Bangladeshi authorities detained 32 more returning migrant workers after they were deported from Syria, taking the total number of such arbitrary arrests to at least 370 since 4 July 2020. The 32 workers were arrested in Syria while trying to reach Italy and other European countries. They returned to Bangladesh on 13 September 2020 after Syrian government commuted their jail terms. In Bangladesh, the authorities detained them for “tarnishing the image of the country” by allegedly engaging in criminal activities, while no credible evidence concerning their alleged crimes has yet been provided in any case. Their arrest and detention violate Bangladesh’s obligations under international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They must be freed immediately unless they are promptly charged with recognizable offense.
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Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin
Embassy of Bangladesh
3510 International Drive NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 244 0183
Fax: 202 244 2771 | 7830
Email: [email protected]
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2FzcITR
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Honorable Minister Khan,
I am gravely concerned by the repeated arrests of returning migrant workers in Bangladesh. The arbitrary detention of 32 returning migrant workers from Syria on 28 September 2020 takes the number of such detention of migrant workers from countries including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Vietnam to at least 370 since July this year. In each case, the police accused them of “tarnishing the image of the country” by engaging in criminal activities abroad. Dhaka’s magistrate court has granted police requests to detain the workers until the police can determine their offense, even without requiring any specific allegation or evidence against them.
The arrest and detention of these workers in the absence of any credible evidence of any criminal activity committed on Bangladeshi territory violate Bangladesh’s commitment to international human rights law including Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention and protects everyone’s right to liberty. This is not only a clear violation of their human rights but fails to acknowledge that migrant workers are the lifeblood of Bangladesh’s economy which has earned $18.2 billion in remittances in the fiscal year 2019-20. Such ill-treatment of these workers is an injustice to their hard work and labor and tarnishes your own government’s image.
I urge your government to either immediately charge each of the workers with a recognizable criminal offense under Bangladeshi law while ensuring the necessary due process or release them in line with your government’s obligations under international human rights law.