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Impunity breeding brutality on women, NHRC says

Graphic: National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Kazi Reazul Hoque

The Commission has urged those responsible for the death of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, burnt to death for protesting sexual assault, be brought to justice.

The prevailing culture of impunity is breeding brutality on women and children, National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Kazi Reazul Hoque said.

"Such incidents are recurring because justice is not being meted out properly. The tardiness in the judiciary is also to blame here," he told reporters.

The NHRC Chairperson was speaking in reflection to the death of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, an 18-year old girl who was burnt to death for protesting sexual assault.

The results of an inquiry by the NHRC revealed the principal of Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa had been accused of sexual harassment before.

"If the administration from the district level to madrassa acted responsibly, then the incident would never have taken place," Hoque said.

He said the madrassa management committee should have known there were previous complaints of sexual assault against the head teacher, who is now suspended.

"We questioned [the madrassa committee] how [the head teacher] was appointed as the principal despite having this kind of past. [The committee] could not give us an answer," Haque said.

He added that criminals seem to be encouraged to commit such grave offences because of a prevailing "culture of impunity".

"I didn't see any sense of guilt or compunction on the face of the accused principal," Hoque observed. "A swift trial is now the demand of the hour."

"People will lose their trust in the state if there is no enforcement of laws," he said urging the authorities to ensure justice for Nusrat, who he praised as brave and resilient.

On 6 April, a group of four unidentified persons poured kerosene on Nusrat and set her alight, allegedly for refusing to withdraw a case of sexual assault against her by the principal of Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa.

Date: 11 April 2019

Source: The Daily Star and the South China Morning Post


Image credits

  1. National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Kazi Reazul Hoque - APF