UK defends training for Bangladesh's elite force RAB

UK defends training for Bangladesh's elite force RAB

"The United Kingdom government had provided specific training to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to help meet its obligations to go about its business lawfully, respecting human rights," said Stephen Evans, the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh.

The envoy told mediapersons in the capital that the UK "decided to impart training in the area where RAB needs support and assistance to develop its capacity and understanding about the importance of the human rights."

"UK’s training is designed to help RAB improve their standards of compliance with human rights and the training is appropriate in this area," Evans said.

The British government has been flayed by human rights groups in the country and abroad for training RAB despite allegations of extra judicial killings against the elite force.

The London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International last month asked the UK to raise the issue of "torture, extrajudicial executions, and excessive use of force" by the RAB with Dhaka.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last week defended the training programme by Britain.
"Do you believe that the UK has trained this force to kill our own people? Certainly not," she said at an Oxford Union discourse in London.

WikiLeaks recently disclosed a US embassy cable on RAB training in Britain on "investigative interviewing techniques".

Evans earlier told PTI that RAB’s training in the UK was not a secret issue and "WikiLeaks did not give any new information" on the matter.

The Amnesty International earlier alleged that more than 600 people were believed to have killed by RAB personnel since 2004.

"These deaths amount to extrajudicial executions,” the watchdog’s Bangladesh researcher Abbas Faiz said.

A leading Bangladeshi rights watchdog in a report published in September last year said it recorded one custody death every three days on an average.