HRFB demands rejection of police proposal
THE Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB), a network of 19 rights bodies, has expressed grave concern over the recent police proposal to amend the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act 2013, terming the recommendations as unconstitutional and in violation of fundamental human rights.
The above-mentioned act was passed in 2013 amidst demands by rights groups and concerned politicians to outlaw police torture and custodial death and address widespread impunity enjoyed by law enforcers.
Earlier this month, the police headquarters sent a letter to the home ministry, proposing to scrap Section 12 of the act that says no excuses like war situation, threat of war, political instability, state of emergency, or orders of senior official or the government authorities will be acceptable for any crime under this law. If this section is dropped, it would be tantamount to giving blanket impunity to law enforcers to use torture to extract information and/or forced confessions from detainees, an abhorrent practice that Bangladesh is obligated to prevent and punish, as per the dictates of our constitution and the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in 1998.
According to prominent human rights organisation, ASK, at least 60 people died in law enforcement custody in 2014 and countless others were tortured. That the law enforcement agencies against whose members allegations of torture are being brought are pushing for exemption from accountability is, indeed, worrisome.
In tune with the HRFB, we urge the government to reject the recommendations and ensure the public that torture in police custody would not be tolerated, much less encouraged.