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Saiful Arakani and Aziz Arakani

Saiful Arakani and Aziz Arakani are brothers and Rohingya journalists who report on the various human rights violations faced by Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and elsewhere in Asia. Saiful Arakani works as a reporter and Aziz Arakani as a camera operator for Rohingya news website The Arakan Times. The human rights defenders report on issues such as human trafficking of Rohingya refugees, killings of Rohingya human rights defenders and leaders, sale of drugs, lack of food security schemes, fires in refugee camps and so on. For their reporting on the issues faced by Rohingyas, Saiful and Aziz Arakani have faced repeated threats, harassment and violence from the police in Bangladesh and local mobs. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has been following their case and issued statements in support of the human rights defenders.


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.