391 extrajudicial killings in 2019, human rights situation alarming: Odhikar

Staff Correspondent | Published: 02:16, Feb 11,2020


Human rights organisation Odhikar in its ‘Annual Human Rights Report 2019: Bangladesh’ said that the country witnessed a total of 391 alleged extrajudicial killings and that the human rights situation in the country remained quite alarming throughout the year.

About National Human Rights Commission, the rights watchdog said, the rules for the formation of NHRC are not satisfactory for they failed to ensure the formation of an independent commission. It also added that the Awami League government formed the commission led by people loyal to it and turned the commission into a government-controlled and subservient institution.

Despite widespread incidents of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and violation of freedom of expression and assembly taking place in the country, the NHRC was seen busy dealing with petty crimes, land-related disputes, extortion, drug abuse and public service-related issues, bypassing grave human rights violations.

The report dubbed NHRC a failed institution as it remained silent on human rights violations.

Of the 391 people falling victim to extrajudicial killing, 376 were killed in ‘crossfire or encounters or gunfights’, six were allegedly tortured to death by police, eight were shot to death and one was beaten to death by police, the report said.

It summarised that a total of 34 people faced enforced disappearance in the year and, of them, 8 were found dead, 17 returned alive and the whereabouts of the remaining 9 is still unknown.

The report said that 56 people were lynched in 2019, mainly due to mistrust on criminal justice system and the number was 48 in 2018.

In 2019, a total of 70 were killed and 3,467 were injured in political violence and in 2018, a total of 120 people were killed and 7,051 injured in similar violent events.

The report said that some 102 journalists were injured, harassed, threatened and sued in 2019 though the number was 126 in 2018.

It said that a total of 1,080 females, including 330 women and 737 children were raped in 2019 and the rape incidents almost doubled than those in 2018 when the country witnessed a total of 635 rapes.

In 2019, the report said, the country witnessed killing of 41 Bangladeshi nationals though the number was 11 in 2018.

‘Odhikar’s Annual Human Rights Report 2019 highlights such issues as part of the destruction of democracy and violations of rights to freedom of speech and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and of depriving people of their rights to life in general.

After the Awami League took power through controversial and farcical elections in 2014 and 2018, incidents of human rights violations, politicisation of institutions and corruption became rampant. Thus, the government now easily set out to implement its political agenda through various state institutions, including the Election Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the National Human Rights Commission, the report said.

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