Amnesty’s selective silence on Bangladesh

Amnesty International came out with its annual report on Bangladesh on 23 May. State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku was unhappy with the report because he thought it exaggerated the problems in Bangladesh. I felt similarly, but because the report did not go far enough in reporting the scale of human rights abuses in Bangladesh. Especially if the victims involved the BNP or other right wing parties.

And how and why it did not go far enough is an interesting story in itself.

The report highlights the usual suspects. The sub-headings are:

  • Extrajudicial executions
  • Violence against women
  • International justice
  • Indigenous Peoples’ rights
  • Torture and other ill-treatment
  • Death penalty

The lacuna in the list is obvious to anyone who keeps on top of Bangladeshi news. There is no mention of the enforced disappearances, especially of opposition activists and politicians, that have become more prevalent under the current Awami League government. Why is this? Some answers below.

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