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Bangladesh Security Attack Indigenous Rights Defender

20 February 2018 : Security Forces Attack WHRD in Chittagong Hill Tracks

Thursday 22 February 2018, by siawi3

Source: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/bangladesh-security-attack-indigenous-rights-defender

Bangladesh Security Attack Indigenous Rights Defender

About Rani Yan Yan
Status: Attacked
About the situation

On 15 February 2018, members of the army and plainclothes police arrived at Rangmati Sadar Hospital in Chittagong Division, where Rani Yan Yan and a companion were visiting two sisters who were recovering from a sexual assault. The soldiers and plainclothes police entered the ward, switched off the lights and attacked Rani Yan Yan and her companion. Rani Yan Yan reported that prior to the attack, she had noticed that her movements in the hospital were being recorded by a number of men in plainclothes using the cameras on their smartphones.

On 22 January 2018, the two sisters were sexually assaulted, allegedly by members of the army, and subsequently admitted to Rangmati Sadar Hospital for treatment. As the sisters only speak and understand their native (Marma) language, Rani Yan Yan offered to facilitate communication between the sisters, lawyers and human rights defenders working on the case. Rani Yan Yan and a team of volunteers had been providing the sisters with food and round the clock emotional support and company at the hospital.

About Rani Yan Yan

Rani Yan Yan is a human rights defender and the advisor of the Chakma Circle Chief. She is an alumni of the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) at UNSW and APWLD’s Feminist Legal Theory and Practice (FLTP) graduate. As a woman indigenous leader, she works for the empowerment of indigenous women, protests violence against them and regularly brings their issues in meetings in Bangladesh and abroad, including meetings at the UN. As the Chakma Rani (queen) and the advisor of Chakma Circle Chief she effectively advocated for the appointment of more women as the headman and carbari (who deals with traditional laws) to ensure women’s rights in the traditional system.

Meet Rani Yan Yan

20 February 2018
Security Forces Attack WHRD in Chittagong Hill Tracks

On 15 February 2018, human rights defender Rani Yan Yan and a companion were physically attacked by law enforcement officers while they were visiting two sisters belonging to the minority Marma community in a hospital in Rangmati in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region.

Rani Yan Yan is a human rights defender who works for the empowerment of indigenous women, protests violence against them and advocates for their rights in Bangladesh and abroad, including at the UN. She holds the position of Rani (queen) among the Chakma people and as advisor to the Chakma Circle Chief, she has secured the appointment of more women as traditional heads of villages in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in order to ensure women’s rights are reflected in the traditional system.

On 15 February 2018, members of the army and plainclothes police arrived at Rangmati Sadar Hospital in Chittagong Division, where Rani Yan Yan and a companion were visiting two sisters who were recovering from a sexual assault. The soldiers and plainclothes police entered the ward, switched off the lights and attacked Rani Yan Yan and her companion. Rani Yan Yan reported that prior to the attack, she had noticed that her movements in the hospital were being recorded by a number of men in plainclothes using the cameras on their smartphones.

On 22 January 2018, the two sisters were sexually assaulted, allegedly by members of the army, and subsequently admitted to Rangmati Sadar Hospital for treatment. As the sisters only speak and understand their native (Marma) language, Rani Yan Yan offered to facilitate communication between the sisters, lawyers and human rights defenders working on the case. To protect and support the victims, Rani Yan Yan and a team of volunteers had been providing the sisters with food and round the clock emotional support and company at the hospital.

On 15 February 2018, the army officials and police had come to pick up the sisters and take them to their parents’ house. However, the sisters refused to go as they feared for their lives and of being subjected to further mistreatment. When the police attempted to use force to remove the sisters, Rani Yan Yan intervened but was asked to leave the hospital. The women’s rights defender refused and was consequently kicked, punched, thrown to the ground and beaten up. She was then dragged into the corridor and downstairs. While Rani Yan Yan was being beaten and dragged, she heard the attackers saying: "If we are to finish this off, we cannot do it here, it has to be done outside the hospital.†She was then thrown out of the hospital and punched in the head but managed to flee when a crowd of people started gathering outside the hospital.

Front Line Defenders condemns the brutal attack against Rani Yan Yan and her companion and believes the attack to be directly connected to their work in the defence and promotion of the rights of women and indigenous communities.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Bangladesh to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on Rani Yan Yan and her companion with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Rani Yan Yan and all human rights defenders assisting with this case;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Bangladesh are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.