday
- ucanews.com reporter, Dhaka
- May 4, 2011
The demands were made yesterday at a press conference in Dhaka organized by an interfaith forum called the Bangladesh-Hindu-Buddha-Christian Oikkya Parishad.
â€śPeople from all walks of life and religions have offered their lives and utmost respect for this country since independence. But over the last forty years minorities have been subjugated as the whole nation was during Pakistani rule,â€ť said Rana Dasgupta, a Hindu and the forumâ€™s secretary.
Religious minorities were subjected to violence from party activists following elections in 1991 and 2001, but violence in the latter was more organized and extreme. Since then justice for victims has not been forthcoming, he said.
The High Court ordered the government in May 2009 to investigate the violence, which resulted in a three-member committee headed by retired district judge Mohammad Shahabuddin submitting a report to the government on April 24.
The report has yet to be made public.
â€śWe have demonstrated and pressed each government to ensure the rights of minorities many times. Weâ€™ll continue our protests for justice and democracy until we get them,â€ť Dasgupta said.
The forum also demanded that all discriminative articles in the constitution be removed and replaced with new ones akin to Bangladeshâ€™s first charter in 1972 that was based on secularism.
The constitution should recognize ethnic minorities as â€śindigenous groupsâ€ť and ensure the preservation of their language and culture, a forum statement said.
Bangladeshi Catholics said they agreed.
â€śThe nation should go back to 1972 constitution ... the rulers who included Islamic phrases and status of Islam as state religion were politically motivated,â€ť said Archbishop Paulinus Costa of Dhaka.
Archbishop Costa, president of Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of Bangladesh, â€śPolitical parties in the country with poor and less educated people trade religion for political gains. Religion and politics should stay separate; I fully comply with proposals of intellectuals of the country.â€ť
Chayon Rebeiro, 41, Episcopal Commission for Laity secretary, said he feared that if religion-based politics is not banned, the fundamentalists will exploit religion and if they come to power they will impose blasphemy laws like that of in Pakistan.
Among over 160 million people in Bangladesh Muslims account about 90 percent, Hindus 9 percent and other religions 1 percent. Christians make up 0.03 percent.