Sheersha Khobor Dot Com
Bangladesh saw record extrajudicial killings of 466 people, either in custody or in reported ‘gunfight’ and ‘shootout’, in 2018, almost triple the number recorded in 2017, said a report published by human rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra on Thursday.
Of the 466 people, 292 were killed in the nationwide anti-drug drive that began on May 4, 2018, said the report, disseminated at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
The report said that the extrajudicial killings took an alarming turn following the launch of the anti-drug drive.
According to the data of human rights organisation Odhikar, the number of victims of extrajudicial killings was 456 between January 1 and November 30 in 2018, 155 in 2017, 178 in 2016, 186 in 2015, 172 in 2014, 329 in 2013, 70 in 2012, 84 in 2011, 127 in 2010, 154 in 2009, 149 in 2008, 184 in 2007, 355 in 2006, 396 in 2005, 240 in 2004, 81 in 2003, 83 in 2002 and 44 in 2001.
Addressing the press conference, Ain o Salish Kendra executive director Sheepa Hafiza urged the government to form a ‘judicial inquiry commission’ to investigate the incidents of extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearance.
She also demanded that the government should find out the victims of enforced disappearance on an emergency basis and sign the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
When asked, National Human Rights Commission chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque refused to comment on the figure of extrajudicial killings.
He, however, said that not a single incident of extrajudicial killings was expected in society. ‘We have sent all such allegations from different organisations to the home ministry for inquiry, but received no written response,’ he added.
Former caretaker government adviser M Hafiz Uddin Khan said that the rising number of extrajudicial killings exposed the absence of rule of law and accountability of the law enforcement agencies and the government.
He warned that extremism would rise in society in the consequence of the unabated extrajudicial killings and there would be no safety and security of the people.
Ain o Salish Kendra senior coordinator Abu Ahamad Faizul Kabir, reading out the report on Human Rights Situation in 2018, said, ‘Overall human rights situation in the outgoing year was alarming and extrajudicial killings continued round the year.’
Besides extrajudicial killings, 34 people were victims of enforced disappearance in 2018, of whom 19 were traced later, he said.
‘Most of those who were traced later sent to jail in criminal cases,’ Faizul said.
He said that 732 women were raped in 2018 and 63 of them were killed and 7 committed suicide after rape.
Besides, 1,011 children were tortured and 444 were raped or sexually harassed in 2018 while 283 children were killed, 108 committed suicide and 28 died mysteriously, he said.
He said that 470 incidents of electoral violence were reported in which 34 people were killed between the announcement of the schedule of the 11th parliamentary elections on November 8 and December 31 in 2018,
Of the deceased, 19 were Awami League supporters, 4 were Bangladesh Nationalist Party supporters, one was Ansar member and 10 were common people, he said.
In 2018, he said, the parliament passed the Digital security Act that incorporated the elements of controversial sections of the Information and Communication Technology Act. There were fears of using the sections for infringe the right to expression, he said.
Ain o Salish Kendra executive member Tahmina Rahman and director Nina Goshwami were also present.
Sheersha Khobor / A A
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