Bangladesh to Allow Death Penalty for Rape Convictions

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The authorities of Bangladesh has accredited measures to permit for the demise penalty for rape, after a number of high-profile sexual assault instances set off widespread protests in latest weeks.

Khandker Anwarul Islam, the Bangladeshi cupboard secretary, informed reporters in a information convention on Monday that ministers had accredited an modification to the nation’s present legislation that might elevate the utmost punishment for rape to demise, from life in jail.

A presidential declaration on Tuesday is predicted to place the availability into legislation by amending the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, officers stated. Parliament just isn’t in session due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Anisul Huq, the Bangladeshi minister for legislation, stated on Monday that the federal government hoped that the brand new measure would act as a deterrent and result in a big drop in rape instances. But rights teams have stated that merely enacting harsher punishments for offenders is inadequate.

A collection of harrowing assaults on girls and younger ladies have centered consideration on the issue of sexual violence.

In latest days, protests have been held in Dhaka, the capital, and elsewhere, after a video of a girl being attacked by a gaggle of males within the nation’s southwest unfold quickly on Facebook.

Sultan Mohammed Zakaria, a South Asia researcher at Amnesty International, stated in an announcement launched quickly after the video was made public that the “truly disturbing footage demonstrates the shocking violence that Bangladeshi women are routinely being subjected to.”

But he additionally famous that it was half of a bigger system of impunity for attackers.

“In the vast majority of these cases, the justice system fails to hold the perpetrators responsible,” he stated within the assertion. “There can be no excuses here — the Bangladeshi authorities must immediately launch a thorough and impartial investigation and bring those responsible for this vicious attack to justice through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.”

After the newest case, native and worldwide rights teams have been crucial of the dearth of accountability for assaults and minimal assist for survivors, and urged the federal government to make significant modifications.

This yr, and likewise in response to giant scale demonstrations, the nation’s highest court docket ordered the federal government to arrange a fee to research a steep rise within the variety of rape instances being reported nationally.

Ain o Salish Kenya, a rights monitoring group in Bangladesh, has documented 975 cases of violent rape, primarily based on media experiences, however specialists say that the quantity is most definitely larger, as many go unreported.

Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, stated the introduction of the demise penalty would do little to deal with the core points and what she known as an “epidemic” of rape instances.

“Apart from the fact that the capital punishment is inherently cruel and should be abolished, Bangladesh has to confront a much more basic problem — that it has a broken criminal justice system where survivors are unable to even approach the police with confidence, forget expect a successful prosecution,” she stated.

She famous that conviction charges in instances of violence towards girls have been “abysmally low,” and that there was no entry to authorized support, medical care, protected shelter, witness safety, or psychological and social counseling for survivors of violent sexual assaults.

“The government should instead do the hard work to bring protection mechanisms and remove institutional barriers to justice,” she stated.

Public response to the sentencing tips has been largely constructive. Tahmid Binte Mahima, 21, a graduate scholar, stated the measure was a “very welcome move,” as the potential for a demise sentence may act as a deterrent.

“Such harsh punishment will create fear among offenders,” she stated. “But the more important thing is the strong implementation of law and the quick settling of cases. This needs to be ensured.”

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