US State Department Published Their Annual Human Rights Report On Bangladesh

The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by US government published today said, the  most significant human rights problems in Bangladesh were enforced disappearances, discrimination against marginalized groups, and poor working conditions and labor rights.
The report titled “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012” says that suspected extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and kidnappings continued, with human rights groups alleging the involvement of the country’s security services.
It also added that workers continued to face difficulties in forming unions and suffered from poor safety conditions in factories, highlighted by a factory fire on November 24.
About other human rights problems it says, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and custodial deaths, weak judicial capacity and resultant lengthy pretrial detentions continued to be problems.

About the Extra-judicial killing the report says, the government neither released statistics on total killings by all security personnel nor took comprehensive measures to investigate cases, despite statements by high-ranking officials that the government would show “zero tolerance” and fully investigate all extrajudicial killings by security forces. According to the media and local human rights organizations, no case resulted in criminal punishment and, in the few instances in which the government brought charges, those found guilty generally received administrative punishment. Some members of the security forces acted with impunity.
It mentioned that according to media reports, local and international human rights organizations, and the government, 70 persons were killed extrajudicially. These organizations believed RAB was responsible for 40 of the extrajudicial deaths, while combined security units consisting of RAB members killed six additional persons during the year. The deaths occurred during raids, arrests, and other law-enforcement operations. The government often described these deaths as “crossfire killings,” “gunfights,” or “encounter killings,” terms used to characterize exchanges of gunfire between RAB or police units and criminal gangs.

About the International Crime Tribunal and corruption in the Judiciary system it said, a longstanding temporary provision of the constitution undermined full judicial independence in practice. According to the provision, the executive branch is in charge of the lower courts, judicial appointments, and compensation for judicial officials.
HRW reported that law enforcement and government officials intimidated defense counsel for leaders of the Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami who were accused of war crimes.
Corruption and a substantial backlog of cases hindered the court system, and extended continuances effectively prevented many defendants from obtaining fair trials due to witness tampering, victim intimidation, and missing evidence. Human rights observers stated that magistrates, attorneys, and court officials demanded bribes from defendants in many cases filed during the year.

About the BDR trial it said, the courts used mass trials for Bangladesh Rifles mutineers, with up to 800 of the accused standing trial at the same time in military proceedings. HRW called for mass trial proceedings to cease and for each individual to be charged and tried for his own alleged crime. Most mutiny trials were completed by October 21, with 5,926 mutineers serving prison sentences ranging from four months to seven years. Cases for serious crimes associated with the mutiny, including murder, arson, and looting, continued in civilian courts at year’s end.

In the “Freedom of Speech and Press” section it says, there were some limitations on freedom of speech and perceived misrepresentation or defamation of Islam. Some journalists self-censored their criticisms of the government due to harassment. The report says, the government restrict speech deemed to be against the security of the state; against friendly relations with foreign states.

About the freedom of press it says, Journalists were subjected to physical attack, harassment, and intimidation from both state and nonstate actors. In its report citinf “Audhikar” it said, during the year four journalists were killed, 118 injured, 50 threatened, six attacked, and 43 assaulted.
About the media censorship it said, the government indirectly censored the media through threats and harassment. According to journalists, on multiple occasions government officials asked privately owned television channels not to broadcast the opposition’s activities and statements.

About the “Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association” it says, there were instances of governmental action to limit freedom of assembly during periods of political protest and unrest. It added that the government prevented political groups from holding meetings and demonstrations. It said, police or ruling party activists used force to disperse demonstrations.

About the “Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government” section it said, “Human rights groups, the media, the Anticorruption Commission (ACC), and other institutions reported government corruption during the year. Officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. The laws do not require elected or appointed officials to disclose their income and assets. The AL promised in its election manifesto that ministers and members of parliament would disclose their assets, but they did not.” In this section it also mentioned about the Padma Bridge Corruption.

Beside these, this report also talked about women right, Children rights and different issues.

Source: Taza Khobor