2 May 2018, Wed, 2:13

73 killed extra-judicially so far in 2018: Odhikar

Extrajudicial killing, mostly in the form of 'crossfire' or 'gunfight', has increased in the first few months of this year, shows an Odhikar report.

At least 73 people have fallen victim of such killings which the rights group considers as violation of human rights, in the country till April 2018.

The number of extrajudicial killing was 19 in January, seven in February, eight in Mach and 29 in April, said the monthly monitoring report of Odhikar or ‘Rights’, a Bangladeshi human rights defender.

 According to Odhikar, the country saw loss of 154 lives in extrajudicial killings in 2017, 178 in 2016, 186 in 2015, 172 in 2014 and 329 in 2013.

"There is a general increase in extrajudicial killings in the country because of the culture of impunity for the perpetrators," Odhikar secretary Adilur Rahman told Prothom Alo after releasing the report recently.

Human rights organisations at home and abroad blame law enforcement agencies for such violations.

Adilur Rahman mentioned that Bangladesh's human rights situation would be reviewed at the UN forum in Geneva in the middle of this month when the issues of such killings and enforced disappearance would arise.

"The review may focus on how far we have moved away from a democratic society," he said, referring to the violation of human rights in recent times.

The Odhikar report also found that more than 250 women were raped between January and April 2017. As many as 77 women faced sexual harassment or stalking.

Twenty one journalists were injured, seven more assaulted and another six threatened during the period, the report said.

The rising trends of extrajudicial killing this year bear similarity with that of 2013, the year before one-sided general elections held in 2014.

In the first four months of the year, 34 people were killed in political violence which left 1804 people injured.

In April, eight persons were killed and 327 injured in internal conflicts within the ruling Awami League while 12 were injured in conflicts within the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Odhikar pointed out that the police and many AL leaders and activists barred peaceful programmes organised by the BNP in protest against the allegedly politically motivated sentence against BNP chief Khaleda Zia.