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Stop attacks on protesters, critics: HRW

By UNB, DHAKA
08th-Aug-2018       
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Human Rights Watch has said Bangladesh authorities are arresting students and targeting activists and journalists who are highlighting the abuses instead of prosecuting those responsible for unlawfully attacking student protesters demanding road safety.
The New York-based global rights body, in a statement on Monday, said the authorities in Bangladesh should order an immediate investigation into reports that renowned photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was 'beaten' while in custody.
Alam was detained on August 5 and now on seven-day remand following a case filed against him under ICT Act. Thousands of students, including school children, have been blocking streets to protest the July 29 killings of two students by a speeding bus.
"Yet again, Bangladesh authorities seem determined to take abusive shortcuts  to problems, and then denounce those who criticize," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
"The authorities should immediately release anyone, including Shahidul Alam, they have locked up for peaceful criticism. Instead, authorities should prosecute those, including members of the ruling party's youth supporters, who are attacking children with sticks and machetes."
Following the protests, the government has promised an end to reckless driving, regulate traffic and enact a new road safety law.
The Bangladesh government should ensure that security forces respect basic human rights standards on the use of force, including in dispersing demonstrations, the HRW said.
The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials provide that officials "shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force." When using force is unavoidable, officials must exercise restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.

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