Rights activists have urged the government to reform rape law as it obstructed the proper punishment of the perpetrators.
Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust organised the national conference at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka on Saturday
Speakers expressed their satisfaction over the High Court’s 18-point guideline to ensure justice against the gender-based violence and to give protection to women, girls and children from being subjects of rape or any kind of sexual violation.
Speakers said the HC banned the two-finger test stating that it was neither scientific nor reliable.
Former Supreme Court Justice AFM Abdur Rahman said that definition of rape in law was not appropriate as the Penal Code was enacted in 1860.
He said that though the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act was formed in 2000, the definition of rape was the same.
‘When people demand amendment of any law, lawmakers only think about the punishment avoiding other issues regarding the incident,’ he said.
‘We should form laws which will not only ensure exemplary punishment of the rapists, also focus on strengthening moral values of the members of a society so that rapists are not created,’ he added.
BLAST adviser and former Supreme Court Justice Md Nizamul Huq said that the definition of rape should be set considering the present situation as it was set in 1860 considering the reality of that time.
He said, ‘At present it is difficult to prove rape in the court.’
Rights activists demanded that the government should formulate victim-friendly laws which would oblige the alleged rapist, instead the victim, to prove himself innocent.
National Human Rights Commission member Nurun Nahar Osmani said that rape perpetrators remained unpunished for seven major causes, including the victims’ families’ unwillingness of filing cases, lack of evidence and faulty charge-sheet.
BRAC human rights and legal aid services programme manager Mitali Jahan said that while doing a study in this regard, they found that only 61 rape incidents, out of 667, were recorded for trial.
BLAST executive director Sara Hossain said that both compensation and punitive measures should be kept in laws for addressing rape offences.
Teachers of Dhaka University and Jagannath University, NGO activists and researchers addressed the seminar, which was attended, among others, by around hundred lawyers.
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