August 10, 2019
The UN Committee Against Torture has expressed concern over the allegations of routine torture, ill-treatment by Bangladeshi law enforcement
The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) has recommended that the Bangladesh government commission independent inquiry into allegations of torture and ill-treatment raised against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
The UN agency unveiled its findings on human rights records in Bangladesh, along with several recommendations, yesterday, according to a news release forwarded by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.
The findings, officially termed concluding observations, contain positive aspects of Bangladesh in implementing the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, highlight the UN body’s main matters of concern in terms of human rights violation, and make recommendations regarding the allegations of such violations.
In the report, the Committee Against Torture expressed concern at consistent reports alleging widespread and routine torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials for the purpose of obtaining confessions or to solicit the payment of bribes, the lack of publicly available information on these cases, and failure to ensure accountability for law enforcement agencies, particularly the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
The committee is seriously concerned at numerous, consistent reports of arbitrary arrests, unacknowledged detention and enforced disappearances, and reports of excessive use of force, including in the context of recent elections and public demonstrations.
The other observations
The UN Committee Against Torture expressed concern about alleged pressure on the judiciary that constrains fundamental legal safeguards. The limited use of the mandate of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate torture was noted as an issue.
It also expressed concern about inadequate prison conditions, violence against women and ethnic and religious minorities, and corporal punishment in law and against children. It is also concerned about trafficking, including that of the Rohingyas. It noted that civil society activists and human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists have faced harassment and violence for dealing with torture cases and other serious human rights violations.