The year of 2019 has experienced nearly double number of rape incidents than that of the last year while the situation of freedom to expression was curtailed, according to a report of rights watchdog Ain o Salish Kendra published on Tuesday.
The report entitled ‘human rights situation 2019: Ain O Salish Kendra’s observation,’ prepared on the basis of media reports and ASK investigation, said that a total of 1,413 women fell victim to rape, 76 were killed after rape while 10 of them committed suicide after rape. The number of rape victims was 732 in 2018 and 818 in 2017.
Eighteen women killed themselves, while 17 people, including four women, were killed in attacks for protesting at sexual harassment incidents in the outgoing year.
The report said that the dress codes, behaviour and security measures to be taken by the adolescent girls as well as the description of the girls of different shapes — described in the Class VI and IX-X home economics textbooks of the 2019 academic years — were not appropriate and conveyed racist and sexist messages towards the students.
The report said that 487 children were killed and 1,696 children were tortured in 2019 but the number was 419 and 1,011 respectively in 2018.
A total of 1,087 children were raped and sexually assaulted in the outgoing year, almost two and a half times higher than the number in 2018 when the number was 444.
Abu Ahmed Faijul Kabir, senior coordinator of ASK, read out the synopsis of the report at a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The report said that a total of 43 Bangladeshis were killed along border in the outgoing year though the number was 14 in 2018.
It said that the country witnessed a total of 388 extra-judicial killings in 2019. The number of victims in extrajudicial killings was 466 in 2018.
A total of 13 people faced enforced disappearance in 2019 after allegation that people impersonating members of law enforcement agencies picked them up. Five of them came back and eight are still missing, the report said.
The report said that the situation in the field of rights to expression was worrying in the outgoing year and the country witnessed harassment of journalists as well as common people using the Digital Security Act 2018 that was passed amid criticism by rights activists and journalist community.
It said that 142 journalists were tortured and harassed by the law enforcement agency members, influential people, public representatives, miscreants and ruling party leaders and activists. The number was 207 in 2018 and 122 in 2017.
It said that political activities, meetings and rallies of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and leftists were obstructed at places at times in the outgoing year.
According to the report, at least 39 people were killed and 2,689 people injured in 209 political clashes in 2019.
The clashes took place between law enforcers and different political parties, Ruling party members and opposition parties and intra-party conflicts of different political parties.
In 2018, at least 34 people were killed in political violence.
The report said that a total of 65 people were killed in mob beating, including those on suspicion of being child kidnappers.
The report said that the experts think that people, out of frustration over the existing law and judicial system, were taking laws in their hands and, that is why, such incidents were happening.
ASK executive director Sheepa Hafiza, executive committee secretary general Tahmina Rahman, and senior deputy director Nina Goshwami also spoke.
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