UN urged to reshape rights mechanisms to address extrajudicial executions

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The Asian Legal Resource Centre and Odhikar have asked the UN Human Rights Council to consider amending the human rights mechanisms so that the entrenched problems of extrajudicial executions can be addressed. The Hong Kong-based rights group and the local rights organisation made the urge in a written submission on Monday on the basis of experience working on extrajudicial executions in Bangladesh, saying, ‘No judicial or administrative remedies are accessible for such crimes.’ Extrajudicial executions in Bangladesh have been gradually institutionalised for the last decade or so. Since the creation of the Rapid Action Battalion in 2004, human rights groups have documented hundreds of cases of such arbitrary deprivation of life by agents of the state, the written submission stated. It said that at first, so-called ‘wanted criminals’ began to be executed under the pretext of ‘crossfire.’ Then, the government started eliminating so-called ‘underground leftist political activists.’ Later, political and other parties started hiring law-enforcement agencies for their ‘skills’ to assassinate their rivals. And, now, the government uses extrajudicial executions against the opposition to weaken political counterparts. The prevailing culture of impunity, coupled with incapability of the criminal justice institutions, has only guaranteed injustice to the victims and their families, the written submission said, adding that the entire Judiciary was tuned and tamed to the extent that it behaves the way the incumbent government wished. The government is consistently promoting extrajudicial executions, as the ALRC reported to the council in the 28th Regular Session. At the same time, the authorities are denying the aggrieved families access to the complaints mechanisms, through constant threat and intimidation, it said. The government representatives are routinely misleading the international community about the grave realities on the ground, the written submission stated, adding, ‘consistently, false and misleading information has been provided to the council.’ It said that despite the sincerity of the council, the entire human rights mechanisms at its disposal had not been able to address the problem that had mushroomed in the last several years. One of the main reasons behind the absence of protection from gross human rights violations is the absence of competent criminal justice institutions. Hundreds of victims do not get access to the public justice system in Bangladesh, due to ongoing intimidation, threat, and further persecution, it stated. The UN human rights mechanisms require reshaping to meet the needs of victims for the purpose of protecting their rights, it said. The ALRC and Odhikar urged the UN Human Rights Council to take the leading role in initiating reforms of criminal justice institutions.

Source: New Age