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>don’t fund Rapid Action Battalion: Human Rights Watch

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>INTERNATIONAL rights watchdog Human Rights Watch has urged donors not to work with or provide any support to Bangladesh’s elite force Rapid Action Battalion until it ends its “wave of unlawful killings” and holds responsible persons accountable.
“For a foreign government to provide assistance to the Rab at this point in time would be to condone the Rab’s record of human rights abuses and would raise serious questions about the donor’s commitment to improving human rights in
Bangladesh,” the US-based organisation said in a news release yesterday.
The HRW concern came about a month after a delegation of US officials from the departments of state, defence and justice visited
Bangladesh and met with the Rab to explore possibilities for future cooperation.
While Rab’s human rights record has been so poor that the US and United Kingdom had refused to work with them officially as partners in counterterror operations, some international agencies and foreign governments have recently initiated or are now considering cooperation with the force, the news release said.
“Despite overwhelming evidence of Rab and police responsibility for unlawful killings, the interim Bangladeshi government seems unwilling to address the problem,” said Brad Adams,
Asia director at Human Rights Watch, adding that Bangladesh’s security forces instead continue to get away with murder. Though Rab killings decreased in 2007 and early 2008 following strong national and international criticism, the trend has been abruptly broken in recent months and the number of killings has surged, the HRW said. Saying that at least 50 people were killed by Rab and police since June 1, the HRW said Rab members have killed over 540 people since launching in 2004. “Research by Human Rights Watch and others has shown that many of these “crossfire killings” are in fact poorly disguised extrajudicial executions, often preceded by torture,” reads the release.
The HRW urged governments not to work with or provide support to the RAB “until it ends its pattern and practice of human rights abuses and holds responsible officials accountable”.

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