2012 saw spiralling minority rights violations: reportStaff Correspondent
The number of attacks on minorities across the country increased significantly in 2012 compared to that in 2011, with 278 incidents of destruction of house and property, killing of 16 people, and 133 incidents of torture and intimidations forcing 165 people to escape across the border taking place.
The figures were reported in the Human Rights Report 2012 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh released in the capital Monday by the Kapaeeng Foundation.
Five incidents of organised massive-scale communal attacks on the minorities were also reported in 2012, but the perpetrators enjoyed full impunity, said the report.
The modes of rights violation include rape and sexual assault on women and children, killing, arson, land-grabbing, unlawful arrest and torture, and structural discrimination based on ethnicity, religious affiliation, and gender.
According to the report, 16 people (six from the hills and 10 from the plains) including seven women were reported to be killed and 23 either arrested or detained throughout the year, while around 150 people were tortured or intimidated, and around 300 indigenous houses were demolished.
Nine communal attacks were carried out across the country, four of which were made in the hills and five in the plains. The report said Bengali settlers carried out most of the communal attacks in the hills where security forces played either a passive or collaborative role.
In Matiranga of Khagrachari, 165 people fled and took shelter in the Indian state of Tripura following a communal attack. They were brought back after a day through a flag meeting between the Border Guard Bangladesh and the Border Security Force of India.
Violence against women and children was on the rise in 2012, with 75 indigenous women and children being subjected to violence. Among the victims, 30 were under the age of 16.
Seventeen women and girls were raped, with four of them being killed after rape and a rape victim committing suicide. Thirteen attempts to rape and 33 incidents of physical assault, harassment, and molestation took place.
The report said cases were filed in connection with 32 incidents of violence against women in the hill districts. The police arrested the accused in 17 cases but no one has been given exemplary punishment yet. The hill minorities alleged obstruction in access to justice.
Speaking at the report launching programme, National Human Rights Commission chairman Mizanur Rahman said the state and the judiciary needed to intervene in the continued rights violations.
He also said the report did not contain information of converting ethnic children deceiving their parents. ‘We have received information that a group convinces the parents that their children would get proper education in missionary schools and take their fingerprints on conversion statements. Later the children were found in different madrassahs,’ he said.
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