Dhaka, Sept 3 (UNB) - An independent expert appointed by the UN’s Human Rights Council has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to express concerns about the company’s overly broad definition of terrorism.
The expert also expressed concerns about the apparent lack of a comprehensive human rights-based approach to the policies governing access to and use of its platform.
The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism Fionnuala Ni Aolain said Facebook’s definition equates all non-state groups that use violence in pursuit of any goals or ends to terrorist entities.
“The use of overly broad and imprecise definitions as the basis for regulating access to and the use of Facebook’s platform may lead to discriminatory implementation, over-censoring and arbitrary denial of access to and use of Facebook’s services,” said Ni Aolain.
Facebook defines terrorist entities as: “Any non-governmental organization that engages in premeditated acts of violence against persons or property to intimidate a civilian population, government, or international organization in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.”
Company policy prohibits terrorists from using Facebook’s services, and it uses detection technology and employs an ever-growing team of moderators assisted by a counter-terrorism team of 200 people to find and remove content from its platform, according to a statement UNB received here from Geneva on Monday.
“The use of such a sweeping definition is particularly worrying in light of a number of governments seeking to stigmatize diverse forms of dissent and opposition – whether peaceful or violent – as terrorism,” said Ni Aolain.
“The definition is further at odds with international humanitarian law as it qualifies all non-state armed groups party to a non-international armed conflict as terrorists, even if these groups comply with international humanitarian law.”
The Special Rapporteur expressed concern at the lack of clarity about the methods by which Facebook determines when a person belongs to a particular group and whether the respective group or person are given the opportunity to meaningfully challenge such determination.
The absence of any independent processes of review, oversight and monitoring of Facebook’s actions is also highly problematic, she added.
Ni Aolain called on Facebook, as well as any other companies facing similar challenges, to adopt the model definitions of terrorism and incitement to terrorism developed by the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
She welcomed Facebook’ openness to a dialogue with her mandate with a view to promoting greater compliance with these standards.
The expert recommended that other companies hosting third-party content be guided by the recommendations issued by and consider entering into a continued dialogue with her mandate and other relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms.
Dhaka, Sept 3 (UNB) – The use of the electronic voting machine (EVM) in the upcoming national election will depend on enactment of law, stakeholders’ acceptance, attaining of capability and overall environment.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said this on Monday while speaking at a workshop at Electoral Training Institute in the city’s Agargaon area.
Besides, he said, “EVM will be used on a random basis. If we use EVM in 25 seats then we’ll not fix it up in advance, we will decide it randomly. The EVM will be used in the national election provided the environment remains favorable.”
On the question of EVM purchase, the CEC said “The government and Finance Ministry will look into the matter as we do not have any fund for purchasing EVM.”
Talking about voters’ and political parties’ concern over EVM use, Nurul Huda said “It is natural to be concerned about EVM use among different political parties as we did not inform them yet about its usage and advantages and we take it in a positive way. They will come to know in phases.”
Mentioning about the existing voting system, the CEC said “In manual system there is a need of many documents and tools and we have to remain worried about ballot papers. Besides, 70 percent of the total cost is spent for the law enforcing agencies for security concern. In EVM system, the expenditure will be reduced.”
Dhaka, Sept 3 (UNB) – Two students from Dhaka University and Jahangirnagar University represented Bangladesh at Ruibin Summer Camp in Taiwan this year.
The two participants are: Urmi Ghosh, a Master's student of Dhaka University and Aflatun Kaeser Zilany, an undergraduate student of Jahangirnagar University.
They took part in the camp held from August 17 to August 25 with full scholarship of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
The theme of this year's camp was empathy while Zilany and Urmi made a presentation on ‘Empathy in Culture of Bangladesh’ at the camp.
Professor Ernie Ko of National Taiwan University of Arts in partnership with Professor Aigul Kulnazarova of Tama University, Japan, co-founded the Ruibin Camp in 2012 to bring Taiwanese and international university-level students to Ruibin in Taiwan as role models for pupils.
Ruibin Elementary School, a coastal school in the northeastern New Taipei City, is on the official list of Educational Priority Project, which is designated by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan due to its relative weakness in learning resources and student performance.
Sixty percent of 210 Ruibin students come from disadvantaged families, including low-income, aborigines, foreign spouses, and single parents. These pupils need timely support from home and abroad to stimulate their learning motivations and build self-confidence.
Urmi is a Gold Medalist from Dhaka University for her outstanding result in undergraduate level while Zilany was awarded Butterfly Young Enthusiast Award for his contribution to conservation of butterflies and their habitat by Jahangirnagar University.
Dhaka, Sept 3 (UNB) – Bimstec Secretary General Shahidul Islam on Monday said there was no scope to formally discuss the Rohingya issue in the 4th Bimstec Summit held in Kathmandu on August 30-31 as no Member State of the regional body proposed it.
“The Rohingya issue was not included in the agenda of the Summit. So, there was no scope for holding discussions on it,” he said while responding to a UNB question at a post-Summit press conference held at its headquarters.
The Secretary General said there was no proposal or request from any country to include or not to include the Rohingya issue in the agenda.
Shahidul said Nepal prepared the agenda of the Summit as its host which was circulated among the Member States and accepted by all.
He said the Summit was held after a long gap with the hope to strengthen regional cooperation through Bimstec.
“We feel that Bangladesh and Myanmar have shown diplomatic maturity by not raising the issue (Rohingya),” Shahidul said adding that nobody denied the existence of the problem.
He expressed optimism that Bangladesh and Myanmar who remain engaged can resolve the issue.
The Bimstec Secretary General said it is possible to work on the issues on which Member States have a clear consensus.
He mentioned that progress on areas where Member States have consensus should not suffer for the areas where there is lack of consensus. “We will continue make progress on trade investment, connectivity, energy and technology. These should go on.”
Shahidul said the Member States want to continue collaboration though there are differences of opinion in some areas.
He said the Bimstec Secretariat has full confidence in the sagacity and diplomatic maturity demonstrated by the Member States.
The Secretary General said if the Member States can maintain this level of maturity no issue can impede the progress of Bimstec.
Responding to a question on conclusion of Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations, he said trade negotiations can be very difficult negotiations, and it takes time to get results.
He said the Bimstec leaders renewed their commitment to an early conclusion of the FTA negotiations and expect to conclude trade and goods component within 2019.
They directed the Bimstec Trade and Economic Ministerial Meeting (TEMM) and its subsidiary bodies, including the Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC), to expedite the finalisation of all related agreements on the Bimstec FTA as early as possible, according to the Summit Declaration.
They expressed their satisfaction on the progress of negotiations on the Agreement on Trade in Goods and the Agreement on Customs Cooperation, and also directed the respective ministries and agencies to participate regularly in TNC meetings.
The Member States agreed to revitalise the activities of Bimstec Business Forum and Bimstec Economic Forum to further strengthen government-private sector cooperation for the promotion of trade and investment and task the Expert Group on Bimstec Visa Matters to continue negotiations for the finalisation of the modalities for the Bimstec Visa Facilitation.
The Bimstec Secretary General termed the Summit a very successful one as it reviewed the achievements of past 20 years.
He said they will prepare a follow-up chart on the basis of the Summit Declaration.
Cox’s Bazar, Sept 3 (UNB) –Three throat-slit Rohingya men were rescued alive from a hill cave at Chakmarkul Pariapara in Teknaf upazila on Monday.
They were identified as Nure Alam, 42, son of Sayed Khokon of Balukhali camp, Mohammad Khaleque, 22, son of Jamal Hossain and Mohammad Anwar, 33, son of Abdul Gaffar of Kutupalong camp.
Informed, a team of police went to the spot and rescued the three young men around 11 am with their throat slit, said Dipangkar Karmakar, a sub-inspector of Whoaikang police camp in Teknaf.
Ranjit Kumar Barua, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, said the three throat-slit young men were alive and taken to Cox’s Bazar Hospital.
He said someone tried to kill them but it was not still clear who the attackers were and what was their motive.