Fri, 09 Jun 2023

New York [US], January 21 (ANI): The UN Department of Peace Operations should ban Bangladesh's "notoriously abusive paramilitary" Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from UN deployment, 12 organizations said in a letter to Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix, made public on Thursday.

The names of organizations that signed the letter include the likes of Amnesty International, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights and World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that human rights organizations have documented widespread RAB abuses. UN human rights experts have also voiced concerns about allegations that members of the unit engaged in torture, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations, it added.

"If 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."Earlier in December, the US government had designated RAB as a "foreign entity that is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse," under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

The US also sanctioned seven current or former officials of the Rapid Action Battalion, including the country's police chief, Benazir Ahmed.

Responding to the US sanctions, Ahmed had said the US sanctions were based on "false and fabricated lies" adding that people calling for a ban on RAB from UN peacekeeping are "trying to embarrass our government and our country." (ANI)

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