Bangladesh


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Bangladesh Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

There are a wide range of grave human rights issues in Bangladesh.

The Government of Bangladesh is responsible for multiple human rights violations, including unlawful killings and disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture. Some of these have been in response to attacks by armed groups claiming to act in the name of Islam. Disappearances occur at an alarming rate, often of supporters of opposition parties such as Bangladesh National Party and Jamaat-e-Islami. Unlawful arrests occur frequently, as does torture in security force custody. Rights to freedom of speech and assembly are under assault, as the Government applies repressive laws and presses arbitrary criminal charges against journalists who publish criticism of the government. Other media and civil society activists also report threats and intimidation.

Armed groups have attacked and killed dozens of secular activists, LGBTI people, and foreign nationals. Among these groups are Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansar el Islam, which respectively claimed allegiance to Islamic State and al-Qaeda. A number of secular activists and bloggers have been hacked to death in targeted killings.

Government restrictions remain in place on access to the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The right to freedom of expression of journalists and human rights organizations are curtailed. Women and girls in the area face multiple forms of discrimination and violence.

The death penalty remains in effect. The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a Bangladeshi court established to investigate the genocide and war crimes that occurred in the 1971 independence war, has convicted a number of people of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and several have been executed. Although horrendous abuses were committed during the 1971 war, UN human rights experts have expressed concern about irregularities and the fairness of the ICT trials.

Violence against women and girls is a serious problem, including rape, dowry-related violence, acid attacks, and domestic violence. In addition, Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Poor implementation of laws and ineffective investigations help lead to a culture of impunity and a continued high rate of violence and discrimination.

An acute humanitarian crisis began in August 2017 when more than 655,000 of Myanmar’s mainly Muslim Rohingya fled to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to escape violence inflicted by the Myanmar military in northern Rakhine State. Newly arrived Rohingya live in difficult conditions and are not permitted to leave the camps.

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