12:00 AM, July 08, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 08, 2012

Disbanding Rab

NHRC chief slates HRW statement

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Our Correspondent, N'ganj

A foreign organisation like Human Rights Watch cannot recommend disbanding the Rapid Action Battalion, Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mizanur Rahman said yesterday.
“It solely depends on Bangladesh. The government will decide which force will be in action and which will not,” he told a view-exchange meeting at the court premises in Narayanganj city's Chandmari area.
“Can we ask for disbanding the US army simply because allegations have been made against them for killing many innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he questioned.
In a modern civilised democracy, noted the NHRC chief, a public organisation cannot turn into a party organisation.
Other than the NHRC, many local rights bodies have raised their voice against extrajudicial killings, crossfire deaths and forced disappearances, said Mizanur.
Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra, was the chief speaker at the meeting, organised by Manabadhikar Ainjibi Parishad's Narayanganj unit.
Regarding the report of New York-based HRW, she said local rights bodies have been talking about the issues for quite some time now.
She added: “But there is a difference between the language of their [HRW's] recommendations and that of ours.
“We have always suggested that the Rab should stick to its terms of reference. But now we see that it [Rab] has deviated from that.”
Sometimes the Rab shows that people are delighted to see the killings (of terrorists), but curbing terrorism in this way is illegal, anti-constitutional and extra-judicial, she mentioned.
Advocate Khalilur Rahman presided over the meeting.
The HRW released a report on Wednesday in the capital. It claimed that the ongoing trial in 2009 BDR mutiny is fundamentally flawed and the accused are subjected to gross human rights violations.
The rights body called upon the government to immediately halt the trial and disband the Rab.
Meanwhile, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has alleged that the Bangladesh government has planned to arrest the rights activists who provided information for the recently published report of HRW.
In a statement, the AHRC claimed that they have learnt from reliable sources that there are discussions among some quarters in Bangladesh government to arrest the rights activists.
The government is also considering to charge them with treason, sedition and other criminal offences, added the statement.
The AHRC urged the government not to take any action against any human rights organisation or rights activist, for whatever contribution they might have made to the report.

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