Torture institutionalised in Bangladesh: ALRC

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:23, Feb 28,2018 | Updated: 00:39, Feb 28,2018

 
 

The Asian Legal Resource Centre, a legal and rights organisation based in Hong Kong, has said that torture has been institutionalised in Bangladesh.
In a written submission to the 37th regular session of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, it says the notion of law-enforcement does not exist in Bangladesh without the use of torture at the core of its functionality, according to a release issued by the ALRC on Tuesday.
The letter titled ‘Bangladesh: Law on torture is useless in a broken justice mechanism’ observes that ‘Crime investigation and torture are synonymous’.
‘The institutionalised practice of torture and the political dependency on such torturous system has made Bangladesh a ‘police state’ in the post-‘war on terror’ era’, ALRC said.
It said though Bangladesh’s National Parliament enacted the Torture and Custodial Death (Prohibition) Act-2013, the incumbent government did not use the law.
Moreover, the Bangladesh Police have been insisting that the government amend the anti-torture law so that the perpetrators of the state agents do not suffer any problem, in case the law is ever used assertively.
The ALRC says that in the successive years police officials have been demanding amendment to the act. The latest instance is of January 8, 2018 when prime minister Sheikh Hasina was attending the Annual Police Week programme.
The prime minister’s assurance of ‘considering the possibility of amending’ the law further proves the government’s hollow commitment to ensuring justice for the victims of torture.
It also clearly shows that the Prime Minister owes to the police for their torturous actions, the release adds.
The ALRC says that in the given condition of political patronage by the highest governmental authority crimes like knee-capping in police custody are increasing in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s justice institutions characteristically contribute to the process of nourishing the torturous and coercive law-enforcement system.
The judiciary – from the magistracy to the Supreme Court – does not provide remedies to victims of torture, kneecapping, and of other gross abuses of human rights. Rather, the sub-ordinate judiciary often orders that the detainees be sent to ‘police remand’ for further ‘interrogation’ responding to the wish of the police, even though it is nationally known that ‘remand’ is synonymous with ‘torture’ in police custody.
The judiciary is not even ignorant about the behaviour and practice of the police, ALRC said.
The victims of torture do not get access to the complaint mechanism.
The ALRC notes that the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has never been invited to visit Bangladesh.
The UN Human Rights Council requires re-examining the effectiveness of the human rights mechanisms, which should not be as failed as the justice mechanism of Bangladesh in protecting the victims of torture and other forms of violation of rights. 

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