Bangladesh: Civil Society Joint Alternative Report to the UN Committee against Torture

24/06/2019
FIDH at the UN

This Alternative Report is submitted to the United Nations (UN) Committee against Torture (CAT) on the occasion of its review of Bangladesh’s implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“the Convention”). This submission focuses on the submitting organisations’ concerns about Bangladesh’s failure to implement the Convention. This submission is not an exhaustive account of violations and presents information that our organisations were able to document and verify.

Bangladesh ratified the Convention in October 1998. Since its accession to the Treaty, Bangladesh has not submitted the initial report for almost twenty years. Five periodic reports have been pending during this period. This attitude of successive Bangladeshi governments exposes their protracted lack of commitment to international human rights treaties. As a result, the measures that Bangladeshi authorities at the legislative, judicial, administrative, and executive level have taken to implement the Convention’s provisions could not be known through the CAT’s periodic review process.

In April and May 2019, OMCT, together with Odhikar, organised two national workshops prior to the preparation of the report, which were attended by human rights defenders, lawyers, academics, victims, and aggrieved families. The reports of the workshop are integrated into this report.

The information in this report is also based on collected data, cases documented and fact-finding missions carried out by OMCT’s local, regional and international partners. Human rights defenders have been carrying out fact-finding missions into incidents of torture for over 20 years. Furthermore, OMCT in collaboration with Odhikar, conducted high-level missions in 2016 and 2017. The joint missions met with prison authorities, officials from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, members of the Judiciary, members of the National Human Rights Commission, representatives of embassies and international organisations, representatives of domestic and international non-governmental organisations, human rights and political activists, lawyers, and several torture victims and their families. Moreover, this report is complemented by the joint Odhikar and OMCT report “Cycle of Fear” published in July 2019 and also submitted to the CAT. FIDH also conducted several country missions to Bangladesh in last two decades. Those missions met with victims of torture, families of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, human rights advocates involved in assisting the victims of human rights cases, professionals, and foreign diplomats in order to understand the human rights situation comprehensively. In April 2019, FIDH published its latest report titled “VANISHED WITHOUT A TRACE: The enforced disappearance of opposition and dissent in Bangladesh.” Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights also conducted a mission to Bangladesh in recent years to assess the ground realities regarding the human rights situation in the country.

Our organisations believe this report will contribute to giving justice to the victims of torture and other gross violations of human rights in Bangladesh.

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