Bangladesh: Fundamental rights of women violated with virtual impunity

Index Number: ASA 13/009/1994

Over the past months, fundamental rights of women have been repeatedly violated by Muslim clerics and Islamist groups in Bangladesh. Imams and religious teachers, acting alone or as part of village arbitration councils (salish), have sentenced women to flogging or stoning to death for what they see as violations of Islamic norms. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to teach women to be self-supporting have been targeted by Islamist groups: health centres and schools have been destroyed or damaged and their staffs attacked. Writers and journalists reporting such issues have been threatened or attacked and newspaper offices ransacked. Islamist groups have also called for the execution of “infidel” or “apostate” writers and journalists, the banning of “un-Islamic” NGOs and publications and the introduction of a blasphemy law carrying the death penalty and declaring the Ahmadiyya a non-Muslim community. AI is concerned about the virtual impunity with which fundamental rights have been violated by Muslim clerics and Islamic groups and calls on the government to take adequate action to prevent such violations.

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