Crimes against indigenous women go unpunished in Bangladesh

Dhaka: Powerful perpetrators unleash physical and sexual violence, then pressurize female victims from indigenous communities into silence, says a new report released by rights groups in Bangladesh.

The study titled "Violence against indigenous women and girls: the case study of Bangladesh" by rights groups Manusher Jonno Foundation, Kapaeeng Foundation and Indigenous Women Network was released in Dhaka on March 29.

More than 450 indigenous women and girls from 39 of 64 districts fell victim to violence in the South Asian nation from 2009-20, revealed the study.

The perpetrators in 96 percent of the 460 reported cases of violence, including physical attacks, rapes and gang rapes, were from the majority community. Complaints were registered in only 128 cases while fewer trials took place as victims were forced to withdraw their complaints, it added.

“Perpetrators exert pressure and even give bribes to doctors for negative medical reports. The police and administration also play a biased role to save the perpetrators,” the study said.

Sabittre Hembrom, an indigenous rights activist and vice president of Adivasi (Indigenous) Students Council, said the study only dealt with incidents that were reported in newspapers, so one can imagine the extent of atrocities and crimes committed against indigenous women and girls.