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South Asian Update
South Asian Update


Before we taint a history of honour

Controversies surrounding law enforcement’s participation in Bang

 Published: 10:38, 4 June 2024

Before we taint a history of honour

A popular quote in the discipline of law states that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In recent news reports, law enforcement agencies have been accused of illegally using their power under the political government to support a particular group or interest. Such conduct should be alarming for society as a whole, as it violates democratic basic values and human rights.

Law enforcement agencies are meant to ensure public safety and hold criminals accountable for their actions -- they are given such authority. According to social contract theory, within a state, individuals implicitly agree to cede some of their liberties to the state in return for the protection of their remaining rights. The law enforcement agencies are the troops of the state, boosted with the power people have ceded in exchange for their protection. 

Since independence, Bangladesh has experienced a myriad of political upheavals, calamitous occurrences, and widespread societal chaos. It is noteworthy that the bureaucracy and law enforcement agencies have consistently demonstrated their unwavering commitment to serving the nation without fail. Bangladeshi soldiers have even earned global praise for their long history of bravery and sacrifice during peacekeeping operations.

In his visit last month, Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, himself praised the overall performance of the law enforcement agencies. Notably, there have been a minimal number of extrajudicial killings or alleged disappearances in the last three years after that sanction. 

However, recent news about UN peacekeeping operations and the participation of Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies sparked hesitancy among the country's mass population.

The country's law enforcement agencies provide services to the UN peacekeeping mission by adhering to their guidelines and structures. Before taking part in UN missions, troops must go through the UN's well-established human rights screening procedure. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies have ever broken the UN peacekeeping code during operations. In addition, there is no policy within a UN mission that prohibits law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh from participating in a peacekeeping mission. 

This is a form of discrimination because they have been actively involved in the country's fight against terrorism. Political motivation drives the exclusion of those who have risked their lives to combat terrorism, citing grave human rights concerns. Thus, the report completely contradicts UN policy. 

The media’s role on this matter is questionable. They remain biased for political gain and spread such news to the people, setting their agendas. They are putting the country's law enforcement agencies on trial, fostering a culture of hasty judgment without a thorough understanding of the facts, and disseminating these judgments through the network in a manner that could quickly become viral without proper balance. 

We acknowledge that a hasty trial or judgment cannot yield accurate outcomes. The UN provides proper rules and regulations for participation in the UN peacekeeping mission. If certain law enforcement agencies violate any existing rule, we should absolutely question their participation. -Source: dhaka tribune


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