• Sunday, Dec 05, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:27 am

HRW calls for UN probe, sanctions over Bangladesh ‘enforced disappearances’

  • Published at 08:43 pm August 16th, 2021
Mohammad Parvez Hossain BNP
Farzana Akter holds the portrait of her husband Mohammad Parvez Hossain, a BNP activist who disappeared in December 2013, in Dhaka AFP

The rights watchdog released a report identifying 86 political activists, businessmen and student members of BNP who went missing over the past decade

Human Rights Watch yesterday called for a United Nations probe into the alleged enforced disappearances of Bangladesh’s opposition activists, demanding sanctions on the officials found responsible.

The rights watchdog released a report identifying 86 political activists, businessmen and student members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) who went missing over the past decade.

It said disappearances have become a "hallmark" of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's rule since 2009, a tool for curtailing free speech and criticism.

"We want the UN and other international experts to launch an independent investigation, because it has become quite clear that the Bangladesh authorities are willing to look away and even provide impunity for these kinds of abuses," Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW's South Asia specialist, told AFP.

HRW called for "targeted sanctions" on members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB),  the elite police squad accused of carrying out many of the disappearances.

There was no comment on the allegations from the government or the RAB, which has been accused in the past of rights abuses including extrajudicial killings.

Other rights organisations have said 600 people have been seized in the past decade, and that those who have been freed are too scared to speak out.

The Odhikar monitor reported 16 suspected enforced disappearances in the first half of 2021.

"These enforced disappearances have created a terrible environment of fear," said Nur Khan Liton, a former chief of Ain o Salish Kendra, a leading Bangladesh rights group.

Senior government officials have in the past denied that security agencies had seized anyone, saying the alleged victims have gone into hiding.

'Why would he be killed?'

In one of the cases listed by HRW, low-level BNP activist Mohammad Parvez Hossain disappeared in December 2013, allegedly abducted with three friends.

"They went out to buy birthday flowers for the son of a party colleague and never returned," said his wife Farzana Akter, who was pregnant at the time.

A few weeks later, Hasina won a general election by a landslide.

Akter, now 30, said police repeatedly refused to discuss her husband's case.

She now relies on her family to help raise her 10-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, who has never seen his father.

"If the government says my husband is in hiding, then why don't they find him?" she said.

"He didn't commit any crime, didn't kill or rob anyone. He was not corrupt. Why would he be killed?"

Facebook 56
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail