Enforced Disappearances: UN working group wants to visit Bangladesh
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances wants to undertake a visit to Bangladesh in relation to two cases of enforced disappearances.
The cases of enforced disappearance are those of Ansar Ali, allegedly abducted on April 18, 2012, from Dhaka by armed men believed to be state agents, and Saidur Rahman Kazi, allegedly arrested from Jashore Municipality Park on April 5, 2017, by police personnel.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances discussed the issues at its 123rd session in Geneva from 15 to 19 February, held to examine more than 600 cases in 36 countries, according to a statement of the Group.
The UN Working Group comprises five independent experts — Chair-Rapporteur Tae-Ung Baik (Republic of Korea), Vice-Chair Henrikas Mickevicius (Lithuania) and other members Aua Balde (Guinea-Bissau), Bernard Duhaime (Canada), and Luciano Hazan (Argentina).
The statement said the experts examined allegations regarding obstacles in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, such as regressive legislation and practices, or systemic failures in addressing cases of enforced disappearances.
Issues such as disappearances perpetrated by non-state actors, as well as enforced disappearances occurring in the context of transnational transfers, were also discussed.
The Working Group also discussed internal matters and future activities, including country visits planned for 2021 and 2022.
The statement said on September 1, 2020, the Working Group, jointly with other special procedure mechanisms, sent an allegation letter to Bangladesh concerning alleged threats against and acts of intimidation and legal prosecution of blogger Asaduzzaman Noor, and the ongoing harassment of his family members in Bangladesh.
The Working Group noted with concern that it has been raising similar reports regarding the situation of enforced disappearance in Bangladesh for several years, but was alarmed that it continues to receive cases, many of which relate to individuals linked to opposition political parties, and by the apparent impunity for the practice in the country.
“It also strongly regrets the lack of engagement with the Working Group. In this regard, the Working Group notes that it has not received replies to any outstanding cases this year and that only one case has ever been clarified since the Working Group transmitted the first case to the government in 1996.”
The UN Working Group hopes to receive information on the outstanding cases as soon as possible, while reiterating its interest in undertaking a visit to Bangladesh, as expressed in several communications since 2013.