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Severe human rights violations under the state of emergency

Publisher World Organisation Against Torture
Publication Date 15 February 2008
Cite as World Organisation Against Torture, Severe human rights violations under the state of emergency, 15 February 2008, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Geneva, 15 February 2008. The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) expresses concerns about continuing human rights violations under the state of emergency proclaimed on 11 January 2007[1] and urges for its immediate lift.

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its deepest concerns with regard to serious human rights violations, in particular reports of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, since the proclamation of the state of emergency in Bangladesh.

According to information received from ODHIKAR, a member of OMCT SOS-Torture network, more than thousands people, mostly politicians, have been arbitrary arrested and detained since the state of emergency was proclaimed. Reports indicate that many of these individuals were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment in custody.

President Iajuddin Ahmed, who then quit as head of the interim government, had declared a state of emergency on 11 January 2007 in the face of violent political protests and a multiparty alliance threatening to blockade voting places before the previous planned 22 January 2007 elections, which were then indefinitely postponed. Under the state of emergency, some basic constitutional rights, including those of freedom of speech, assembly, and movement, have been suspended and torture has been commonly used against those who do not conform with the "rules of conduct".

OMCT is very concerned about these reports and urges the authorities to put an immediate end to these practices such as extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and acts of torture by members of the security forces, including the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), the army and paramilitary forces such as the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), police and other government officials. OMCT recalls that basic rights, such as the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, may never be restricted. OMCT calls upon the authorities to launch a thorough and impartial investigation into these events, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law for impunity should not prevail. The authorities should also ensure adequate reparation for the victims.

OMCT further urges the government to publish a detail list of the individuals arrested and detained under preventive detention during the state of emergency and immediately release all of them in the absence of valid legal charges, or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial, independent, competent and fair tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times. Finally, OMCT urges the authorities to guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international humanitarian law and human rights standards.

Geneva, 15 February 2008

Contact: Alexandra Kossin: 0041 22 809 49 39


[1] See OMCT Press Release dated 260107.


Copyright notice: OMCT

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