Sigma Huda, United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, has been under house arrest for two months now upon the order of the Government of Bangladesh on the grounds of being a “security risk for Bangladesh as she may give statements detrimental to this Government.” Ms. Huda is forbidden to fulfill her duties, and she is also denied medical help which she needs because of diabetes and serious heart condition.
The detention of Sigma Huda represents a direct attack on both the Principles and the institution of the United Nations Organization by the Government of Bangladesh, as well as a denial of her inalienable right to freedom of movement. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has recently called on the Government of Bangladesh to respect these rights.
Sigma Huda was appointed as Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, following the 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, ending April 23, 2004. In the discharge of her mandate, the Special Rapporteur takes action on violations committed against trafficked persons and on situations in which there has been a failure to protect their human rights and undertakes country visits in order to study the situation in situ and formulate recommendations to prevent and/or combat trafficking and protect the human rights of its victims in specific countries and/or regions. Ms. Huda’s work to date is of great significance in the area of human rights, especially in combating trafficking in women and children.
Any unlawful restriction of liberty and of the right to movement is in our opinion intolerable. We are calling on the Government of Bangladesh to release Sigma Huda as soon as possible. The signatories of this petition, women’s nongovernmental organizations from Serbia, demand greater involvement of the United Nations and all relevant international and national governmental and nongovernmental institutions in the URGENT release of Sigma Huda.