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Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims-BRCT


Presentation on Combating Torture and Rehabilitation A Perspective from Bangladesh Presented by Adv. Shahanur Islam Saikot Programme Manager, BRCT& BIHR – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims-BRCT

Presentation on
Combating Torture and Rehabilitation A
Perspective from Bangladesh
Presented by Adv. Shahanur Islam
Saikot Programme Manager, BRCT BIHR On Behalf
of Dr. Akram H. Chowdhury Founder, BRCT BIHR
Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma
Victims-BRCT 27 Bijoynagar, Dhaka 1000. Phone 88- 02- 9349851, 9355648.
Constitution of Bangladesh
No Person shall be subjected to torture or to
cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or
treatment. Article 35(5)
Torture Defined
For the purposes of this Convention, torture
means any act by which severe pain or suffering,
whether physical or mental, is intentionally
inflicted on a person for such purposes as
obtaining from him or a third person information
or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a
third person has committed or is suspected of
having committed, or intimidating or coercing him
or a third person, or for any reason based on
discrimination of any kind, when such pain or
suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation
of or with the consent or acquiescence of a
public official or other person acting in an
official capacity. It does not include pain or
suffering arising only from, inherent in or
incidental to lawful sanctions. Article-1 of
Torture Defined
The deliberate, systematic or wanton infliction
of physical or mental suffering by one or more
persons acting alone or on the orders of any
authority, to force another person to yield
information, to make a confession, or for any
other reason. Tokyo Declaration, WMA, 1975
Six Case Studies on Gross Violation of Human
Case 1 (Perpetrator Army)
  • Rang Lai Mro, a community leader in the
    Chittagong Hill Tracts, was arrested on 23
    February 2007 and allegedly tortured by army
    personnel. He required hospital treatment for his
    injuries. He was charged with possession of arms
    and reportedly sentenced to 17 years
    imprisonment. In October he was reportedly taken
    back into police custody, beaten again, and once
    more needed hospital treatment. There was no
    reported investigation into the torture
  • Sahebullah was reportedly detained on 16 May 2007
    by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel and
    tortured in the office of the director of the
    Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. Both his legs
    were reportedly broken. He was arrested after
    demanding that a doctor attend to his wife, who
    had not been treated for 12 hours. She died the
    next day.

Case 2 (Perpetrator RAB)
Case 3 (Perpetrator Navy)
Khabirul Islam Dulal, from Char Fashion
Municipality in Bhola district, was arrested by
navy personnel on 20 February, 2007. He was
reportedly beaten, thrown in a pond with his
hands tied with rope, and beaten again. He died
that evening.   Garo indigenous leader
Cholesh Richil died on 18 March 2007 while in the
custody of Joint Forces (army and police)
personnel. There were strong indications that he
died under torture. Three other members of the
Garo community Tohin Hadima, Piren Simsung and
Protap Jambila were arrested at the same time
and reportedly tortured. The government set up a
judicial inquiry into Cholesh Richils death, but
there was no news about it by the years end.
Case 4 (Perpetrator Joint forces- Army and
Case 5 (Perpetrator Police)
Shahidul Islam, a human rights activist, was
charged with murder on the basis of a
confession by another detainee, Badrul, in
February. This charge blocked the release of
Shahidul Islam when his detention order under the
SPA expired in late February. Badrul retracted
his original statement in court, saying he had
been forced to make it by police. However, the
charge against Shahidul Islam was not dropped and
he was reportedly tortured in detention before
being released on bail in late August.
Case 6 (Perpetrator DGFI)
May 2, 2007 Tasneem Khalil, Journalist was taken
from his home in front of his wife and child,
blindfolded, and driven to an interrogation
centre. At the centre, run by the DGFI, he was
beaten and tortured, threatened with execution,
and forced to make false confessions. He was
released after 22 hours in custody
Culture of Impunity
  • The Indemnity Ordinance of 1975 (Ordinance No. LX
    of 1975),
  • The Joint Drive Indemnity Act of 2003
  • The Emergency Powers Ordinance of 2007
    (Ordinance No. 1 of 2007).

Bangladesh obligation to international treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR)
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In
particular, no one shall be subjected without his
free consent to medical or scientific
experimentation. Article-7
Bangladesh obligation to international treaties
UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Bangladesh Reservation on Article 14
It obliges govt. to provide fair and adequate
compensation, full rehabilitation as possible. In
the event of the death of the victim, his family
dependants shall be entitled to compensation.
Who are the perpetrators?
Torture is used in a widespread manner by all of
the various law-enforcement or security forces
within the country including
  • The police
  • The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)
  • Bangladesh Rifles (BDR)
  • The Army
  • The Navy
  • Joint Force

Common Methods of Physical torture used in
v     Slapping v     Kicking with boot v    
Pouring hot water into nose v     Beating with
baton v     Hanging between two chair v    
Beating with roller stick v     Blow of punch
  • Pressing fingers/nails with players
  • Piercing needle into finger tip
  • v   Hanging with the roof
  • v    Electric shock
  • Aerial Suspension
  • Beating with baton rifle bat unsystematically
  • Sexual abuse

Physical Consequences
  • Fracture
  • Burns
  • Dislocation
  • Strain
  • Sprain
  • Abdominal injury
  • Chest injury
  • Genital injury
  • Head injury
  • Penetrating wounds

The type of mental torture and sequelae
  • Threats of torture/ implicating in false cases
  • Torture to other family members
  • Keeping undressed
  • Deprivation of meeting with family members
  • Deprivation of judicial help
  • Keeping in unhygienic conditions
  • Keeping isolation in death cell or prison cell
    without minimum facilities as prisoner
  • Deprivation of food, essential medicines/
  • Phobia
  • Non-therapeutic administration of drugs
  • Noise torture
  • Verbal abuse

Common mental sufferings
Impaired memory Headache Weakness without
cause Impaired sexual function without somatic
symptom Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Nightmare Sleep disturbances Flashback Change in
mood Irritability Anxiety Phobia Depression
BRCTs Background
Profile of BRCT
A non-profit, non-governmental organization
founded by Mr. Akram H. Chowdhury, Human Rights
Activist in February 1992, a pioneer in the areas
of human rights and rehabilitation of torture
victims (by the law enforcing agencies) in
Vision Torture Free Bangladesh
Mission Increased
opportunities for treatment of victims of torture
and organized violence, herein after TOV, through
Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in local
communities in Bangladesh with the effective use
of government and local resources, and the
prevention of such human rights abuses.
  • Promotes and supports the treatment of torture
  • Raises awareness of the rehabilitation needs of
    torture survivors
  • Works for the prevention of torture and an end
    to impunity
  • Research for the establishment of knowledge and
    documentation of torture, its causes and
    consequences, methods for the rehabilitation and
    prevention of torture, and organizational aspects
    of the work against torture.

BRCTs Intervention
  • ? Rehabilitation of Torture Victim
  • Integrated Rehabilitation Approach (IRA)
  • ? Prevention of Torture
  • Integrated Prevention Approach (IPA)

Rehabilitation Wheel (IRA)
Economic Integration
Physical Restoration
Psychological Support
Initial Interview
Legal Counseling
Treatment conference
Legal Support
Medical Exam.
Preventive Wheel (IPA)
Trail Observation
Local Capacity Building
Urgent Action
Monitor Local HR Situation
Victims Association
UN Day Observance
Press Conference
View Exchange
Home Visits
HR Education
Research Documentation
Advocacy Lobbying
Legal Protection of Torture Victims
Source Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights
Latest Status of 20 Court Cases 2005 - 2007
Source Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights
National network
  • Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR),
  • Bangladesh Para-legal Training Services (PTSC),
  • Rights Jessore
  • Manob Unnayan Kendra (MUK), Meherpur
  • Human Rights Development Project, HRDP, Satkhira
  • Naogaon Human Rights Development Associations
  • Human Rights Development Project, HRDP, Khulna
  • Task Force Against Torture (TFT)
  • Victim Association (VA)
  • Others National and Local Health, Human Right and
    Development Organization
  • Professionals
  • Bar Association
  • Journalist Association
  • Different Physician Association
  • Retd. Govt. Officials etc.

International Network
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture
Victims (IRCT), Copenhagen Rehabilitation and
Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT),
Copenhagen Amnesty International, London Asian
Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Hong Kong World
Organization Against Torture (OMCT),
Geneva REDRESS, London Global Human Rights
Defence (GHRD), The Hague Human Rights Watch, New
York Committee to Protect Journalist, New
york Physician For Human Rights, Boston
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), New
Delhi Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), New
Delhi etc.
Best Practices
  • CBR Centre

Testimony of Torture Victims
Institution Format ICPRR IPMRR IPRR
Psycho- education
Fact-finding -4 Parties Investigate
National and International Internship
Zero Pain Movement
BRCT Declared as the Centre of Excellence
Jo E Asvall A Former European WHO Director
Former Director of RCT, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Victims Association (VAs)
  • Zero Pain Centre (ZPC)
  • Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Centre

Comments by International Evaluation Team on BRCT
The current operations, as they have developed
over the years, are sound, and combine the
necessary institutional work with a
community-oriented health and human rights
approach. This model could develop into a show
how/know how project for BRCT, with funding
for its continuity and sustainability. It could
also be a model project that would transfer to
other countries with a high prevalence of torture
and organized violence (TOV), and offers the RCT
an opportunity to gain new knowledge about
solutions that work when dealing with these
problems. November/December 2007
(No Transcript)
Challenges faced by BRCT
Legal Challenges
  • Torture is not a crime in national legislation
    in Bangladesh.
  • A police station, which is the initial place
    where victims are to lodge complaints, by default
    refuse to record complaints of torture when a
    member of the police or military is named as the
    alleged perpetrator.
  • The police produce a distorted investigation
    report resulting in the complaint being deemed to
    be "false."
  • The judiciary, rather than providing justice,
    create further obstacles for victims seeking
    redress such as Section 197, which stipulate that
    sanction from the authorities is required before
    public officials can be tried.
  • Threats, intimidation and obstacles forced most
    victims of torture from even seeking redress.
  • Changing the evidence by exploiting 161 CrPC

Social Challenges
  • Political influences
  • Lack of acceptance for victims in Family and
  • Lack of co-operation coordination (Civil
    societies, TFT, Lawyer, NGOs etc.)
  • Stigmatization
  • Lack of awareness among the civil society
  • Secondary victimization

Organizational Challenges
  • Lack of co-ordination among the Human Rights
  • Limited funding
  • Hidden computation among the sector players
  • Lack of issue based research and authentic data
  • Lack of trained professional
  • Lack of quality services
  • Sustainability

Challenges of IRA
  • Lack of health policy and availability of
    integrated health care.
  • Lack of coordination, cooperation and solidarity
    among the Health other Professionals (Doctors,
    Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Counsellor, Social
    Worker, Lawyers etc.
  • Lack of trained Professionals for providing IRA
  • Lack of paucity of professional at the community
  • Expensive lengthy treatment process.
  • Safety and Security of Human Rights Defenders

Economic Challenges
  • Loss of property, Loss of income Joblessness
  • Dependent burden to the family
  • Vulnerability of family members specially women
    and children

Challenges at the State level
  • Lack of political will
  • Reservation of Article 14 of the UNCAT
  • Ratification of UN-OPCAT
  • No separate law for torture victims
  • Law enforcing agencies are not trained properly
    on Human Rights
  • An obstacle to development
  • A threat to Democracy

  • Withdrawal reservation on Article-14 on UN CAT
    ratification UN- OPCAT
  • Make people aware about UN Declaration on Human
    Rights Defenders
  • New Legislation on Compensation for Torture
  • Establishment of national Human Rights
    institution i.e Human Rights Commission, Office
    of the Ombudsman
  • Independent investigation body should be
  • Torture cases be prosecuted under separate court
    with trained Judges
  • All laws inconsistence with fundamental rights
    shall be reviewed and amended

  • Treatment of torture require multi disciplinary
    approach therefore BRCTs IRA (Integrated
    Rehabilitation approach) model be integrated in
    national health policy for its replication in
  • Victims restitution, compensation,
    rehabilitation and satisfaction and guaranties of
    non repetition
  • Article-10 of UNCAT (Human Rights education) be
    part of curriculum of all Health profession LEA
  • Massive awareness against the colonial attitude
    and mind setup be mobilized
  • Indigenous of Important Human Rights instruments
    and its application in local court, police
    station etc be ensured

  • Issue a standing invitation to all of the Human
    Rights Councils special procedures, including as
    a priority, the special rapporteur on Torture.
  • Submission of periodical report on the country
    situation of torture to the UN committee against
    torture and also Human Rights committee.
  • Implementation of judgment by High Court
    regarding to section 54 and 167 of CrPC
  • (55 DLR, P-363, BLAST Case of Custodial Death of
    Student Rubel, Judgment by Justice Mr. Hamidul
    Haque and Ms. Salma Masud Chowdhury of High
    Court Division, 7 April, 2003)

Concluding Remarks
We demand to the government of Bangladesh to
fully implement the UN Basic Principles and
Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and
Reparation for victims of Violations of
International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
which stipulates Public Access to
Information Ensure all available legal, medical,
psychological, social, administrative and all
other service to which victims have a right of
access. Victim right to reparation Reparation
entails restitution, compensation,
rehabilitation, and satisfaction guarantees of
non-repetition it is not about money. Reparation
for torture victims is mostly about
restoration-of physical and psychological health
and especially of dignity.
Your Written Comments will be highly appreciated
and thankfully acknowledged
THANKS For your time
I invite you in Question Answer session