Reff: UA /BIHR/FF/Dianjpur/19/10/10-36 October 19, 2010
Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Subject: Seeking justice through proper investigation regarding the incident of rape, traditional arbitration and extra judicial punishments of the indigenous child
Greetings from Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)
The Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), established on the realization of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has been dedicated to protect and promote human rights in Bangladesh from its inauguration.
BIHR would like to express the grave concern on the information received by the fact finding mission conducted by BIHR & GHRD regarding the case of Kalpona Busk, doughter of Sree Sobhan Busk of village Raghunathpur under Ghoraghat police station in Dinajpur district, a15-year old indigenous child 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.
BIHR 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 reparation; otherwise they would outcast the girl and her family. According to the information, 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 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.
According to the information, 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 BIHR and 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.
BIHR 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`.
Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot
LL.B(Hon’s); LL,M(Law & Justice)
JusticeMakers Fellow-10, Switzerland
Secretary General/Executive Director
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)
27, Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
www.bihr-bihr.blogspot.com, Skypie: saikot.bihr