Dhaka fares poorly in HR record
State Department report for 2005 says
The US State Department in a report released yesterday said Bangladesh fares poorly in human rights record and the government continues to commit numerous serious abuses.
The abuses include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest, politically motivated violence and killings, impunity for security forces and violence against and restrictions on journalists, among other things.
The State Department’s Human Rights Report 2005 said security forces committed numerous extrajudicial killings. The police, Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) used unwarranted lethal force.
“There was an increased number of killings by security personnel. Nearly all abuses went uninvestigated and unpunished,” the report said. “The resulting climate of impunity remained a serious obstacle to ending abuse and killings. In the few instances where charges were levied, punishment of those found guilty was predominantly administrative.”
About deaths in the hands of law enforcement agencies, it said the deaths, all under unusual circumstances, occurred while an accused was in custody or during police operations. However, the government described the deaths of some identified criminals as occurring in crossfire between the RAB or police and criminal gangs.
It described the country’s political situation violent, adding that ‘violence often resulting in deaths was a pervasive element and that vigilante killings were common.
“While the law prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, security forces, the RAB, and police routinely employed physical and psychological torture as well as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment during arrests and interrogations.
Torture consisted of threats and beatings and the use of electric shock,” the report said.
The authorities frequently violated law prohibiting arbitrary arrest and detention. Police were generally ineffective, reluctant to investigate persons affiliated with the ruling party, and were used frequently for political purposes by the government.
Individuals were not always able to criticize the government publicly without fear of reprisal, and the government often attempted to impede criticism by prohibiting or dispersing political gatherings.
“Although the government is secular, religion exerted a powerful influence on politics,” the report said. “Discrimination against members of religious minorities existed at both the governmental and societal level, and religious minorities were disadvantaged in practice in such areas as access to government jobs, political office, and access to justice.”
Discrimination against Ahmadiyas continued during the year. The government ban on the publishing of Ahmadiya literature continued to be stayed by the high court, and the government did not appeal the stay to the appellate court, effectively allowing Ahmadiyas, for the time being, to publish their materials. At times police allowed, and even assisted, demonstrators in removing signs referring to Ahmadiya mosques as mosques.