• Monday, Aug 08, 2022
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Enforced disappearance: Families, activists can’t wait anymore

  • Published at 09:23 pm August 30th, 2021
mayer dak
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

It’s alarming that protectors have become predators, they say

Rights activists have again asked the government to stop the recurrence of enforced disappearance by law enforcers and take effective measures in ensuring safe return of the victims.

They expressed concerns while the family members of the victims shared their agonies during a discussion on the International Day for Enforced Disappearance, organized by Mayer Dak (Mother’s Call), in the city on Monday.

Founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra and veteran activist Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said: “I know… Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina knows the status of each and every disappeared person. How would she feel if something happens to her own child? How long will she act deaf? This practice needs to be stopped.”

“It’s not just a local matter anymore; sometimes our politicians and other important personnel were discovered at the hands of foreign law enforcement agencies,” said Nur Khan Liton, a member of the Basic Rights Protection Committee.

Also Read - Fakhrul: Government must take responsibility of disappeared people’s families

“Such systematic disappearance across borders is not possible without the government’s active cohesion. We do not have to explain in words how unbearable it is to be without our loved ones. These people have the right to know the whereabouts of their loved ones.”

Nagorik Oikyo Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Dean of Dhaka University law faculty Professor Dr Prof Asif Nazrul, and Ganasamghati Andolon Chief Coordinator Zonayed Saki also spoke at the event among others.

There were at least three dozen reported cases of enforced disappearances across Bangladesh last year, according to rights groups.

Terming such incidents a violation of human rights, Zonayed Saki said the victims of enforced disappearance cannot be traced because “the protectors have become predators” and the law enforcers do not accept such cases when approached by families.

Also Read - Families still await return of 'enforced disappearance' persons

Emon Omar, son of Omar Faruk, a local BNP leader who went missing from Lakshmipur nine years ago, said that the forcibly disappeared people do not get any official recognition from the government. 

“This is why, the family members of the victims often face harassment and bureaucratic complexities to avail any official work,” he said.

“It’s been eight years without my brother. We have requested and begged the prime minister time and again to give us our brother back,” said Rehena Banu, whose brother Selim Reza Pintu – a leader of the BNP’s student wing Chhatra Dal, was abducted allegedly by plainclothes police from the capital’s Pallabi area in 2013.

“However, we don’t want to make any request now; it’s our demand that you bring my brother back or kill all of us,” she added. 

“At least give us a death certificate,” said Ashiqur Rahman, whose brother was reportedly abducted from Gulistan three years ago.