Dictatorships are already bad in themselves. But perhaps there is nothing worse than a dictatorship that fails to admits its own wrong doings. This is exactly what the Bangladesh regime is doing. Its government is in denial of the enforced disappearances taking place under its watch. Enforced disappearances in Bangladesh are becoming rife but its government is increasingly fronting a strategy of feigning no knowledge about them, unashamedly labeling them as “missing persons”.
People are increasingly disappearing into government custody in Bangladesh. Government authorities staunchly deny these allegations, despite credible accounts from witnesses who saw government agents take the victims away. Families of the disappeared, desperately looking for answers, hold vigils in Dhaka. They wait for hours outside the offices of various security agencies, often turned away with dismissive denials.
Bangladesh recently agreed to participate in a review of its practices by the United Nations Committee against Torture for the first time since ratifying the Convention against Torture over 20 years ago. When the committee rightly pressed Bangladesh to put an end to the increasing cases of enforced disappearances by law enforcement officials and asked about torture allegations consistently documented by human rights groups, the government repeated its surreal talking-points, denying what has become a blatant reality. “We do not agree to the proposition that enforced disappearances occur in Bangladesh frequently,” Law Minister Anisul Huq told the committee.
Instead, Huq claimed that “there has been a tendency for quite some time to label all cases of missing [persons] with enforced disappearances. This is done with the obvious intention of maligning the government and its achievements.”
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