The overall human rights situation in Bangladesh remained at an alarming level in the first six months of 2018 due to a sharp rise in cases of extra-judicial killings and custodial deaths, and a high number of cases of rapes and sexual assault of women across the country, a rights body said in its report.
A total of 275 people have been killed during incidents of ‘gunfight’ and ‘crossfire’ with law enforcers, in custody of law enforcement agencies, or being shot by law enforcers, while 427 women were raped across the country between January 1 and June 30 this year, according to the statistical report on the country’s human rights situation published today by human rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK).
ASK prepared the report on information based on news reports published in the national daily newspapers and also on its own findings.
The rights body also strongly urged the government to uphold and ensure the human rights of the country’s people as it is their constitutional right to live and receive justice.
EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING, CUSTODIAL DEATH
According to the ASK report, among the 275 victims of extra-judicial killings, 176 have been killed between May 15 and June 30 alone in so called ‘gunfights’ with law enforcers amid the ongoing nationwide anti-narcotics drive that began on May 4, according to the report.
So far 66 people were killed in ‘crossfire’ with Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), 141 with police, 31 with DB police, and one with Naval police, the report revealed.
Also, three were killed in police custody, two in custody of DB police and one in custody of Rab, while two were shot dead by police and three by detectives, it also read.
A total of 18 bullet-hit bodies were recovered , while one reportedly committed suicide in prison and five died in police custody being ill, the report added.
Also, 50 people died in prison during the last six months, including 22 prisoners and 28 detainees.
The number of victims of extra-judicial killing in just six months this year stands much higher when compared to the figure from last year.
A total of 162 people were killed in “crossfire”, “shootout”, and “gunfight” with law enforcement agencies and in their custody in 2017, according to ASK’s report on the country’s human rights situation published on December 31. The number of such deaths was 195 in 2016, 192 in 2015 and 128 in 2014.
RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Meanwhile, a total of 427 women were raped across the country in the six months of this year among whom 37 were killed after rape and three committed suicide, according to the report.
Also, 58 women became victims of sexual assault and three of them committed suicide, while 57 were attempted to be raped and one committed suicide after this. Four men were killed trying to protest incidents of sexual assault, while another 69 women and men became victims of assault and repression during this time.
According to the ASK report last year, 818 women were raped across the country in 2017, among which 47 were killed after rape and 11 committed suicide. In 2016, a total of 659 women were raped. Also, 255 women were victims of sexual assaults last year, a figure which was 244 in 2016. Among those, 12 committed suicide, and three women among 13 were killed as they tried to protest.
In the six months of this year since January 1, a total of 204 women became victims of domestic violence, among which 144 were killed, 30 committed suicide, and 30 others were physically tortured.
Also, 112 women became victims of dowry related incidents, including 44 being killed over dowry, 52 physically tortured, and four having committed suicide.
CHILD TORTURE AND KILLING
The report also revealed that 856 children became victims of killings, torture and repression across the country so far this year. Among those, 148 were killed, 58 committed suicides, bodies of 61 were recovered including eight after abduction, one child died due to miscarriage after rape, and 16 others died mysteriously.
The figure was 1675 in 2017, 415 in 2016, and 133 in 2015.
REPRESSION ON JOURNALISTS
A total of 90 journalists were victims of torture, assault, harassment, threatening and faced obstacles while performing their duty. Also, body of a journalist was recovered from his apartment in Dhaka.
REPRESSION ON RELIGIOUS MINORITIES
The cases of attacks on minorities including the Hindu community so far this year included attack and vandalism of 28 Hindu idols, temples and puja mandaps, arson and vandalism of six houses across the country. A priest was also killed at Chatmohar in Pabna.
A total of 258 cases of such attacks on religious minorities took place in 2017, 391 in 2016 and 317 in 2015.
Meanwhile, on the border, three were killed in torture by Indian Border Security Force (BSF), nine were injured and eight were abducted.
The last six months also saw 24 people being killed in mob beating, the report read.
Also, authorities enforced Section 144 for 12 times at different places in eight divisions, according to the report.