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Babul Hossain

Babul Hossain is the General Secretary of the Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity (BGWS), a workers’ rights organisation that advocates for the rights of garment workers across Bangladesh. As the General Secretary of BGWS, Babul Hossain - who is also a garment worker by profession - mobilises workers to demand improvements in labour laws, including an increase in the minimum wage, and runs programmes to support workers and their children. The human rights defender was active in organising the recent protests for the minimum wage hike for workers in Bangladesh.

Human rights defenders in Bangladesh face judicial harassment, arbitrary arrest, fabricated charges, abduction, physical attacks, torture and extrajudicial killings. Local extremist groups pledging allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent often claimed responsibility for the attacks, which have targeted HRDs who write about women’s rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, freedom of religion, and other human rights issues. Despite these risks, there was no impetus on the part of the government to address the protection needs of HRDs. The authorities have so far failed to properly investigate a majority of the murders and impunity remains a serious concern.

HRDs working on different rights issues – including indigenous peoples' rights, economic social and cultural rights, women’s rights, migrant rights, labour rights, LGBTI rights, freedom of expression, police brutality, extra-judicial killings and disappearances, and sexual and reproductive rights – report decreasing their public activism and online writings in their area of expertise. Women human rights defenders have been particularly vulnerable: many of them have been sexually harassed and assaulted.