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Bangladesh is 'failing' to protect minorities

Rights group claims many abuses appear to have been carried out in collusion with law enforcement agencies

November 18, 2016

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Bangladesh has singularly failed to protect its Ahmadi, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Shi'a Muslim communities from a new outbreak of targeted attacks and communal violence, says a report by Minority Rights Group International (MRG).

According to the report, since 2013, the country has been hit by a series of violent incidents targeting its religious minorities by militant groups, some of which claim affiliation with groups such as the so-called Islamic State or al-Qaeda.

MRG's Carl Soderbergh said that many of the abuses suffered by minority groups have been carried out in a climate of impunity.

"Many abuses appear to be carried out with the complicity of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary," said Soderbergh on Nov. 17.

MRG's report says that communal violence driven by political rivalries — long a problem for religious minorities — continues to take place, with perpetrators enjoying apparent impunity.

The rights group further said that for all of these groups, who alongside atheists, secular bloggers and liberals, have borne the brunt of extremist attacks, this violence is the latest chapter in a long history of discrimination. Despite the promise of independence in 1971 and the passing of a secularist constitution the following year, in the ensuing years an increasingly restrictive religious nationalism has sidelined Bangladesh's minorities within their own country.

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