NHRC chief stresses participatory democracy

“We elect a group after every five years just to exploit us. The same situation is prevailing in all democratic countries of the world and we too couldn’t come out of this tradition,” Dr Mizanur Rahman said referring to a quotation of a wise personality.

He was addressing as the chief guest a roundtable titled ‘Acceptable Election; a proposal-Election Caretaking Council’ organised by Coordinating Council for Human Rights in Bangladesh (CCHRB) at National Press Club.

“We want a participatory democracy where people’s expectations will be fulfilled as the caretaker government system had been introduced in such context,” Mizan added.

He, however, said the caretaker government provision exposed its black appearance after the 1/11 episode. “After the 1/11, we saw more downside of the caretaker system than what we had thought of its positive side.”

The NHRC chairman said the country’s judiciary was tainted and made controversial over choosing the caretaker government chief.

He said the chief justice was appointed violating seniority with a view to making the caretaker chief.

Dr Mizan appreciated the Election Caretaking Council (ECC), an alternative proposal to caretaker government system. “The Election Caretaking Council is a procedure to involve people in election,” he added.

He said the ECC is one kind of election supervising body from civil society. “So, it can play a vital role in holding credible elections. If people, especially the political leaders, support the ECC system, we can hold a fair election keeping the constitution uninterrupted.”

CCHRB president AHM Nouman read out the keynote paper at the roundtable chaired by former caretaker government advisor ASM Shahjahan.

According to the new formula, an Election Caretaking Council (ECC) could be formed as an auxiliary body to the Election Commission in holding free, fair and neutral polls in the country that will be acceptable to all.

AHM Nouman said the ECC will assist the Election Commission to smoothly hold free fair and acceptable polls.

The Election Commission can form the Council with representatives from political parties, civil society members, professionals and representatives from NGOs.

The CCHRB said the proposed Election Caretaking Council, as an auxiliary body to the Election Commission, will assist the EC in pre-nomination of candidates, nomination, electioneering, conducting elections and declaring polls results.

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