Disappearances reach a horrific proportion | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 22, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 22, 2012


Disappearances reach a horrific proportion

To be in denial is unacceptable

It is with a jarring trepidation that we note the revelations by the human rights organization Aine O Salish Kendra about the increasing number of disappearances allegedly at the hands of law enforcing agencies. No less than 100 persons have been victims of disappearances since the present government assumed office in January 2010. Of all the victims, only three have been released and 21 found dead while the rest remain missing.
What can be a more damning indictment on the government's failure to uphold the rule of law? The test of good governance is in securing the lives of its citizens. If constantly stalked by the fear of abduction involving even high-profile individuals, how can the ordinary people ever feel secure at home and in the streets? What is more appalling; there has barely been any progress in investigations into the abduction cases and no clue as to the fate of the missing persons, far less their whereabouts.
We have repeatedly stressed that any act of disappearance amounts to the worst possible impingement of human rights. There are laws to deal with anyone suspected or accused of crimes. They just can't be made to vanish into thin air.
Normally, when a disappearance takes place we regard it as an act of a criminal. Then it is linked to either business or political rivalry. But for the last three years since Operation Clean Heart and formation of RAB the finger is getting pointed to them. This is very sad and worrisome.
We recall the Home Minister Shahara Khatun dismissing outright the allegation that the abductors were not law enforcers in 'plainclothes'. However, the law enforcing agencies have yet to prove the allegations wrong since all the incidents remain a mystery for lack of proper investigation. Sometimes even investigations have not got underway. It is noteworthy that Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman has complained time and again of the concerned agencies' negligence in replying to the commission's queries about incidents of abduction.
The denial and trivialization modes that the government settles into in the face of huge number of disappearances are simply unacceptable.

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