Emergency in Bangladesh breeds impunity
31 December 2006 7:00 pm
Bangladesh began their year with an Emergency declared by President
Iajuddin Ahmed on 11 January 2007, only days ahead of elections slated
for 22 January 2007. With elections planned for the end of 2008,
another full year of Emergency in Bangladesh will only further degrade
their human rights situation.
Although the Constitution of Bangladesh had not been suspended, fundamental rights had been suspended. This meant that no citizen has been able to resort to enforcement of these rights through a court of law, giving unlimited scope to the security forces to exercise their might and commit heinous violations of human rights with impunity.
In August 2007, excessive force was used by Army personnel on students at Dhaka University after they demonstrated against the military-backed interim government. The Army used disproportionate force and teargas to placate the students, which erupted into full-fledged violence and prompted the government to issue a curfew for seven days.
An alarming 220,178 citizens had been detained from January to May 2007, and nearly half of the detainees had been picked up without any specific charges, as reported by the Daily Star on 25 June 2007. Statistics from the Home Ministry revealed a total of 18,985 people were arrested in April and 19,542 in May, either on suspicion or under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Act. Odhikar, a FORUM-ASIA member, revealed in a press release on10 December that since 12 January, there have been 169 extrajudicial killings in the country.