Dhaka, May 24 (UNB) - The United States on Thursday said the most significant human rights problems in Bangladesh were killings and torture by security forces.
This was stated in the Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011 released by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.
It said other human rights problems included abuses by security forces, which were responsible for disappearances, custodial deaths, and arbitrary arrest and detention.
The report said impunity continued to be a serious problem in several areas. Most members of the security forces acted with impunity, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in particular.
It said the government did not take comprehensive measures to investigate cases of security force killings.
“Widespread official corruption and related impunity continued,” the report said, adding that punishment of officials who committed abuses was predominantly limited to officials perceived to be opponents of the AL-led government.
The report identified as problems societal violence and discrimination against women, despite recent progress in their economic and social status; and the government’s discrimination against and failure to protect indigenous persons from societal violence.
It said prison conditions at times were life threatening, and lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem.
“An increasingly politicized judiciary exacerbated problems in an already overwhelmed judicial system and constrained access to justice for members of opposition parties. Authorities infringed on citizens’ privacy rights,” the report said.
It said there were instances in which the government limited freedom of speech and press, self-censorship continued, and security forces harassed journalists.
“The government curbed freedom of assembly, and politically motivated violence remained a problem. “
The report said widespread official corruption remained a serious problem.
It said violence against children remained a serious problem, as did trafficking in persons.
“Discrimination against persons with disabilities was a problem. Societal violence against religious and ethnic minorities persisted, although many government and civil society leaders stated that these acts often had political or economic motivations and could not be attributed only to religious belief or affiliation.”
Discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation remained a problem. Limits on worker rights, child labor, and unsafe working conditions also remained problems.
Secretary Clinton submitted the 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Human Rights Reports) to the United States Congress.
The reports record the state of human rights throughout the world in 2011.
It said: “It was a year of significant change in the Middle East and North Africa as citizens stood up and demanded universal rights, dignity, greater economic opportunity, and increased political participation. Those demonstrations sent aftershocks rumbling around the world.”