Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bangladesh: Impunity encouraging killings of human rights defenders

Amnesty International charges that successive governments in Bangladesh have failed to stop the assassination of people promoting human rights in the country which has encouraged such killings to increase in a climate of total impunity.

Titled a href="">Bangladesh: Human rights defenders under attack, the report highlights arbitrary arrest, torture and filing of unfounded criminal charges by government agents against those who dare to speak out on human rights abuses in the country. Such people are routinely subjected to death threats, physical attacks and sometimes assassination. Perpetrators are individuals or groups usually linked to armed criminal gangs, political parties or mercenary gangs thought to be linked to local politicians.

The government's inaction has led to a climate of impunity in which physical harassment, torture and assassination go unnoticed and unquestioned.

claimed Madhu Malhotra, Deputy Programme Director for Amnesty International.

At least eight people who spoke out against human rights abuses in Bangladesh have been assassinated since 2000 by assailants believed to be linked to armed criminal gangs or armed factions of political parties. Scores of others have been seriously injured, some permanently, and require continued medical attention. Several journalists have had their fingers or hands deliberately damaged to prevent them from holding a pen.

Amnesty International is calling on the Bangladesh authorities to implement safeguards against arbitrary arrest and torture of human rights defenders and ensure rigorous investigation of reports of death threats and attacks against people who expose human rights abuses in the country.


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