Crossfire and Violation of Human Rights in Bangladesh: A Critical Review

Crossfire and Violation of Human Rights in Bangladesh: A Critical Review

Md. Awal Hossain Mollah (University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3479-3.ch102

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine the state of violation of human rights by crossfire through law enforcing agencies in Bangladesh. Though the law enforcing agencies are primarily responsible for maintaining the law and order, protection of life and property of the citizens and prevention and detection of crime to establish rule of law in a society, however, the violation of human rights by the law enforcing agencies in Bangladesh has increased severely for the last few years. This paper critically examines the existing legal framework of governing the law enforcing agency, causes of violation of human rights and finally pinpoint some recommendations for the eradication of the pitfalls of security forces.
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Background

This section focuses on the major elementary issues and background of the violation of human rights in Bangladesh. Primarily, crossfire and violation of human rights was a media term in Bangladesh, however, now widely used to express the murder of a criminal or accused in a gunfight event between members of law enforcement agencies and criminal groups. It alleged by the media, opposition political parties and civil society that law enforcing agencies are pressured to get quick results, often with unofficial guarantees that they may use any means possible to accomplish the task at hand. This occurrence is facing enormous criticisms in the home and abroad and considered as a violation of human rights.

Human Rights

The definition of human rights is a debating issue but it has been discussing as a burning issue from time immemorial. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. Every single citizen is equally entitled to human rights without discrimination (United Nations, 2016). Human rights, deprivation and unequal allocation of resources have been issues for then West Pakistan (now Bangladesh) between 1947 and 1971. The people of Bangladesh struggled for 23 years to ensure and establish their rights. In 1971, Bangladesh was independent but three million people lost their lives, ten million fled across the border to India and 200,000–400,000 women were raped, leading to approximately 25,000 pregnancies (Linton, 2010:194). Could anyone imagine how brutally human rights are violated in Bangladesh? Though 47 years of independence have passed, however, violation of human rights is still continuing in Bangladesh. The country struggled to overcome significant barriers to the realization of human rights: a repressive police force, poverty, corruption, unequal distribution on of wealth and opportunities, and a slow legal system. The state apparatus deliberately suppressed human rights, extraterritorial actors and the dynamics of regional and global hegemony allowed limited human rights for the people (Halim, 2010).

Rapid Action Battalion

In 2004, the government of Bangladesh introduced the elite anti-crime force called the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) following arise in the rate of crime in the country. The RAB was created through the “The Armed Police Battalions (Amendment) Act, 2003,” and published in the Bangladesh Gazette of July 12, 2003. The primary tasks of the RAB were to maintain internal security; recover unauthorised arms, ammunition, explosives and other such articles; apprehend armed gangs of criminals; assist other law enforcement agencies in the maintenance of law and order; gather intelligence; investigate any offence concerning the government; and, any other such duties as the government requires from time to time. Seconded members from six services such as the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Air Force, the Bangladesh Police, and members of Bangladesh’s other law enforcement groups such as Border Guard Bangladesh and Bangladesh Ansars joined the RAB (Human Rights Watch, 2011). This force has been accorded with special power with special salary and benefits package. They are better equipped than the regular police force. For example, in order for them to arrive at the crime scene fast, they are given a helicopter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Death in Custody: Death in custody is a death of a person in the jail, in prison or custody of the police or other government law enforcing authorities.

Law Enforcing Agencies: In Bangladesh law enforcing agencies includes, Police, Army, Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB), Industrial police, Highway police, CID, SB, 11 Training institutes, 6 Metropolitan Police, 7 Range, Railway Range, and the Special Women Police Contingent (SWPC).

Enforced Disappearance: In international human rights law, a forced disappearance (or enforced disappearance) occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization, or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the person's fate and whereabouts, with the intent of placing the victim outside the protection of the law.

Crossfire: The term ‘crossfire’ is synonymous of the term ‘death in an encounter’ which is used by law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh.

Extrajudicial Killing: Extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities, law enforcing agencies or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.

Human Rights: Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. Every single citizen is equally entitled to human rights without discrimination (United Nations, 2016 AU94: The in-text citation "United Nations, 2016" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

RAB: Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is an elite force created through the The Armed Police Battalions (Amendment) Act, 2003 to control crime in Bangladesh.

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