The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) expresses its concern about the recent rise of the cases of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh. In a single district of Munshigonj, 8 bodies have been found in a period of one week. Many families are claiming that their relatives were disappeared after members of the law enforcing agencies picked them up.
Cases of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh are nothing new. During the liberation war in 1971, many people were disappeared and in the last 40 years, disappearances continue under various regimes.
The recent spate of enforced disappearances is alarming and only adds to the disrespect for human rights, the long practise of impunity; and a weak criminal justice system prevalent in Bangladesh at this time.
We urge the Government of Bangladesh to take immediate initiatives to search for and recover the disappeared persons: take actions against the perpetrators; and cooperate with the human rights organisations which are vocal in stopping the cases of enforced disappearances.
We also urge Bangladesh to accede to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Bangladesh is a signatory to the major international conventions including International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR,) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention Against Torture (CAT) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which protect the rights of the people from various crimes and injustices. Therefore, AFAD expects that the Government of Bangladesh take appropriate steps that prevent cases of disappearances, which are rapidly turning into a systematic pattern of gross violation of human rights.
We remind the Government of Bangladesh as Bangladesh, which has been elected second term at the UN Human Rights Council, that it has the duty to ensure the right to life and protection of the law. Regardless of who perpetrated the crime, it is the duly of the state to see that proper justice is done and that the families of the disappeared get closure.
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO