Adilur Rahman Khan is one of Bangladesh’s most devoted human rights defenders. In his decades of activism, he has established a nationwide network of rights defenders and leads Odhikar, the country’s premier human rights organization. Odhikar monitors an extraordinary array of human rights violations in Bangladesh, including restrictions on freedom of expression, abuse by security forces, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial and border killings, torture, violence against women, and voter suppression.
Since 2012, the human rights situation in Bangladesh has deteriorated as the government has consolidated power and criticism from civil society has been met with repression. In this context, human rights defenders, whistleblowers, and journalists exposing human rights abuses to the public are particularly targeted. The government has blocked the release of foreign funds for Odhikar’s human rights projects and has arbitrarily placed the organization under investigation; Adil, granted a year-long bail, has continued to act as a human rights activist in Bangladesh.
Adil’s courageous work is critical in holding the Bangladeshi government to account and exposing the most serious human rights violations in the country.
“From exposing the government's role in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings to successfully campaigning for Bangladesh's first law against torture, Adil has courageously fought to protect human rights, even in the face of grave personal danger," Kerry Kennedy.