“Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman” – a quotation by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr is the inspiring theme of generating this project. Despite the government's pledge to adopt a zero tolerance for abduction, torture, rape, sexual, violence against indigenous women and children, there has not been significant progress in the ground realities. Indigenous women and girls, particularly, are vulnerable because of prejudice in the administration. According to Bangladesh Indigenous Women's Network, violence against indigenous women and children increased twofold between 2013, 2014 and 2015. This includes rape, abduction and murder. The recent plight of a Garo woman having to go from one police station to another to file her case of being gang-raped is an example of how state agencies show bias in the way they treat victims from these communities. The unresolved case of Kalpana Chakma who was abducted 19 years ago from the CHT region is an indication of how far back this discrimination can be traced to. This torture case has been widely published in national dailies and has drawn attention to the international community. BCHRD issued immediately an urgent appeal for international action. There are many other examples of torture cases against adibashis. In Bangladesh adibashies, considered as tribal people and followers of their own indigenous religion and believes, are the most vulnerable group. They are poor, illiterate and remanied isolated within their own caste and community. The local power people like matbors/political influentials inflict torture and violence upon them to grasp their lands & property. Gradually they are losing their adibashi identity. After torture by the police influenced by this power people, they lost not only their land and property but also deprived from legal justice due to ignorence and poverty. As a consequences of torture, violence and organized violence, they suffered from physical, mental, social, legal and economic sequelae. Victims of torture, rape, sexual violence, domestic violence and organized violence are traumaized and many develops long term complications with nightmare, flashback, depression, guilty feelings, isolation and even severe complications like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and or suicidal tendencies. In Bangladesh the scope for legal education, legal aid, treatment of mental health in general is very limited and restricted and available only in Dhaka and other major cities. Thus domestic violence, torture victims, and adibashies in particular are left without legal security, treatment, rehabilitation, redress and compensation. In a muslim dominated society their sufferings remained unaddressed. They risk to become socially handicapped for the rest of their lifes or even die without treatment. This project will address the adibashi population and provide treatment & rehabilitation support with a multidisciplinary team of doctors, physiotherapists, mental health experts (psychologist, counsellors, psychiatrits) and lawyers, human rights education, women empowerment, women participation in politics and institutional strengthening.
Despite massive awareness campaigns carried out across the country violence against girls and youth women has increased over the past few years in the country with dowry remaining a major concern. The leading women rights organization observed that the police are not proactive in producing witnesses and shortage of investigating officers is another factor that comes in the way of availing legal aid. As there is no guarantee of safety at home victims or witnesses often do not have the courage to testify against criminals in case of murder, rape, and trafficking, arid abduction. Such phenomenon allows the perpetrators to remain free and commit the same crimes against. Around 492 young girls and women were victims of rape and gang rapes in the last six months of 2015. About 2079 incidents of violence against women occurred in the current year during the same period of January to June 2015. Of them 99 incidents are gang rapes and 46 incidents of killings after rapes. Rape has been a major tool of violence and this incident is happening due to lack of implementation of existing law. The perpetrators would bring to justice and provide exemplary punishment so that would not dare to commit such crimes any more. The number of rapes incidents occurred in the country was 393 in 2009; 593 in 2010; 508 in 2012; 696 in 2013610 in 2014 and 492 in 2015 and their age limit 10 to 30.
The rising trend of sexual violence against women reasons a culture of impunity apathy of law enforcers and administration typically mindset and social and political unrest are the major contributors to the malaise. The Government law enforcing agencies should be active. If they do their duty properly then automatically the number of violence against women will be less. There are many treaties and acts such as: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading treatment or Punishment (CAT) Violence Women (VAW) and so on also Penal Code (XLV of 1980) contains provisions that defined torture, causing injury, abduction, murder, defamation etc. as punishable offenses. Violence against women takes place in most societies both physically and mentally. In a patriarchal structure of society, a man treats a woman as an object of sexual pleasure. This mind set must be changed. When women will be considered as a human being then prevention of violence against women will be possible.
Need. There will be developed an Alliance/Network against Torture, Rape, Sexual Violence and Organized Violence against indigenous women to create a national and international network among NGOs/INGOs for early intervention. The result should be prevent torture act immediately within 24 hours of arrest/incidence and international reporting within 48 hours through local human rights body with adibashi leadership as local resource human rights centre, and provide legal support to victims within shortest period of arrest/incidence.