15 mai 2007, la rapporteure spéciale de l'ONU sur la Traite, Madame Sigma Huda se rend à l'aéroport de Dhaka afin de participer à une réunion de l'ONU à New York puis présenter son rapport lors de la quatrième session du Conseil. Les autorités du Bengladesh l'empechent de prendre son avion.
Le 16 mai 2007, Sigma Huda se rend à nouveau à l'aéroport. On lui apprend alors que la Cour vient d'émettre un ordre lui interdisant de quitter le pays.
Début juin, un journaliste d'Associated Press la contacte par téléphone. Cet article a été publié dans plusieurs journaux, dont le Herald Tribune International. La presse française n'en a dit mot.

UN human rights expert faces Bangladesh corruption trial

Friday, June 15, 2007

GENEVA: U.N. human rights expert who has been outspoken against the Bangladesh government said she expected to be arrested imminently.

Sigma Huda, a lawyer appointed by the United Nations in 2004 as an independent expert on people trafficking, said Friday that the case against her was linked to that of her husband, Nazmul Huda, who was arrested in February as part of an anti-corruption drive by Bangladesh's military-backed interim government.

Huda, who was blocked by a court order from attending the U.N. Human Rights Council this week, said she expected she would be charged Monday with corruption offenses and would plead innocent.

She said her husband, a communications minister in former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's government, was still in jail awaiting trial.

Huda said she feared she would not receive a fair trial.

"If there was fair play, and if there was justice, then I would have faced the trial happily," she told The Associated Press by telephone from Bangladesh. "I'm dreading what they (the government) are going to do because I've been very aggressive in my dealing with them."

Huda said she was being targeted by the government for her work as a human rights lawyer in Bangladesh.

"I've helped a lot of aggrieved persons and disadvantaged groups. I've done a lot of cases whereby the law enforcement agencies have been brought to book for deaths in custody, and torture in custody. I am very visible," she said.

Huda has been outspoken about corruption within the police service, and campaigned on behalf of women and homeless people.

Officials at the country's diplomatic mission in Geneva said they had no information on her case.

Huda has been prevented from leaving Bangladesh since April, according to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which has asked the government for urgent clarification about her situation.

"We have still not received the clarification we requested from the government regarding the proceedings or charges against her," Jose Diaz, a spokesman for the high commissioner, said Friday.

"In light of the convention on privileges and immunities of the U.N. and the regulations on the status, rights and duties of U.N. experts on mission, we had asked for clarification as to why she was not being allowed to fulfill her duties as special rapporteur," Diaz said.

Under international conventions Huda enjoys certain diplomatic privileges that prevent her arrest or detention while she is acting in her role as a U.N. rights expert. These privileges would have to be lifted by the United Nations before she could be prosecuted.

Huda, who was scheduled to speak before the U.N. council in Geneva this week, said she was continuing with her work despite not being able to leave the country to conduct her investigations into human trafficking around the world.