European Union Delegation asks Bangladesh to investigate all deaths in ‘war on drugs’

The Delegation of European Union to Bangladesh on Monday called for a full investigation into all the deaths of alleged criminal suspects in the ongoing nationwide drive against drugs in Bangladesh.

The EU Delegation issued a statement in this regard in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh has committed to uphold the rule of law and ensure that all law enforcement actions are carried out in accordance with the law and in adherence to international standards and norms, including with appropriate safeguards over the use of force. We expect the authorities to ensure that all incidents involving the deaths of alleged criminal suspects are investigated fully and in accordance with due processes”, the joint statement said.

Drug abuse and illicit trafficking is a global problem, the statement said.

The high-level casualties and reports of the use of excessive force in the drive against narcotics, however, is reported to have resulted in over 120 deaths since May 4, it added.

The signatories of the statement are: ambassador and delegation of the European Union Rensje Teerink, Italian ambassador Mario Palma, German ambassador Thomas Heinrich Prinz, the Netherlands ambassador Leoni Cuelenaere, British high commissioner Alison Blake, Danish ambassador Mikael Hemniti Winther, Spanish ambassador D Álvaro de Salas Giménez de Azcárate, Swedish ambassador Charlotta Schlyter, France ambassador Marie-Annick Bourdin and Norwegian ambassador Sidsel Bleken.

At least 127 people have been killed in so-called “gunfights”, mostly involving infamous Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and police in the ongoing nationwide anti-narcotics crackdown by the Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies.

Earlier on 1 June, following allegation of killing Teknaf municipality councillor Akramul Haque in cold blood on 27 May, the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh (NHRC) called for investigation into all such killings related to the ‘war on drugs’.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has also asked Bangladesh to “adhere to their commitments to promote balanced, human rights-based approaches to drug control, in line with the three international drug control conventions and the outcome document of the United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem.”

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