New cabinet should address human rights situation
A human rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra has published a report on extrajudicial killings. This report states that, Bangladesh saw record extrajudicial killings of 466 people, either in custody or in reported 'gunfight' and 'shootout', in 2018. 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.
This number of extrajudicial killings is almost triple the number recorded in 2017. Of the 466 people, 292 were killed in the nationwide anti-drug drive that began on May 4, 2018. Following the launch of the anti-drug drive extrajudicial killings took an alarming turn.
Besides extrajudicial killings, 34 people were victims of enforced disappearance in 2018, of whom 19 were traced later. Most of those who were traced later sent to jail in criminal cases. On top of it, 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.
Why shouldn't one question the hidden reasons behind extrajudicial killings and violence committed on the country's citizens - be it by state or non-state actors? Well, answer may vary depending on one's political biasness. However, if one is biased to justice and human rights then she/he will stand to protest this. Otherwise, extremism, state version as well as non-state version, would rise in society in the consequence of the unabated extrajudicial killings and there would be no safety and security of the people.
In a democratic country, such a scary state of human rights situation is not acceptable anyway. It is the duty of new administration to look at this issue with outmost importance. Continuation of such violence will ultimately delegitimize the formal judicial system and will impact overall security situation. Therefore, it is the high time for the government to invest energy and careful planning in this regard.