Sunday, June 10, 2018

European union's limp response to mass extra judicial killings

Once again, European Union diplomats in Bangladesh have failed to take a firm position on the Bangladesh government's egregious human rights record.

On June 4, the EU heads of mission in Bangladesh, along with Norway, issued a ridiculously weak response to the government's policy of killing over hundred alleged drug traders.

Instead of describing the deaths as alleged extra judicial killings - which is what the evidence suggests that they were - it referred to the deaths as resulting from:
"excessive force in the drive against narcotics."
Whilst the Bangladesh government would deny that the deaths were the result of 'excessive force', this description falls within the general Bangladesh government narrative that its law enforcement bodies were involved in legitimate law enforcement activity. The EU is saying that the force used was a bit much.

In fact the evidence evidence suggests that these deaths were straightforward murders committed by law enforcement authorities - in which people were picked up and killed in cold blood. They should be referred to as alleged extra judicial killings.

Of course, it should be said that the European Union statement was stronger than the really absurdly poor UN Drug Office statement that was issued three days earlier which did not even criticise what the Bangladesh government were doing. It simply stated that countries should:
"adhere to their commitments to promote balanced, human rights-based approaches to drug control"
A bit of credit should be given to the EU statement, I suppose, in that it at least did talk about investigations into the deaths (something that the UN Drugs statement failed to do), stating:
We expect the authorities to ensure that all incidents involving the deaths of alleged criminal suspects are investigated fully and in accordance with due processes.
However, we all know that this is not going to happen - and I think we can bet that the EU wont be putting any more pressure on the government about those investigation.

The EU should learn from the statement given by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which:
 "condemned the alleged extra-judicial killings of suspected drug offenders in Bangladesh and urged the authorities to ensure that these serious human rights violations are immediately halted and perpetrators brought to justice."

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Sajeeb Wazed Joy's dictionary of new political terms

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the son of Bangladesh's prime minister has recently published not one but two extraordinary articles which not only denies that the country's law enforcement authorities are involved in enforced disappearances - the picking up, secretly detaining and often killing of men in Bangladesh - but also that the police investigate every single one of these disappearances and found no evidence of state involvement. 

In fact, not only is there overwhelming eye-witness evidence that law enforcement and intelligence agencies including Rapid Action Battallion, the Detective Branch of the Police and DGFI are involved in picking these men up (over 400 since the government came to power) and that in some of these cases, but also new evidence that the prime minister herself - Sajeeb's mother - has personally authorised some disappearances including that of one person whose whereabouts, 20 months after his pick-up, remains unknown. Moreover, far from the investigating disappearances, the Bangladesh police don't even allow most families to report them. To read a response to Joy's articles see here.

In his articles, Joy defines "enforced disappearances" as 
"fictitious attempts by accused criminals to avoid prosecution and accountability."
Bangladesh Politico has now got its hands on a few pages from Joy's new dictionary of Bangladesh political terminology - and we can for the first time publish some more definitions.

  • Awami League - the only legitimate political party in Bangladesh;
  • Caretaker government - a mechanism of ensuring more fair elections in Bangladesh which had to be stopped as it risked allowing the election of a party other than the Awami League;
  • Corruption - thievery, larceny and kleptocracy solely conducted by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and other parties that support it;
  • Democracy - When elections results in the victory of a party led by Sheikh Hasina;
  • Election Commission - a group of trustworthy and incorruptible administrators who say and do exactly what the Awami League asks it to say and do;
  • Extra-judicial killing - when a criminal, often under the influence of drugs, shoots himself, (sometimes having handcuffed himself first);
  • Freedom of Speech - freedom to speak about the greatness of the Awami League, its current leader and her family members;
  • Freedom of Assembly - a freedom that prevents members of the opposition parties from congregating and speaking against the Awami League;
  • International Crimes Tribunal - a process which complies with all standards of a fair trial, other than the ones that could allow the accused to properly defend themselves;
  • ISIS - a group that exists in every country other than Bangladesh;
  • Police investigation - an inquiry which results in a finding that a crime was committed by a leader, activist, member or supporter of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and other opposition parties and concludes that no member of the governing party was involved;
  • Terrorism - any activity conducted primarily by the opposition political parties.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What Bangladesh media failed to publish about UK parliamentary report

If you only read Bangladesh newspapers, and news websites, you might think that the recent UK parliamentary report, “Bangladesh, Burma and the Rohingya Crisis” published by the select committee on international development was full of applause for Bangladesh. This was because all the newspapers which wrote about the report – including the Dhaka Tribune, The Independent and New Age – simply published verbatim the highly misleading press release, titled UK Parliament praises Bangladesh economic growth, written by the Bangladesh government news agency BSS, rather than actually looking at the report itself.

Whilst it is certainly true that the committee report praised Bangladesh’s overall economic growth, and the government’s role in the Rohingya crisis, it was highly critical of the current government’s human rights record. In fact it was damning. This is what it had to say.

Monday, June 4, 2018

UN Drugs body fails to criticise Bangladesh on drug killings

In a period of 17 days, between May 15 to June 2, Bangladesh law enforcement authorities have killed 132 men in what they call 'anti-drug' operations.

The authorities claim that these men were killed in gunfights with the law enforcement authorities.

However, there is now significant evidence, as reported in local media, that many if not the vast majority of these men, were murdered by law enforcement authorities. After being picked up by law enforcement authorities - and whilst in state custody - these men were simply killed.

In this scenario, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has issued an extraordinary lax statement that fails to criticise or condemn the Bangladesh government or their law enforcement authorities at all. No wonder the Bangladesh government believes it can continue this current killing spree with impunity.