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Civil society and the contemporary threat to religious freedom in Bangladesh

Chaney, Paul ORCID: and Sahoo, Sarbeswar 2020. Civil society and the contemporary threat to religious freedom in Bangladesh. Journal of Civil Society 16 (3) , pp. 191-215. 10.1080/17448689.2020.1787629

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Against the international backdrop of rising religious tensions, this article explores contemporary civil society views on religious freedom in Bangladesh. It uses critical frame analysis of the corpus of civil society organisations’ (CSOs) submissions to the United Nations’ third cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR), 2013-18. It provides a timely assessment of Bangladesh’s fulfilment of international obligations on religious freedom, and shows how the politicisation of religion and the resultant conflict between ‘secularism’ and ‘extremism’ have been fuelling inter-communal tensions and religious intolerance. In particular, CSOs’ UPR submissions present powerful accounts of the principal human rights pathology affecting the country today, religious-based violence. This is accompanied by a narrative of police malpractice/ judicial failings, discrimination, oppression and incitement. A further key finding is ‘situated knowledge’ or first-hand accounts of legal restrictions and government repression of civil society organisations. Consonant with the classical work of liberal theorists, we argue that unprecedented importance now attaches to safeguarding civil society criticality in order to defend religious freedom and uphold human rights in the Republic.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Publisher: Routledge T&F
ISSN: 1744-8697
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 1 June 2020
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 12:31

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