South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Call to end RAB impunity needs heeding

Published in The Daily Star on Sep. 21 ::

Violation of citizens’ rights to state protection by its own agencies has become so blatant that it can only be ignored at our own peril.  Indeed, It simply does not admit of any relapse into denial mode with prevarications like ‘deaths in encounter’or ‘what- could- we- do-if –someone- made-himself –disappear?

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday calling upon the Bangladesh government “to bring back the state security forces, including police and the RAB,within the bounds of law.” The EP stressed investigation and prosecution in regard to alleged illegal killings by the RAB forces,release  of anyone subjected to enforced disappearances unless they can be charged with ‘a recognizable criminal offence’ and establishing an independent body to investigate such cases.

It is worth noting that we are bringing the embarrassment  on us in spite of domestic public outcries for arresting the trends.The media ,civil society including rights activist and legal aid groups have been constantly hammering at the violation of human rights,immunity of RAB  and police  and urging   the government  to apply a decisive brake  on tearing the rule of law apart.

It deserves mention though that in a dramatic instance, largely nudged by court, RAB arrested some of its own officials for their role in the Naryanganj seven murder case and the are being put through the full force of law. Although the strike force claims it does not enjoy any impunity the reality on the ground speaks otherwise. There is little doubt in any mind that RAB needs to be made answerable for its conduct, especially where they are in breach.