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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 103
January 24, 2009

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Human rights monitor
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Human Rights monitor

Violence against women in 2008

VIOLENCE against women is widespread in Bangladesh and in most of the cases the victims are underprivileged, poor women. Despite specialised criminal laws for protecting women the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act, the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Child Marriage Restraint Act, the Acid Crime Control Act, to name a few -- instances of violence against women- especially dowry, domestic violence and rape have not decreased in any significant manner. The major reasons why women do not get justice are: barriers to accessing the justice system, police corruption, mismanagement of vital evidence, and ignorance of the law and a lack of proper medical reports. However, due to social 'values' and stigma many women do not disclose the violence. The number of women who experience violence including rape, dowry related violence, beatings, torture and murder is high in impoverished sections of society and particularly among women who live in rural areas of Bangladesh, both in domestic situations and outside the home.

Between 01 January and 31 December 2008 a total of 454 women and girls were reported as victims of rape. Among them 202 were women and 252 girls . Of them, 68 women and 30 girls were killed after being raped and one woman committed suicide. Among those raped 110 women and 70 girls were the victims of gang rape.

Rape by law enforcement agencies: In 2008, 4 women/ girls were raped by law enforcement agencies. Among them 3 were raped by police and 1 by RAB.

In July, a girl (14) was raped by a RAB-11 member Abdul Gafur at Sonargaon of Narayanganj. She was raped near a bus stand by him. Later local people and police captued him.

In July, another girl (16) was raped by a Sub-Inspector Rezaul Karim, GRP Police Station at Kamlapur of Dhaka. The girl was collecting waste papers in the Railway station area. When she went to the GRP toilet to relieve her, Rezaul raped her.

In August, a woman came to the Savar police station for Genaral diary. Then SI Abu Bakar Siddiqqui took her with microbus to arrest the criminal. On the way she was raped inside the microbus.

In September, a girl (6) was raped by Jail Police Samsul Haq Hawlader at Sariatpur. She was raped when she was working in the kitchen of Jail Police.

In October, a woman was raped by Sub Inspector (SI) Abdul Hamid at Rajshahi. She was raped at her home.

Acid violence
Acid violence is the term used for the violence perpetrated when a person throws acid to another person's body. A total of 133 people; 73 women, 34 men and 26 children, were reported as victims of acid attacks in 2008.

Acid is frequently sold ignoring the law (the Acid Control Act 2002) as the monitoring is poor. According to the Acid Control Act, 2002, whoever produces, imports, transports, stores, sells and uses acid without licence could be sentenced to three to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment with fine. People who possess equipment used for producing acid without having the licence to do so could be sentenced to three to 15 years' rigorous imprisonment with fine.

Acid is sold freely at the city's Tantibazar, only a quarter of a kilometre away from the Deputy Commissioner's (DC) office which is responsible for controlling production, transport, storage, usage and sale of acid. Taking advantage of the authorities' inactivity, the acid market is running rampant increasing incidents of acid crimes in the country.

Dowry related violence
In 2008 a total of 269 women were victims of dowry violence. However Odhikar believes that the actual figure is higher than this. Many women in Bangladesh depends upon the earning of the husband and due to social pressure and having no where else to go, many women have to live with dowry related violence.

Source: Odhikar.


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