The rise of a vigilante who kills rapists is a sign of society's failure to stop violence against women, he said
The emergence of "Hercules" is a sign of society's failure to protect women, National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh (NHRC) Chairman Kazi Reazul Haque has said.
“Hercules” has recently come to attention as a vigilante by killing several suspected rapists and leaving a note on their bodies saying "Rapists, beware."
"The rise of Hercules shows our collective failure to prevent violence against women," the NHRC chairman said at a seminar on "Measures for Preventing Sexual Harassment", held at Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) auditorium on Wednesday.
"The government has fallen behind on tackling the issue of violence against women, which has given rise to such vigilante acts," Reazul said. "Such killings should never be accepted, and the perpetrators of any crime should be brought to trial."
He further said that alongside the government, every citizen should be working to combat sexual harassment. "Strict implementation of existing laws is of the utmost importance," he said.
In the current societal context, the country needs a separate law to free workplaces and educational institutions from sexual harassment, the NHRCB chief said.
Meanwhile, UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh Kyoko Yokosuka said although the government has taken several steps, they have not proven to be enough. "The time has come to go all in, include all stakeholders and work together to implement all the measures," she said.
Sohrab Hossain, senior secretary of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Ministry of Education, said: "Women generally do not protest against harassment when they use the streets or public transport, or if they face it in their workplaces.
"Many men in institutions or offices engage in harassment," he said. "If laws are enacted properly, gradually, the situation will improve."
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Labour and Employment Secretary Afroza Khan said female garment workers are among the demographic that is most victimized. "But since the floor administration is mostly managed by males, they rarely protest or disclose such behaviour."
The secretary emphasized on establishing a well-managed monitoring process, besides enacting laws.
Representatives from various government departments, women development organizations, foreign NGOs, and students, among others, attended the seminar.