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507 enforced disappearances in BD in 11 years, 159 not traced
Audience at the last International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance in Dhaka

507 enforced disappearances in BD in 11 years, 159 not traced

Dhaka, April 18 – A new report from International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) establishes that enforced disappearances in Bangladesh constitute crimes against humanity, and calls on the international community to take all necessary measures to ensure that the government fulfils the right of victims to truth, justice, and reparation.
In a statement, it said a total of 507 were enforced disappeared from 2008 to 2018. Of them 62 found dead, 286 returned alive and till now 159 are still out of contacts.
The report illustrates how Bangladesh’s government has used enforced disappearances to silence members of the political opposition and dissenting voices.
Based on 30 interviews with victims of enforced disappearances that occurred between 2012 and 2018, their family members, eyewitnesses, and information from other civil society organizations, the report,
“Vanished Without a Trace: The Enforced Disappearance of Opposition and Dissent in Bangladesh,” details how State actors, including military and police, worked in tandem to make people disappear. Some returned home, alive but silenced. Some were found dead, supposedly killed in crossfires. Others never came back.
The statement said indirect victims who were left behind also suffered. According to testimonies gathered by FIDH, the family members of those who disappeared faced harassment by local authorities, trauma, and a general climate of fear. Relatives were often terrified by the potential consequences of seeking information about their loved ones’ fate or whereabouts. When they did take these risky steps, authorities were not cooperative, with law enforcement agencies and the judiciary taking no action to investigate these cases.
There is a clear pattern of Bangladeshi authorities using enforced disappearances to silence political dissidents, especially since 2011, the report found. Documented cases of enforced disappearance in
Bangladesh shares key features and modus operandi, strongly suggesting that they are part of a concerted strategy executed by State actors.
Far from being spontaneous and arbitrary acts, these attacks are systematic and amount to State policy.
This, combined with the fact that most of the victims were targeted on political grounds, qualifies these acts as a crime against humanity.
In the statement “FIDH condemns enforced disappearances in Bangladesh, which are part of an ongoing strategy of State-sponsored violence to suppress political opposition and dissent in the country.
The international community must recognize the seriousness of these crimes and intensify efforts to press the government of Bangladesh to put an end to them, surface the disappeared, and ensure victims
obtain, truth, justice and reparation for the harm they suffered,” said FIDH Secretary-General Debbie Stothard.
Many of the victims, almost all of whom were men, were active in political parties that opposed the ruling Awami League party.
Non-partisan critical voices, intellectual figures, academics, and journalists were also among those subjected to enforced disappearance.
The Bangladeshi government has intentionally refused to take steps to determine the fate or whereabouts of victims of enforced disappearances, condemn these crimes, and conduct investigations and prosecutions. Authorities at the highest levels of government have denied the existence of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh. Family members, however, are sure that the government is behind the disappearances. – Staff Reporter

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