Dhaka, Aug 30 (EFE).- Dozens of family members of alleged victims of enforced disappearance on Monday held a protest in Bangladesh’s capital, calling for justice and demanding the return of their kin.
The protest was held in Dhaka’s National Press Club under the banner of Mayer Daak, a platform consisting of mothers whose children have been allegedly made to disappear by government agencies since 2009.
The protest, held on the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, was joined by local human rights defenders, civil rights activists and academicians.
“Disappearance is being used systematically in Bangladesh. (…) Mostly opposition activists and dissenting people are a victim of this. It is possible only if policymakers are involved or they have given direct or indirect approval,” local human rights activist Nur Khan Liton told EFE.
In a statement on Monday, nonprofit Human Rights/Watch said concerned foreign governments should impose targeted sanctions against Bangladesh’s top security force commanders implicated in enforced disappearances and other grave abuses.
“The Bangladesh government has demonstrated absolutely no interest in investigating the role of its security forces in hundreds of enforced disappearances,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.
“Governments should act to ensure that the Bangladesh security force officials responsible face sanctions on their international travel, overseas assets, and use of international financial services,” he added.
According to a 2019 report by Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), titled “Vanished without a Trace: The Enforced Disappearance of Opposition and Dissent in Bangladesh,” at least 507 people are believed to have been subjected to enforced disappearance in the country between 2009 to 2018.
Out of the list of 507 victims, compiled by civil society groups, 62 people were found dead, 286 returned alive, while the whereabouts of 159 disappeared persons are still unknown according to the report.
According to a similar report released by HRW in August 2021, there had just been three cases of forced disappearances when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office in 2009.