Rights activists on Thursday said that violence against women was increasing alarmingly in Bangladesh due to culture of impunity and lack of accountability.
In a discussion they also said violence against women was exerting a negative effect on women’s human rights and political participation.
Odhikar organised the discussion to observe the International Women’s day, 2018 where the organisation expressed its solidarity with all the female family members of the victims of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh to continue their struggle.
A report, compiled by Odhikar, a rights organisation, showed that 124 women were killed, 11 women committed suicide due to dowry related violence, 259 women and 633 children were raped between January 2017 and February 2018.
A total of 45 females were victims of acid violence, 268 girls faced sexual harassment, 144 women were physically abused and 92 were victims of attempted rape.
While presiding over the meeting, women rights activist Farida Akhtar criticised the government decision to extend the tenure of female reserved seats till 2025 in the National Parliament.
She, also executive director of UBINIG, said that participation of female students in politics had gone down due to insecurity.
Pointing out that all forms of violence against women had increased, Odhikar’s gender expert and researcher Taskin Fahima observed that practice of illegal dowry led to the violence against women.
The repression against women was not decreasing due to dysfunctional criminal justice system and lack of political will, she added.
Odhikar secretary Adilur Rahman Khan said that currently women’s participation in politics in Bangladesh had become meagre due to the absence of rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and rights to freedom of expression and opinion.
He alleged women rights organisations were not showing solidarity in the incidents of state repression where female family members were victimised. The speakers also called the government and relevant stakeholders to protect the rights of female political prisoners from torture and degrading treatment in the cases of recent mass arrest, while demanding an end to all violence against women.