Violence Against Women: 2020 worse than past two years | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:51 AM, January 01, 2021

Violence Against Women: 2020 worse than past two years

1,627 women raped or gang-raped amid pandemic, says ASK

Rape and violence against women were more frequent in 2020 than in the previous years, rights body Ain O Salish Kendra said yesterday.

It mentioned that incidents of gang rape, murder after rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence have occurred too often.

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At least 1,627 women were raped or gang raped across the country, of whom 53 were killed after rape and 14 died by suicide. The number of rape victims was 1,413 in 2019 and 732 in 2018, ASK mentioned in its annual report.

The report based on media reports, was released at a virtual programme yesterday.

ASK said the actual number of rape victims would be much higher as many women do not report abuse.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The freedom of expression has been curtailed and repression increased during the pandemic, ASK said in its report.

The number of cases filed under the Digital Security Act has increased. At least 129 cases were filed under DSA in 2020 accusing 268 people, it added.

HEALTH SITUATION

The report said public suffering was a regular scenario in the beginning of the pandemic with denial of treatment by various public and private hospitals, Covid-19 test report forgery and artificial crisis of various life-saving equipment including oxygen.

It observed that the shortcomings of Bangladesh's preparedness became apparent after the first detection of Covid-19 cases in March.

KILLING IN 'SHOOTOUT'

At least 188 people were killed in so-called shootouts or crossfires, the report said. The number of shootouts, however, decreased drastically after July 31 when Teknaf police shot a retired Army Major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan in the name of shootout.

DEATH IN CUSTODY

At least 11 people were killed in law enforcers' custody after their arrest. Besides, five others were tortured to death by the law enforcers before their arrest.

ABDUCTION AND ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE

Six people were victims of enforced disappearance or abduction in 2020. Of them, four were later shown arrested by law enforcers while two others are still missing.

For example, journalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol went missing after he came out of his Hatirpool office on March 10, a day after a ruling party lawmaker filed a case against him and 31 others under Digital Security Act.

Fifty-three days after his disappearance, Kajol was found in Benapole but was subsequently arrested and sent to jail.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS SITUATION

As many as 201 women were sexually assaulted last year and 14 of them died by suicide. At least 14 persons including 11 males were killed while protesting the incidents.

Besides, 554 women faced domestic violence and of them 367 were killed while 90 others died by suicide while 423 faced domestic violence in 2019.

ABUSE AND KILLING OF CHILDREN

A total of 589 children were killed while 1,018 children were among rape victims and 279 others were sexually assaulted. The number of children killed in 2019 was 488.

BORDER KILLINGS

At least 49 Bangladeshi citizens have been killed along the India-Bangladesh border by Indian Border Security Force in 2020.

The rights body said at least 15 people were killed in 2018 while the number rose to 43 in 2019.

At the programme, ASK Executive Director Golam Monowar Kamal presented a 10-point recommendation including stern action against those involved in corruption in health sector.

The Ask reiterated its demand to form independent inquiry committee for impartial investigation into extra judicial killings, deaths in custody, incidents of enforced disappearance.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The freedom of expression has curtailed and repression increased during the pandemic, Ask said in its report.

The number of cases under the Digital Security Act for harassment and subsequent arrest has been increased. At least 129 cases were filed under DSA in 2020 where 268 people were made accused, it added.

 

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