Bangladesh government failed to prosecute security forces for serious abuses including killings, disappearances, and arbitrary arrests, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2015 released today.
“Government forces committed serious abuses both leading up to and after the January 2014 general election, while opposition parties engaged in violent and indiscriminate attacks to impose economic blockades and to enforce a boycott of the January polls,” it said.
In spite of well-documented evidence, the government took no steps to ensure accountability for any election-related violence or for other violations by its security forces, HRW said.
“The arrest of a few members of RAB is a positive move, but the government must ensure that justice is not dealt out selectively, depending on family or political connections,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.
“The government essentially gives security forces free rein so long as it suits the government’s interests, and turns a blind eye to excesses. This has long been a trend in Bangladesh, regardless of which party is in power,” he added.
In its rearview on 2014 on findings of 90 countries, the HRW said the last year was marred by attacks, abductions and killings, in Bangladesh.
“Child marriage persists as a serious problem. Conditions for the Rohingya refugee population from Burma remained critical with the government making dire threats about forcibly returning them,” the report said.
However, the rights group praised the completion of fire and safety inspection of “more than 2000 factories” in readymade garment industry after the Rana Plaza incident.
“At long last, the government and the international community found the will to improve the terrible conditions of the workers in Bangladesh’s garment industry, but that momentum must be maintained,” Adams said.
“There must be a guard against complacency and thinking that enough has been done, when in fact the task of ensuring safety to all of Bangladesh’s factory workers, in all industries, has only just begun,” he said.