The number of rape victims in Bangladesh has doubled in 2019 than that of the previous year, said Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) yesterday.
A total of 1,413 women were either gang-raped or subjected to rape last year. Of them, 76 were killed after rape and 10 others died by suicide, ASK said in its annual report.
The report was made based on different media reports and was released at a programme in Dhaka’s Jatiya Press Club.
According to the report, the number of rape victims was 732 in 2018 and 818 in 2017.
The report shows an alarming overall state of the country’s human rights situation though there was development in women’s participation in economy, political empowerment, education and health.
ASK said the actual number of rape victims are much higher as many victims kept mum and did not report the abuses.
Incidents of killing in the borders by Indian Border Security Force has tripled last year. It was 43 in 2019 whereas it was 14 in 2018, the report said.
Besides, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and violence against women and children persisted throughout last year, according to the report.
The Daily Star analysed ASK’s reports of the previous years and found that the rights body was advocating for improvement of the human rights situation coming up with almost similar findings every year.
In yesterday’s report, ASK recommended forming an independent inquiry commission to investigate all sorts of rights violation including rapes, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.
It also demanded to ensure freedom of expression, make amendment in the Digital Security Act, strengthen National Human Rights, Anti-Corruption Commission and Information Commission so that they can work independently.
ASK Executive Director Sheepa Hafiza, Senior Deputy Director Nina Goswami, and Senior Coordinator Abu Ahmed Faijul Kabir talked on the report in the programme.
WOMEN’S RIGHTS SITUATION
Like the rape incidents, violation of women rights and incidents of sexual assault increased last year than that of 2018.
As many as 258 women were sexually assaulted last year. The figure was 173 in 2018 and 255 in 2017.
Eighteen of the 258 killed themselves following being assaulted, while 17 people, including four women, were killed in attacks for protesting such incidents.
On the other hand, at least 167 women were tortured over dowry. Of them 96 died in torture while three others killed themselves.
The ASK report said the extra-judicial killings including killing in the name of shootout and death in custody are continuing amid protest by rights bodies.
At least 388 people became victim of extra-judicial killings last year.
Of them, 356 people were killed in so-called shootout amid the anti-narcotics drive, and 14 others died in custody.
The number of killing in so-called shootout and death in custody was a record 466 in 2018 while the figure was only 162 in 2017.
The death of alleged rapists in shooting and notes of admitting the killing by so-called Hercules hanging around their neck; the death of lawyer Palash Kumar Roy in fire inside jail also discussed in the report.
ABDUCTION, ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE
Abduction and enforced disappearance allegedly involving law enforcers decreased last year but spread panic among the public. The family members were refused to file complaints with local police stations in most cases, the report said.
At least 13 people fell victim to abduction and enforced disappearance. Of them, five were later found while eight are still traceless, it said.
For example, Mikel Chakma, belong to a minority community, was picked up from Narayanganj on April 9. But there is no trace of him still today, the report said.
In 2018, at least 34 people fell victim to abduction and enforced disappearance.
CHILD TORTURE AND KILLING
Child torture and killing increased too last year.
A total of 1696 children were victims of torture and killing last year. Of them, 487 were murdered. Besides, 11 boys were abused.
In 2018, around 1,011 were victim of torture and killing of which 419 were killed.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
The report said freedom of expression, though a constitutional right, has also been curbed on several occasions. Arrest, torture and attack for having dissent voice was persistent last year like the previous ones.
The report discussed the brutal murder of Buet student Abrar Fahad by Chhatra League men and repeated attacks on the Ducsu vice president Nurul Haque Nur.
Besides, at least 142 journalists faced repression and assaults by law enforcers, influential people, local representatives, criminals, political activists and government officials while performing their duty.
The number was 207 in 2018, and 122 in 2017.