Human Rights Monitor
Must end extra judicial killing
Every three days one person is killed extra-judicially
Observing various civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of the people of Bangladesh Odhikar has provided a report, where they analyses the human rights situation of Bangladesh. Odhikar documents and records violations of human rights and receives information from its network of human rights defenders as well as from monitoring media reports in twelve national daily newspapers. It also conducts detailed fact-finding investigations where serious violations occur. Keeping in mind to all these aspects the Odhikar has provided 3 months of January, February and march 2011 report which is present below in a concise form.
According to Odhikar, 33 people were extra judicially killed by law enforcement agencies during the last three months. It means on an average every 03 days 01 person is reported killed extra-judicially.
From January to March 2011, 38 persons died in custody. Among them, 25 persons died in jail. Among those, 21 persons allegedly died due to 'sickness'; an 18 month old child was kept in prison with her mother, where she died within 12 days due to lack of treatment; and 3 persons died due to unknown reasons. Another 12 persons were allegedly killed extra judicially while under custody of RAB and police and the jail authority respectively. One former BDR jawan also died during this time while in custody.
Human rights violations by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) at border areas continue in 2011. . On January 7, 2011, a 15-year old girl, Felani Khatun, was shot and killed by the BSF while she was entering Bangladesh from India. According to information gathered by Odhikar, from January March 2011, along the India Bangladesh border, the BSF reportedly killed 05 Bangladeshis. Of the deceased, 03 were allegedly shot and 02 tortured to death. 30 Bangladeshis were injured by BSF's atrocities. Furthermore, 03 persons were reported abducted by the BSF during this period.
On January 31, 2011, a police officer was killed and more than 100 people, including policemen and journalists, were injured in clashes between the police and local people during a protest rally and blockade of the Dhaka-Mawa highway against the proposed International Airport at Arial Beel. Finally the government was compelled to cancel its plan due to justified protests by the local people against the construction of a new airport at Arial Beel and on agricultural land.
Between January 1 and 31 March 2011, 20 journalists were injured, 20 threatened and 10 journalists assaulted and 03 cases were filed against journalists.
On January 2, 2011, the High Court Division of the Supreme Court issued a rule to the government and law enforcement agencies as to why begging would not be stopped as per Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance of 1986, after news titled “Children handicapped and made into beggars” was published in the newspapers on 30 December 2010.
A group forcibly engaged children in begging by first crippling or marring them and sexually harassing them and it has been reported that the police were allegedly involved in supporting this group. Odhikar condemns the cruel and inhuman treatment towards children.
During the period of January March 2011, according to information gathered by Odhikar, a total of 203 girls and women were victims of sexual harassment. Among those 203 females, 12 committed suicide, one was killed, 24 injured, 43 assaulted, 06 abducted and 03 were the victims of attempted rape. To protest against sexual harassment against women, 04 men were killed and 74 men were injured by stalkers. During this time another 14 women were also injured and 01 was assaulted by the stalkers as they protested against sexual harassment.
During the period of January March 2011, a total of 127 women and girls were reportedly raped. Among them, 52 were women and 73 were girls and two females, whose age could not be ascertained. Of the adults, 17 were killed after being raped and 31 were victims of gang rape. Out of 73 child victims 06 children were killed after being raped and 19 were victims of gang rape. Furthermore, 02 woman and 04 children allegedly committed suicide after being raped. During this time one child and one adult female were raped by an Ansar and an Army personnel respectively.
During the last three months, a total of 101 women and 03 children were subjected to dowry related violence. Of these women, it has been alleged that 62 women were killed because of dowry, 32 were ill-treated in various other ways for dowry demands and 07 women committed suicide. During this period, 03 children were victimized in dowry related violence along with their mothers. Among them 02 were burnt with hot milk and palm syrup and 01 was attempted to bury alive.
According to information gathered by Odhikar during the period of January March 2011, it was reported that 29 persons were victimised due to acid violence. Of these affected persons, 16 were women and 08 were men, 04 boys and 01 girl.
Recommendations by Odhikar
1. Extra-judicial killings must come to an end as per the election manifesto of the ruling party and the declaration made by the Government in the UN Human Rights Council. The Government must bring all involved in extrajudicial killings before justice through proper and independent investigation.
2. The Bangladesh Government should investigate the incidents of all killings and torture of Bangladeshi citizens, including Felani, by the BSF and strongly demand from the Indian Government adequate compensation for the families of the victims and trial and punishment for the perpetrators. The Government should also ensure the security of those citizens residing at the border areas.
3. Random withdrawal of criminal cases under 'political consideration' and the President's clemency for convicted prisoners only make people lose confidence in the Judiciary. This should be stopped and the culture of impunity be abandoned. The Judiciary must play an effective and impartial role in order to restore public confidence in the administration of justice.
4. The Government should be responsive and transparent in order to stop political violence. It must take effective action against those involved in violence, irrespective of political belief. The law enforcement agencies need to be proactive to stop violence and carry out their duty in an independent, unbiased manner.
5. The Bill on Anti Corruption Commission tabled in Parliament on February 28, 2011 must be withdrawn in order to make the Anti Corruption Commission, an independent, transparent and effective institution.
6. The Government should immediately give clearance to Odhikar's human rights projects and the harassment on its human rights defenders must be stopped.
7. Torture during remand and other forms of custody must end. The recommendations made by the High Court Division on remand in the 2003 case of BLAST vs. Bangladesh must be implemented.
8. Wages of the readymade garment workers must be paid on time. The government should monitor the implementation of the tripartite agreement so that the owners of the garment factories regularly pay wages to the workers. Garments workers leader Moshrefa Mishu should be released immediately.
9. Scope must be given to the accused BDR jawans to present statements through their lawyers. Full investigation reports prepared by the Government regarding BDR massacre must be made public.
10. The Government should refrain from shrinking the space for the practice of democracy and also abstain from repression on opponent political activists.
11. The Government should take steps so that children are not engaged in begging and a stable rehabilitation programme be taken for the poor who engaged in begging. The Government should also ensure a social security for disadvantaged people.
12. The incidents of violence against women have been increasing due to the fact that most of the perpetrators are not being punished. The Government must take appropriate measures to stop violence against women and the offenders must be brought under the purview of the law to ensure that justice is served.
Source: Odhikar. For full report visit www.odhikar.org.