Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Human Rights Watch on Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party and its allies swept to power in the January national elections after key opposition parties refused to participate. The opposition demanded polls under a neutral caretaker government and all attempts at negotiations, including by the United Nations, failed to resolve the stalemate. Hundreds were killed and injured in violent attacks surrounding the elections.
The trend toward increasing restrictions on civil society continued, with the government introducing a draft bill that imposes restrictions on already beleaguered nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and their access to foreign funding. The government also introduced a new media policy that imposes unacceptable limits on free expression and speech.
Security forces carried out abductions, killings, and arbitrary arrests, particularly targeting opposition leaders and supporters. In a positive development, after years of impunity for the security forces, several members of the notorious Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were arrested following the abduction and apparent contract killings of seven people in May.
Compensation and relief for victims and survivors of the April 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza in Dhaka was slow because international companies that sourced garments from the five factories operating in the building failed to contribute enough to the financial trust fund set up to support survivors and the families of those who died. After the accident, the government amended its labor laws to make it easier for workers to form unions. However, workers reported tremendous pressure from owners and managers not to do so.

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