Probe alleged enforced disappearances
HRW urges govt05 February 2023
Staff Reporter :
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the authorities of Bangladesh to carry out an investigation about the recent allegations of enforced disappearances and torture by members of the police Detective Branch.
HRW has mentioned a number of incidents including the alleged police custodial death of 38-year old shopkeeper Mohammad Rabiul Islam in Gazipur and alleged police tortures of a lawyer Abu Hossain Rajon in the capital, and a journalist Raghunath Kha in Satkhira district.
Bangladesh's Detective Branch has previously been implicated in allegations of grave human rights abuses by local human rights groups, including enforced disappearances and torture, Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said on February 3.
She further said, "Allegations of torture in Bangladesh are rarely investigated or prosecuted.
Following a review in July 2019, the UN Committee Against Torture described the Bangladesh police as a "state within a state," asserting that "in general, one got the impression that the police, as well as other law enforcement agencies, were able to operate with impunity and zero accountability."
Only one case of torture has ever been convicted under Bangladesh's Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act since it was passed a decade ago, according to media reports, HRW observed.
Bangladesh has ignored repeated requests from the UN Committee Against Torture to follow up its recommendations, as required. The Committee's
recommendations included independent monitoring of all detention sites and investigation of all allegations of torture or ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.
Bangladesh security forces are under increased scrutiny following the designation of human rights sanctions by the US government and in the lead-up to general elections slated for early 2024.
HRW said that Bangladesh authorities should implement the recommendations by the Committee Against Torture, investigate allegations, and hold perpetrators to account.