Saturday, October 16, 2010

URGENT APPEAL: [Bangladesh]: a 15-year old Christian minority girl raped, abused and subjected to extra judicial punishment (village arbitration)

On the 2nd and 3rd September 2010, GHRD together with Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) investigated the case of a 15-year old Christian minority girl who suffered multiple violations including rape, beatings, threats as well as extra judicial punishments in a village arbitration.  Ostracised by her own community, she was lured away by two men to the capital where she was locked up, beaten and raped for almost a a week. 

                                                                                                                                  The Hague, The Netherlands 
                                                                                     
ISSUES:  extra judicial punishments, women’s rights, right to physical integrity, personal integrity, caste



Dear Friends,
On the 2nd and 3rd September 2010, GHRD together with Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) investigated the case of a 15-year old Christian minority girl who suffered multiple violations including rape, beatings, threats as well as extra judicial punishments in a village arbitration.  Ostracised by her own community, she was lured away by two men to the capital where she was locked up, beaten and raped for almost a week. 

Case Details

The violations started when the villagers discovered that the young girl and her tutor had a sexual relationship. The girl was then beaten and abused by her tutor’s family – trying to force her to end the relationship. The community also called the village arbitration and ruled that the girl’s father had to provide food to the entire indigenous community as a reparation, otherwise they would outcast the girl and her family. They were also threatened with physical violence in case they could not provide the food. Fearing their safety the girl along with her family temporarily went into hiding.  At this point her tutor contacted her and offered her a solution to their hopeless situation: a marriage and promises to provide her with a job in Dhaka. Her parents agreed and sent their daughter with her tutor on the 4th of June, 2010. The tutor – along with two accomplishes – locked up the girl in a house in Dhaka and raped her. She was also threatened with electric shocks and with a dagger. For six days she was repeatedly raped, threatened with death, and she was also forced to drink alcohol. On the 10th June, she was thrown out on the street in an unconscious state due to days of abuse.  The father of the victim appealed to the local community leader and to the chairman and member of local Union Parishad to address the case, however, the perpetrators refused to appear at the arbitration. Finally, a complaint case was filed at the Special Tribunal for the Prevention of Women and Children Repression, Dinajpur, registered under no. 87/2010 under section 7/9(1)/30 of the Prevention of Women and Children Repression Act, 2000. The perpetrators tried to force the family to withdraw the case, and hired some people to abduct the victim on the 26 August, 2010. The villagers managed to detain the main perpetrator, but his accomplices escaped. The tutor was finally arrested and placed in jail custody on the 27th August.

BIHR along with GHRD-Dhaka investigated the incident by visiting the scene, taking statements of the victim, father and mother of the victim, and witnesses, visiting the local police station; talking with the concerned officers in charge, and the appointed lawyer of the victim. Although the police in Ghoraghat, Dinajpur District had been informed of the situation, they did not take any initiative to resettle the victim and her family to their village prior to GHRDs intervention.  Neither did they take any steps towards arresting the perpetrator prior to the intervention by the villagers.  Through the intervention of GHRD and BIHR, who mediated with the village leaders and authorities, the girl and her family have successfully been resettled to their house.


Suggested Action:

GHRD is deeply concerned about the injustices and severe human rights violations this young minority girl has endured.  We also observe that traditional arbitration and extra judicial punishments persist in rural Bangladesh, despite its prohibition. The police negligence in this case is particularly disturbing.  As Bangladesh is a state party to the ICCPR authorities should take all necessary steps to give effect to the rights it has recognized in this treaty.

Specifically, GHRD urges the authorities to: 
Recommendations
  1. to take all necessary steps in order to address the prevalence of traditional arbitration, and extra judicial punishments; which are resulting in severe human rights violations;
  2. specifically; to provide human rights education and training to local police authorities as well as to the general population, in order to bring an end to the practice of traditional arbitration; 
  3. to ensure an efficient and independent investigation into the above case in order to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent re-victimization of the victim; 
  4.  to ensure the full protection and rehabilitation of the victimized girl and her family;
Additional information regarding the case will be submitted upon request.
   
In order to help, please print the following sample letter and send it to the relevant authorities found below.


Sample letter:


Dear ________ ,

I would like to express my grave concern on the news I received from Global Human Rights Defence who are investigating the case of a 15-year old Bangladeshi girl who suffered multiple violations including rape, beatings, threats as well as extra judicial punishments in a village arbitration.  Ostracised by her own community, she was lured away by two men to the capital where she was locked up, beaten and raped for almost a week.  

I was informed that the violations started when the villagers discovered that the young girl and her tutor had a love affair. The girl was then beaten and abused by her tutor’s family – trying to force her to end the relationship. The community also called the village arbitration and ruled that the girl’s father had to provide food to the entire indigenous community as a reparation, otherwise they would outcast the girl and her family. According to the information I received form GHRD, they were also threatened with physical violence in case they could not provide the food. Fearing their safety the girl along with her family temporarily went into hiding. At this point her tutor contacted her and offered her a solution to their hopeless situation: a marriage and promises to provide her with a job in Dhaka. Her parents agreed and sent their daughter with her tutor on the 4th of June, 2010. The tutor – along with two accomplishes – locked up the girl in a house in Dhaka and raped her. She was also threatened with electric shocks and with a dagger. For six days she was repeatedly raped, threatened, and she was also forced to drink alcohol. I was also informed that then on the 10th June, she was thrown out on the street in an unconscious state due to days of abuse.  The father of the victim appealed to the local community leader and to the chairman and member of local Union Parishad to address the case, however, the perpetrators refused to appear at the arbitration. Finally, a complaint case was filed at the Special Tribunal for the Prevention of Women and Children Repression, Dinajpur, registered under no. 87/2010 under section 7/9(1)/30 of the Prevention of Women and Children Repression Act, 2000. The perpetrators tried to force the family to withdraw the case, and hired some people to abduct the victim on the 26 August, 2010. The villagers managed to detain the main perpetrator, but his accomplices escaped. The tutor was finally arrested and placed in jail custody on the 27th August. 

According to the information I received from GHRD although the police in Ghoraghat, Dinajpur District had been informed of the situation, they did not take any initiative to resettle the victim and her family to their village prior to GHRDs intervention.  Neither did they take any steps towards arresting the perpetrator prior to the intervention by the villagers.  Through the intervention of GHRD and BIHR, who mediated with the village leaders and authorities, the girl and her family have successfully been resettled to their house.

I request you to take all necessary steps in order to address the prevalence of traditional arbitration, and extra judicial punishments; which are resulting in severe human rights violations. I also strongly urge the authorities to provide human rights education and training to local police authorities as well as to the general population, in order to bring an end to the practice of traditional arbitration; to ensure an efficient and independent investigation into the above case in order to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent re-victimization of the victim; and to ensure the full protection and rehabilitation of the victimized girl and her family`.


Yours Sincerely,

Global Human Rights Defence
Urgent Appeals Desk
Laan van Meerdervoort 70
2517 AN The Hague
The Netherlands
+31 (0)0703456975
+31(0)0703926575


In order to help, please write to the authorities listed below:
 1. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd or ps1topm@pmo.gov.bd or psecy@pmo.gov.bd

2. Mr. Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 5058 /+880 2 7161344
Tel: +880 2 956 2792
E-mail: chief@bdcom.com or supremec@bdcom.com 

3. Barrister Shafique Ahmed
Minister
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7160627 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7168557 (O)
Email: info@minlaw.gov.bd 

4. Ms. Sahara Khatun MP
Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7169069 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7160405, 880 2 7164788 (O)
E-mail: minister@mha.gov.bd 

5. Mr. Mahbubey Alam
Attorney General of Bangladesh
Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Annex Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 1568
Tel: +880 2 956 2868

6. Prof. Mizanur Rahman Khan
Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
6/3 Lalmatia, Block-D
Dhaka-1207
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9137740
Fax: +880 2 9137743
E-mail: nhrc.bd@gmail.com 

7. Mr. Hasan Mahmud Khondaker
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677
E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd

8.Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Rajshahi Range
Office of the DIG Rajshahi Range
Rajshahi , BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 721 772309 (O)
Fax: +880 721 775444 (O)
E-mail: digrajshahi@police.gov.bd




Please send us a copy of any action that has been taken distributing our message, and a copy of any responses received.

Thank you.

This message has been sent by GHRD* to local authorities and International Organisations in order to spread the message, increase awareness, and encourage action be taken to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.



Global Human Rights Defence  
Urgent Appeals Desk
Laan van Meerdervoort 70
2517 AN The Hague
The Netherlands
+31(0)070 3456975
+31(0)703926575
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