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Mubashar Hasan

HRD & Founder

Dr. Mubashar Hasan is a human rights defender and Assistant Professor of Political Science in North South University, Dhaka. As a young scholar he has conducted several research projects, written articles, and presented papers at different seminars, both at home and abroad, on the issues of democracy, terrorism and the rise of violent religious extremism. The human rights defender also founded, an interactive online platform promoting democracy, pluralism and multiculturalism in Bangladesh. Dr. Mubashar Hasan had previously worked as a journalist and as a media campaign strategist for Oxfam in Bangladesh and Pakistan. He has also supported the Government’s Access to Information project as a consultant.

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.

Restrictive legislation also poses a threat to the work of HRDs in Bangladesh. The 2016 Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act further restricts the space for human rights organisations by criminalizing foreign funded NGOs which engage in "anti-state activities" or make "derogatory comments about the Constitution and constitutional institutions”. The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act of 2006 (amended in 2013), in particular its section 57 (“publishing fake, obscene or defaming information”), is used to silence HRDs and block websites with content deemed sensitive by the authorities. Faced with the criticisms surrounding the ICT Act, Bangladeshi lawmakers drafted the 2016 Digital Security Act, intended to address the need for cybercrime legislation. More than a year after the draft was approved, it has not been enacted, but the draft includes several worrying provisions for HRDs.