Show your support: Donate Now


Support HRCBM: Please donate Now


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Urgent Action called: Gang rape of a girl belonging to a minority/ Risk of impunity

Case BGD 190809.CC.VAW
Gang rape of a girl belonging to a minority/ Risk of impunity

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has received information and requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh.

Brief description of the situation:
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by ODHIKAR, a member of the SOS-Torture Network, about the ill treatment and gang rape of Ms. Farul Das, a 16 year old Dalit girl, in the Jessore District, in south western Bangladesh.
According to the information received, around 1 a.m. on July 5, 2009, Ms. Das was going to collect some drinking water when four men attacked her from behind, gagged her and took her to a nearby garden where they raped her one after the other. When she was found unconscious by some villagers, the perpetrators had already escaped. Ms. Das was subsequently treated at Jessore General Hospital and a complaint was filed with the local police.
Local police authorities have reportedly promised to assist Ms. Parul Das with her social rehabilitation and have provided funds for her treatment. Parittran, a local NGO, has also provided funds for the same purpose.
Although many NGOs and the media have publicised the case, and although the police initially made hopeful promises with regard to the investigation and actively tried to find the alleged rapists, the suspects have not yet been arrested. According to the same information, the perpetrators have political connections and are therefore protected by the local elites.
Moreover, according to the same source, supporters’ of the alleged perpetrators exercise pressure on Ms. Das’ family to withdraw the complaint and some villagers have insulted her moral character. OMCT fears that this harassment and the lack of investigation may have discriminatory grounds because Ms. Das is a Dalit.
The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its deep concern about the gang rape of Ms. Das and the risk of impunity for the illegal acts allegedly committed. In this respect OMCT would like to recall the legal duty of Bangladesh as a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to “take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse” (article 19 (1)) and to “protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” (article 34). OMCT also recalls that, according to article 4(c) of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, States should “[e]xercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons.”

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Bangladesh urging them to:
i. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Parul Das and her family.
ii. Order an immediate, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these events in order to bring those responsible for the ill-treatment to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
iii. Guarantee that adequate rehabilitation and compensation is awarded to the victim;
iv. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.


· Mrs. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Office of the Prime, Minister Tejgaon, Dhaka BANGLADESH, Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490, Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677, E-mail: or or
· Mr. M. M. Ruhul Amin, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Supreme Court Building, Ramna, Dhaka-1000, BANGLADESH, Fax: +880 2 956 5058, Tel: +880 2 956 2792
· Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH, Tel: +880 2 7160627, Fax: +880 2 7168557
· Ms. Sahara Khatun MP, Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH, Tel: +880 2 7169069, Fax: +880 2 7160405, 880 2 7164788
· Mr. Mahbubey Alam, Attorney General of Bangladesh, Office of the Attorney General, Supreme Court Annex Building, Ramna, Dhaka-1000, BANGLADESH, Fax: +880 2 956 1568, Tel: +880 2 956 2868
· Mr. Nur Mohammad, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Bangladesh Police, Police Headquarters', Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000 BANGLADESH, Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363, Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677, E-mail:

Please also write to the embassies of Bangladesh in your respective country.

Geneva, 19 August 2009.

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.