Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights body, has urged the Bangladesh authorities to assist the United Nations in inquiries of enforced disappearances. The local and international watchdogs have been saying for years that the Bangladesh law enforcers are involved in enforced disappearances which often occurred targeting political oppositions of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League.
Before the recent statement of the Human Rights Watch, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had a three-day visit to Bangladesh. During her visit, Michelle Bachelet called on the government to work closely with the families and the victims to establish a mechanism to investigate the allegations of the enforced disappearances.
Despite the mounting international pressure to deal with the matters, Bangladesh authorities looked reluctant to take necessary steps for the same. Recently, a Sweden-based news portal, Netra News, published interviews of two victims of the enforced disappearances who claimed that they were detained for months in a secret centre in Dhaka. The victims were quizzed by Netra News separately, and interestingly their claims about the location of the secret detention centre were the same.
After Michelle Bachelet left Dhaka after her last official mission before her tenure ends on August 31, nearly all media outlets in Dhaka published news articles saying Bachelet expressed no concern about Bangladesh's human rights situation in her end-of-mandate statement in Geneva. The first such report was published on August 26.
But within days after Bangladesh's media arena was inundated with this news, the UN said they regret the misinformation about Bachelet's statement.
While the Bangladeshi media outlets claimed that the High Commissioner didn't express any concern about Bangladesh's human rights situation, the UN said its rights boss actually issued her grave concern about the human rights situation of Bangladesh and stressed on the need for an independent and impartial body to investigate the human rights violations in Bangladesh.
Anisul Haque, the Law Minister of Bangladesh, also claimed Bachelet's statement doesn't have any concern regarding Bangladesh's human rights situation.
On August 30, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, families of the victims urged the UN to form a body to investigate the allegation of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh. They ruled out the idea of vesting the responsibility to investigate the allegation to the Bangladesh government.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 86 people are missing and they are claimed to be the victims of the enforced disappearances. According to other local and international rights bodies, the number of real victims of enforced disappearances is more than 500.
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