Ali Riaz has published a commentary on the heightened number of extrajudicial killings by law enforcement agencies in the past months in Bangladesh. Such killings have occurred under the auspices of the ongoing “anti-drugs operation.” Human Rights groups have expressed concerns about these deaths and have demanded investigations. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) urged Bangladesh to adhere to its commitments “to promote balanced, human rights-based approaches to drug control.” The European Union delegation in Dhaka also asked the Bangladeshi authorities to conduct investigations into these deaths.
Riaz, in his commentary entitled “Time to Break the Silence” in the Daily Star, also points to the political implications of these extrajudicial killings. He writes that “the culture of impunity has continued as the ruling party has increasingly become more reliant on the force as the principal mode of governance and authoritarianism has become the defining feature of the current system. The rhetoric and actions of the ruling party have emboldened those who are blatantly disregarding the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution and engaged in wanton killings. The government not only describes these victims as ‘drug dealers’ but implicitly argues that as a menace to society, these citizens are not worthy of due process. Their words and attitudes have, essentially, acted as an indemnification of these acts.”