RAB: We exist to protect human rights

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The elite force only opens fire when they encounter resistance during operations, official says

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) exists to protect human rights and does not violate them, RAB spokesperson Cdr Khandaker Al Moin has said.

The RAB spokesperson made the remark on Saturday in response to a question on recent US sanctions against RAB and seven of its former and current officials over allegations of human rights abuses.

Cdr Khandaker Al Moin said RAB had learned of the sanctions through media reports and they are yet to receive any formal notification.

“Once we receive the official documents, RAB will scrutinize them and take necessary steps. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already taken various initiatives,” he added.
Our 9,000-member force exists to protect human rights. We have so far lost the lives of 28 members, including Lt Col Azad. In order to uphold law and order as well as in the protection of human rights, more than 1,000 of our members have been maimed while 2,000 of our members have sustained injuries,” the spokesperson further said.

He doubted whether any other organization with only 9,000 members had sacrificed this much in the line of duty.

He said RAB was established to curb militancy, eliminate drugs and terrorism.
Due to the success of RAB’s campaigns, militancy, which used to run rampant in the northern and southern regions of the country, has come down to zero,” Cdr Khandaker Al Moin said.

“The Sundarbans has been cleared of bandits. We have celebrated the third year of the criminal-free Sundarbans. There are few countries in the world where forests as vast as the Sundarbans have been cleared of the bandits,” he claimed.

He said 326 members of 36 gangs have surrendered in the Sundarbans after several gunfights.

“RAB has shown humanity in their rehabilitation. We have given them houses and cows. At the behest of the prime minister, we have taken all necessary steps to return them to normal lives,” he added.

He also mentioned that RAB had worked to transfer patients for treatment and raise awareness during the Covid-19 pandemic
RAB is an elite force where efficient officers are selected from various forces and brought in through a special process. The law, its own rules and regulations, are strictly followed here,” the RAB spokesperson said.

“We believe that every one of our members have the right to defend themselves, as every citizen of a country is given that right under the law of the land,” he added, stressing that RAB only opens fire when they encounter resistance during operations.

Cdr Khandaker Al Moin also said every exchange of fire is investigated impartially and anyone found guilty is punished.

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