Sveriges Radio offentliggjorde idag inspelningar där en högt uppsatt officer i elitpolisstyrkan RAB i Bangladesh berättar om systematiska dödsskjutningar och tortyr. Som ledamot av Europaparlamentets utrikesutskott och underutskottet för mänskliga rättigheter var jag i eftermiddags inbjuden till Studio Ett för att diskutera avslöjandet. Lyssna på programmet här.
I eftermiddags skickade jag även ett brev till EU:s utrikeschef Federica Mogherini för att uppmana EU att agera med anledning av Sveriges Radios avslöjande. Bangladesh och EU har nära band, och EU:s möjligheter att använda mjuk makt för att säkerställa en bättre efterlevnad av de mänskliga rättigheterna är omfattande. Men det gäller också att de möjligheterna tas tillvara.
Se brevet nedan.
Strasbourg, April 4th, 2017
Re: Human rights in Bangladesh
Dear High Representative,
I am writing to you express my deep concern with regard to the disclosure of information concerning grave human rights abuses committed by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Bangladesh.
A secret recording published by the Swedish Radio today reveals abductions, torture, disappearances, extrajudicial killings and carefully managed cover-ups by RAB.
The high-ranking officer on the recording states that victims seldom had weapons upon being abducted, and that evidence is planted in order to provide a motive for the killing and a framework in which RAB can claim self-defence.
The human rights abuses of RAB have repeatedly been criticized by human rights organizations and it is a fact that only a few people from RAB have been prosecuted for crimes committed.
What the secret recording reveals is repulsive in its sheer brutality, but it should not come as a shock for anyone who have followed the human rights situation in Bangladesh.
At the meeting of the EU-Bangladesh Sub-group on Good Governance and Human Rights on December 20th, 2016, the EU expressed concerns on extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Furthermore, the EU encouraged Bangladesh to issue a standing invitation to UN Special Procedure mandate holders to visit Bangladesh, and to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance and optional protocols to the Conventions on Torture.
The European Parliament, in its resolution on the freedom of expression in Bangladesh adopted on November 24th 2015, called on the European External Action Service, the EU Delegation to Bangladesh and the Member States’ delegations to monitor closely the human rights and political situation in Bangladesh and to use all available instruments, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.
There should be no doubt that the EU can make a difference for the better in Bangladesh, for it has leverage. This is underlined by the fact that over half of Bangladesh’s exports go to the EU and that the EU, under its Multiannual Indicative Programme for Bangladesh 2014-2020, has committed new aid of up to €690 million.
Mme High Representative, based upon today´s disclosure and upon previous statements by different EU bodies, I would like to encourage you to follow the call from the Parliament and use all available instruments to make the Bengali government stop the human rights abuses committed by RAB.
Member of the European Parliament
Member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI)