Bangladesh’s explanation in enforced disappearance cases ‘insufficient’, says UN working group

Bangladesh’s move to respond to the UN group’s queries came almost two months after the US State Department sanctioned seven top serving and retired RAB officials in December last year, citing human rights violations and other abuses by it, a move that was viewed very disapprovingly by Dhaka as an unfriendly act.

May 27, 2022
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Bangladesh’s explanation in enforced disappearance cases ‘insufficient’ (Photo: Twitter)

The information and explanation provided by the Bangladeshi authorities in 66 of 76 cases of enforced disappearances over decades are “insufficient”, said the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, and asked Dhaka to take "decisive steps" to find people.

The UN group had sought information and clarification from Bangladesh in 76 cases of enforced and involuntary disappearances. And, earlier this year, Dhaka, for the first time, responded to the request by providing answers.

The group, in its report, said that information provided in 66 cases was insufficient for any clarification. However, the group has appreciated Bangladesh’s engagement and attempt to provide information on all cases, many of which are decades old.

"The Working Group requests that the Bangladeshi authorities take decisive steps to initiate the search for disappeared persons or their remains," said the report. Searching for forcibly disappeared persons, it says, is a continuing obligation.

Among the 76 cases, the UN body transmitted two cases to the government under its "urgent procedure" -- those of Imam Mahady Hasan and Mohammad Omar Faroque, both were suspected to have been arrested by its infamous Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in 2021 and 2014 respectively.

In February, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mesud bin Momin had told the media that nine out of the 76 people listed missing in the UN working group reappeared. He said more people would be found either in Bangladesh or outside. [Read More]

Bangladesh’s move to respond to the UN group’s queries came almost two months after the US State Department sanctioned seven top serving and retired RAB officials in December last year, citing human rights violations and other abuses by it, a move that was viewed very disapprovingly by Dhaka as an unfriendly act.

For Dhaka, the sanctions on the RAB, which is one of its elite paramilitary forces for fighting organized and drug-related crimes, were a setback and could hamper its cooperation with western capitals, whose support is also critical for resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis.
(SAM)