Monday, 24 January, 2022

Kamal denies US allegation of HR violation

We protect human rights: RAB

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 12 December, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has denied the United States’ allegation of human rights violation against Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and seven of its officers.

“None of our organisations has violated human rights. If they do, legal action must be taken against them,” he said while talking to journalists at a programme at Dhaka Wasa in the capital on Saturday.

Kamal said every incident of human rights violation is investigated properly in Bangladesh. If any such incident is reported, investigations are carried out by magistrates. Legal action is taken here if any government agency violates human rights.

“Our system is very beautiful. Therefore, in this system none can carry out crossfire or shooting for any purpose,” Kamal said.

“In the past, it has been seen that there was a good reason behind all these incidents. All these things are happening not only in our country but also in all other countries of the world,” he added.

“The decision to impose the sanctions was not taken objectively rather it was based on exaggerated news sources,” he said while responding to a question from reporters at the programme.

Members of law enforcement agencies cannot just fire at a person, he said. “There is a judicial inquiry into all incidents of gunfights… [to find] whether there was a proper reason behind the incident or was it negligence. A case is started against the persons involved if negligence is found.”

The minister said he cannot provide further details about the US sanctions as a report on it has yet to arrive at his office.

“When miscreants wield firearms, our security forces are often forced to retaliate to save their own lives, which is legal,” Khan said.

Meanwhile, RAB Spokesperson Commander Khandaker Al Moin has claimed that the elite force does not violate human rights, rather protects it and maintain law and order in the country.

He made the remarks on Saturday while talking to journalists at a press briefing at RAB Media Centre in Karwan Bazar of the capital on Saturday following the US allegation of human rights violations against the elite force.

Replying to a query, Commander Moin said 28 RAB personnel so far have sacrificed their lives to protect human rights and maintain law and order.

Besides this, more than 1,000 members were maimed and 2,000 others were injured, he said.

About the ‘gunfights’, the RAB officer mentioned that they opened fire only in self-defence when they are attacked by criminals during drives.

“We heard about the US sections through the media. We are yet to receive any official letter on this. We will take necessary steps to verify it through the Ministry of Home Affairs or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we receive an official letter.”

On Friday, the US government slapped RAB as an entity, and seven former and current RAB officials with sanctions over allegations of human rights abuses, on the occasion of Human Rights Day.

The seven officials include former RAB director general (DG) and incumbent Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed and incumbent RAB Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, according to a press release issued by the US Department of Treasury.

The others are RAB Additional Director General (ADG - Operations) Khan Mohammad Azad, former RAB ADGs of operations Tofayel Mustafa Sorwar, Mohammad Jahangir Alam and Mohammad Anwar Latif Khan, and Miftah Uddin Ahmed, former commanding officer of RAB Unit 7.

The statement said the allegations of human rights abuses by RAB threaten US national security interests by undermining the rule of law, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the economic prosperity of the people of Bangladesh.

The US government also announced visa restrictions on Benazir, who served as the RAB chief from January 2015 to April 2020, due to “his involvement in gross violations of human rights, making him ineligible for entry into the United States”.

In addition to the RAB, the US on Friday imposed extensive human rights-related sanctions on people and entities originating from China, Myanmar, and North Korea, and included Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime Group in an investment blacklist.