Basic Information | Prostitution | Trafficking | Pornography | Racism, Colonialism | Sex Buyers (“the demand”) | Pimps/Traffickers | Online Prostitution & Trafficking | False Distinction Between Prostitution & Trafficking | Health Impacts: Mental & Physical | Law and Policy | Pop Culture & Media Sexism | Children & Prostitution | Sex Self-Identity | Survivors’ View Blog | Traffic Jamming Blog

Sigma Huda, UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons

The government of Bangladesh has unlawfully detained Sigma Huda who is currently United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Aspects of the Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The military-backed government of Balgladesh has restrained UN Special Rapporteur Huda from leaving Bangladesh, has arrested her husband, tortured her brother-in-law, and harassed her daughter.

Prostitution Research & Education joins with UN Watch and The Institute for Religion and Public Policy, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and other groups to demand her immediate release.

Ms. Huda has noted that it is essential for governments to acknowledge the role of men’s demand for prostituted women in addressing trafficking. (United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Aspects of the Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 9 U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/62, Feb. 20, 2006. Sigma Huda is a powerful voice for women’s human rights.
Bangladesh Must Release UN Expert or Face Suspension From Human Rights Council

Geneva, June 6, 2007 — UN Watch called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the Human Rights Council to take action against the Bangladeshi government’s harassment of UN human rights expert Sigma Huda, who was refused exit from the country on the grounds of being a “security risk for Bangladesh as she may give statements detrimental to this Government.” A leading Bangladeshi human rights advocate, Huda is the UN Special Rapporteur on the trafficking of persons and was scheduled to speak at next week’s session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Bangladesh is governed by an army-backed interim administration that took power in January, imposed a state of emergency, and called off elections scheduled for later that month. Both Ms. Huda and her husband, a minister in the previous government, have also been slapped with criminal charges of corruption as part of a government crackdown targeting more than a dozen political figures.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer today issued the following statement:

By preventing UN expert Sigma Huda from leaving the country, the government of Bangladesh is in violation of her internationally-protected right to freedom of movement and expression. Bangladesh has no right to deny a UN expert, or any citizen, her right to leave on the basis that “she may give statements detrimental” to it.

As a member not only of the United Nations but also of the Human Rights Council, the world body’s highest human rights forum, Bangladesh is obligated “to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights [and to] fully cooperate with the Council.” Restricting the right to travel and attempting to muzzle free speech rights, seemingly for political reasons, of a citizen who is also one of the Council’s human rights experts blatantly violates both of these requirements.

Before the Council session opens this Monday, UN Watch urges UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Council President Luis Alfonso De Alba and the leaders of the Council’s Asian and Islamic groups, of which Bangladesh is a member, to press the government of Bangladesh to comply immediately with its international obligations and lift its restrictions against Ms. Huda. If Bangladesh refuses to do so, the ultimate sanction against a Council member-removal by the General Assembly-should be pursued.