Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bangladesh's Questionable Elite Police

Hmm.  If I were in power, equipped with the total authority of the land, more power than the regular police force, the ability to kill suspects, and shady characters to quiet any family member searching for answers, what would I do?  Party...a lot, because I certainly wouldn't have many worries.  Such is the case for Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) (Side note: I don't factually know how much they actually do party).  

Created in 2004 to combat inadequacies in the normal police force of low training and corruption, this group has been responsible for anywhere from 150-190 deaths in its first two years of operation (150 being the reports of the government, 190 reports of Human rights lawyers).   They have coined the term, "Death by Crossfire", which, contrary to popular believe, is not the name of a rock and roll album (though that would be a cool one), but instead refers to the fact that, "In an average week two or three people are killed in incidents involving the RAB.  'Of those who have died in this crossfire all are known terrorists and criminals of the country,' said the law minister, Moudud Ahmed."  By the way, a death by crossfire is not followed by much of an investigation.  I feel the law minister is being a tad confusing with his statement.  His RAB, stomps through the streets,  killing 'criminals' but how is this determined?  Human Rights Watch recently chastised Bangladesh for its high cases of torture and illegal detention, often at the hands of the RAB, in which many suspects never return home. 

The justice system in Bangladesh is obviously in disarray.  But in a country unable to train its police officers, is some sort of elite police unit such as the RAB necessary?  Is the far the RAB uses helping them maintain order?  Or is it another example of absolute power corrupting absolutely?  Discuss amongst yourselves...(apologies this is a week late)

1 comment:

aditi said...

Bangladesh's law minister, Moudud Ahmed, stated that the RAB was created because "The law and order situation was bad and it had to be contained." However, the fact that a few people every week have been killed by the RAB is instrumental in showing that they are misusing their power. And as the Government has granted the RAB its power, and is aware of the crimes committed by the RAB and is doing nothing to reduce their authority in any way, they probably play a strong part in the RAB's actions. A country where the police are corrupt, highlights the fact that the government is corrupt. Policemen can get away with being corrupt when Government officials do not do their jobs efficiently. Hence, creating the RAB is simply a way for the Government to forcibly get the results it wants through a group of elite police that abuse the trust the people have put in the Government to run the country. Hence the root of the problem is a corrupt Government as opposed to a corrupt group of elite police as they are simply carrying on the Government’s plan of action.