HRW calls for ‘meaningful’ steps to combat sexual violence in Bangladesh

09 October 2020 ONLINE DESK
HRW calls for ‘meaningful’ steps to combat sexual violence in Bangladesh


A student wearing a protective mask takes part in a protest demanding justice for an alleged gang-rape of a woman in Noakhali, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Dhaka, Oct 6, 2020. REUTERS
A student wearing a protective mask takes part in a protest demanding justice for an alleged gang-rape of a woman in Noakhali, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Dhaka, Oct 6, 2020. REUTERS
Bangladesh should take meaningful action to combat sexual violence against women and to support the survivors, said the Human Rights Watch.
“Bangladeshi women have had enough of the government’s abject failure to address repeated rapes and sexual assaults,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at the Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Friday.
“The Bangladesh government needs to finally make good on its empty promises and heed activists’ calls to take meaningful action to combat sexual violence and to support survivors.”
The human rights watchdog made the call after a video of a group of men attacking, stripping, and sexually assaulting a woman in Noakhali went viral, erupting a countrywide protest.
Protesters called for the resignation of Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan over the government’s failure to address an alarming rise in sexual violence against women and girls.
Though the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has sought to remove the video from the internet, it continues to circulate widely.
“My life is already ruined,” the survivor told the media. “I am now worried about my children, especially my daughter.”
Eight men have been arrested in the case. But protesters called for the government to finally take the country’s sexual assault problem seriously.
According to Ain o Salish Kendra, a Bangladeshi human rights organisation, 907 women or girls were raped in just the first nine months of 2020. Over 200 of these cases were gang-rape. Since these numbers are based on media reports and most survivors do not report assault, they most likely capture only a small fraction of the true number of cases of sexual violence against women and girls in Bangladesh.
In the meantime, the government has yet to pass long-promised sexual harassment and witness protection laws. Survivors continue to face stigma, and do not have adequate access to psychosocial services when they seek help, HRW said.

Source: bdnews24.com 

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