Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said proganda is being spread against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) though they are doing good job.
“Injustice being done to RAB putting all the blames on their shoulders,” he said while talking to journalists after attending a session of the Ministry of Home Affairs with the deputy commissioners (DCs) at the DCs’ Conference at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in Dhaka on Thursday.
Replying to a question, the Home Minister said, “If you look back….when the RAB was created? Those who created RAB, now they dislike it. They are spreading various propaganda against the elite force. They are not conveying the good works of RAB. They never tell about the good deeds of RAB like seizing drugs, containing food adulteration, freeing sea and rivers from pirates, taking action against extremists, and suppressing the militants. They just tell about various types of human rights.”
“We can say with challenge that there is no country in the world where killings in encounters don’t happen. If someone takes arms against police force, they will not remain silent. Incidents of firing just happen at that time. If all these [incidents] are put on the shoulders of RAB, I think it will be an injustice to them,” he said.
Asked whether RAB faced opposition politically, the Home Minister said, “You [journalists] judge the matter. I leave this question to you [for judging].”
Twelve international human rights organisations jointly demanded banning the members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from being deployed at the United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The organisations include Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission, International Federation for Human Rights, The Advocates for Human Rights, World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and six others, says a press release by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Besides, they have called for an in-depth review of the agency’s role following the US sanctions in December last year.
A letter signed by the rights groups has been sent privately to Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix in this regard.
It was published in the website of the HRW on Thursday (January 20).
“If [UN] Secretary General Guterres is serious about ending human rights abuses by UN peacekeepers, he will ensure that units with proven records of abuse like the Rapid Action Battalion are excluded from deployment,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F Kennedy Human Rights.
“The evidence is clear; now it’s time for the UN to draw a line,” he added.
“The deployment of members of the RAB in peacekeeping operations reinforces a message that grave human rights abuses will not preclude one from service under the UN flag and increases the chances of human rights abuses being committed in UN missions,” United Nations Director at Human Rights Watch Louis Charbonneau noted in the press release.
“The UN should send a clear signal to host and troop-contributing countries that abusive units will not be part of the UN.”
According to the HRW press release, human rights organisations have documented widespread RAB abuses following which UN human rights experts voiced concerns about allegations that members of the unit are engaged in torture, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the UN, however, has yet to provide a formal response to the letter which was sent over two months ago on November 8, 2021.