icon caret Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Line Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Crisiswatch Alerts and Trends Box - 1080/761 Copy Twitter Video Camera  copyview Whatsapp Youtube
孟加拉国的政治冲突、极端主义和刑事司法
孟加拉国的政治冲突、极端主义和刑事司法
Protesters march in Dhaka during a general strike, held in response to the recent murder of Faysal Arefin, a publisher of books by critics of religious militancy in Bangladesh, 3 November 2015. REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman
Report 277 / Asia

孟加拉国的政治冲突、极端主义和刑事司法

政治镇压在孟加拉国进一步升温,政府为了政治目的滥用法治,而其所营造的不公正气氛则让反政府极端组织有机可乘。近日,某世俗派博主惨遭极端组织的毒手,而该惨案正是这些组织实力壮大且肆无忌惮的恶果。

执行摘要

随着人民联盟(AL)控制下的政府与孟加拉国民族主义党(BNP)的政治对抗不断升级,政府的压迫手段也再创新高。与此同时,一个高度政治化、运转不周的司法体系正在削弱而非加强法治。高压政策使政府的合法性受到质疑,同时,政府的强硬手段还适得其反地引发暴力反抗,并令暴力党派和极端组织坐收渔利。政府需要认识到改变现状符合其自身利益,否则它抑制暴力极端主义、或应对政治上的威胁。更关键的则是要去政治化,并加强刑法体系在各方面的建设,司法机构也不例外;如此为,孟加拉国才能应对其国内众多的法制挑战,并避免民主制度崩塌。

人民联盟和孟加拉国民族主义党之间的政治冲突已导致了众多暴力事件和政府的残酷镇压。为打压反对派和批判者,政府采取了强迫失踪、严刑逼供和法外处决等过激手段。不仅警察被授意针对政敌,司法机构沦为迫害反对派领袖和社运分子的工具,暴力极端分子也对他们发起了新一轮的威胁。然而,目前的法律环境却为极端团体创造了重组的机会,这则体现在对世俗派博主和外国人的谋害、以及2015年对宗派和宗教少数派的袭击上。为应对不断上升的极端主义势力,政府对部分嫌疑人实行了抓捕和审讯,但因其流程不正规且缺乏透明度,这进而加剧了政治疏离感,且让极端组织有了更多的可乘之机。

若要与反对派和解并恢复社会稳定,政府需做出政治妥协,不再利用执法部门镇压异己、并停止滥用法庭。政府为了禁言政治异见,而利用警察和特别部队——尤其是快速行动营(RAB)——打压的行为正在为将来的暴力反抗埋下伏笔。因为要集中打压反对派,警方无暇遏制犯罪行为;对反对派领袖和社运人士的大规模抓捕使得监狱系统不堪重负;司法机关的信誉亦是——因其被认为在审判和量刑上效忠于党派的政治利益——每况愈下。如此一来,司法系统便在两个极端间摇摆不定——即,办理普通案件时效率极其低下,且运作不周;而在处理政治指控时,其则断案神速,并略过了正当的诉讼程序。

除非能剔除司法中的政治影响,任何——单靠增加培训,加强警力装备,和实现公安、公诉和司法部门现代化的——改革努力都难以解决司法系统失调的问题。数年来分帮结派式的招募、升迁和委任导致体制内分化严重,以至于官员都不再掩饰各自的派系忠诚。投诉如何定性和上报、而上报案件的轻重缓急由如何划分;这些都取决于司法官员的党派偏见,他们甚至还会提前透露判决结果。

孟加拉国的法治问题并不止步于此,其还诉诸司法手段来禁言公民社会、阻碍媒体监督,并在处理政治案件时,以不公平程序取代正当程序。法制机构若沦为服务政治的工具,其将百害无利,而漏洞百出的国际犯罪法庭(ICT)则着重印证了这一点。该法庭成立于2010年,其本是为了起诉那些在1971年解放战争中犯下暴行的战犯而设,然而其缺乏公正的形象令极端势力有机可乘,并对政治冲突火上浇油。

为纪念具争议的2014年大选,孟加拉国民族主义党及其盟友伊斯兰大会党(Jamaat-e-Islami)组织了大规模的盲目暴力袭击和交通封锁,而政府亦是以暴制暴。如今,孟加拉国民族主义党似乎已不太愿意诉诸于武力政变了,并决定回归主流政治,而政府应抓住机会,尽快恢复和反对党对话。为表诚意并作出表率,政府应率先停止用司法手段攻击对手和异见者。接受合法的政治参与及批判渠道亦有助于政府收复部分合法性,并重拾公民对国家司法和安全的信任。只要一日没有司法独立和裁决公正,那各利益攸关方就可能会将争端诉诸于街头,然而一个中立——即,能坚守基本原则、防止行政过度干涉——的司法提携则将有助于缓和紧张局势。国际社会亦能促进孟加拉国的政治和解。美国和欧盟可以利用经济筹码向达卡当局施压,以此要求政府尊重公民权和政治权。印度则可以借助它与孟加拉国的密切联系,并敦促人民联盟向反对党开放合法的政治表达和参与通道。事不宜迟,如果政府继续封锁表达异见的主流渠道,那将会有更多的反对派将暴力和加入暴力组织视为其唯一的出路。

布鲁塞尔,2016年4月11日

Rohingya refugee women hold placards as they take part in a protest at the Kutupalong refugee camp to mark the one-year anniversary of their exodus in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, 25 August 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Briefing 153 / Asia

Bangladesh-Myanmar: The Danger of Forced Rohingya Repatriation

Bangladesh and Myanmar have struck a deal for the involuntary repatriation of over 2,000 Rohingya refugees. But the agreement is rushed and threatens stability on both sides of the border. Myanmar and Bangladesh should halt the plan and instead work to create conditions conducive to a safe and dignified return. 

What’s new? Bangladesh’s government is preparing to return several thousand Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Under pressure from China, the two countries have agreed to start implementing a repatriation agreement on 15 November 2018.

Why does it matter? The returns process is not voluntary and jeopardises refugees’ safety as conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are not conducive to their return. The move renews the risk of violent unrest in Bangladesh where the refugees are housed as well in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

What should be done? The UN, U.S., European Union (EU), Australia, Canada and other governments should press Bangladesh and Myanmar to postpone repatriation until conditions on the ground in Myanmar allow Rohingya refugees to return safely and voluntarily.

I. Overview

Bangladesh is poised to begin returning several thousand Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. This repatriation is unlikely to be voluntary and should not proceed. It would not only violate Bangladesh’s international legal obligations and jeopardise the safety of the refugees, but risks triggering violence and greater instability on both sides of the border. Bangladesh and Myanmar should immediately halt the plan. The UN, including the secretary-general’s special envoy and the UN refugee agency, should continue to firmly oppose it, both in public and in private, and establish a process whereby Rohingya refugees are consulted about their future. The U.S., European Union (EU), Australia, Canada and others also should press Bangladesh and Myanmar to halt the returns and instead work to create conditions conducive to voluntary repatriation; those countries’ participation at the 11-15 November ASEAN summits in Singapore is an opportunity to do so.

II. New Pressures for Repatriation

Almost 750,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh following Myanmar’s brutal military operation in Rakhine state in response to attacks on security posts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militant group in August 2017.[fn]See Crisis Group Asia Report N°292, Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis Enters a Dangerous New Phase, 7 December 2017.Hide Footnote The refugees have been living in vast camps near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border ever since. A UN fact-finding mission concluded that the military’s actions constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and possible genocide.[fn]“Myanmar: UN Fact-Finding Mission releases its full account of massive violations by military in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States”, press release, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 18 September 2018.Hide Footnote

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to a procedural framework for repatriation in November 2017, which was supposed to start on 23 January. But no Rohingya refugee has returned through official channels. In fact, more Rohingya have left Myanmar since then: some 16,000 have departed Rakhine state for Bangladesh so far in 2018.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, UN officials involved in the relief effort, Bangladesh, November 2018.Hide Footnote Refugees are unwilling to return without guarantees that their security and rights will be protected, accountability ensured and compensation provided for the destruction of their villages, homes and property.

On 30 October, however, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on a repatriation deal at a joint working group meeting in Dhaka. Under the agreement, 485 Rohingya families (a total of 2,260 people) are to be returned to Myanmar starting on 15 November; Myanmar has said that it will process 150 returnees per day.[fn]“First batch of over 2,260 returnees to be accepted at rate of 150 per day”, Global New Light of Myanmar, 5 November 2018, p. 2.Hide Footnote  These people were not consulted in advance and how they were selected is unclear; they are terrified at the prospect of being returned to Myanmar.[fn]“Humanitarian Organizations call for Guarantees of Safety and Rights for Refugees before Return to Myanmar Commences”, press release, INGO Forum Myanmar, 8 December 2017.Hide Footnote  The Bangladesh authorities have said that they will not force people to go back, but no return under present circumstances can be voluntary. Crisis Group interviews indicate that some of the refugees on the list for return have gone into hiding out of fear of being repatriated; at least one has attempted suicide.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, Rohingya refugees, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 2018. See also “Rohingya refugee attempts suicide as repatriation fears rise”, The Telegraph (London), 8 November 2018.Hide Footnote

Some of the refugees on the list for return have gone into hiding out of fear of being repatriated; at least one has attempted suicide.

While the two countries have held many previous discussions and made announcements on repatriation plans over the past year that have not been implemented, this time Bangladesh appears determined to push through a limited returns process. Its political calculations have shifted for two key reasons.

First, it has come under considerable diplomatic pressure from China to start returns. China has important economic and geostrategic interests in Myanmar, including a multi-billion dollar China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, the details of which are currently being finalised; it is also a major investor in Bangladesh, giving it significant leverage. China has been supporting Myanmar in the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly and protecting it from stronger Security Council action. It has advocated support for Myanmar and Bangladesh to deal with the situation bilaterally instead of being addressed in multilateral forums, but this argument rings hollow if the bilateral process is not working.

Beijing has thus facilitated a series of meetings between Myanmar and Bangladesh and has made clear that it wants to see movement. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a side meeting among Myanmar, Bangladesh and UN Secretary-General António Guterres and his Special Envoy during the General Assembly in September, where the Bangladesh foreign minister committed to start repatriations “soon”.[fn]“China facilitates informal meeting at UN to expedite refugee repatriation process”, The Irrawaddy, 1 October 2018.Hide Footnote Shortly before the 30 October meeting between Myanmar and Bangladesh, Chinese Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi also met with Bangladeshi leaders.

Secondly, Bangladesh is worried about what it sees as an emerging global consensus that most refugees are unlikely to return home for the foreseeable future and a shift in Western donor focus to their local integration. Many senior Bangladeshi officials privately acknowledge that the majority of refugees may never go home.[fn]But they are not ready to state this publicly or to allow donors to take for granted Bangladesh’s continued hosting of the Rohingya – especially given the low levels of funding for the humanitarian operation and the burden this places on Bangladesh. It also believes that international actors have not pressed Myanmar enough to address the security, rights and accountability issues to enable any large-scale return.[fn]By undertaking some forced returns, Bangladesh officials appear to be banking on the fact that they will alarm donors and prompt them to focus more on the situation and realise the status quo is unsustainable.

These factors have combined to tip Bangladesh’s policy in favour of a small-scale return. Political dynamics ahead of general elections in Bangladesh on 23 December may also play a part. Myanmar also sees a limited repatriation as serving its interests. Naypyitaw hopes that a small number of returns would demonstrate to a sceptical world that it is ready to welcome Rohingya back, shifting the focus away from the reasons why they originally left – and thereby weakening, it believes, the basis for claims of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

III. The Risks of Forced Returns

While Bangladesh and Myanmar may consider that the return of some refugees serves their respective interests, it would harm the Rohingya themselves, who would be returning to a situation from which people continue to flee. Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, and while it has given the Rohingya safe haven, it does not formally recognise them as refugees. Nevertheless, Bangladesh has an obligation under customary international law to ensure that any return of refugees to Myanmar is voluntary and safe.

Bangladesh and Myanmar did not consult in advance with the UN or its refugee agency on the repatriation. The UN has stressed the move is premature and that it does not yet consider conditions on the ground in Rakhine state conducive to returns.[fn]The UN special rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Myanmar issued a statement on 6 November calling on Bangladesh to shelve the “rushed plans” for repatriation.[fn]

In addition to the human rights concerns, a forced repatriation carries serious risks for security and stability on both sides of the border. The refugee community in Bangladesh is strongly opposed to the move and will do whatever it can to resist it. This will increase tensions in the camps and could lead to confrontations between refugees and Bangladeshi security forces and greatly complicate humanitarian operations. A botched repatriation attempt could potentially set back peace and development efforts by years.

The ARSA militant group continues to have a prominent presence in the camps and could launch cross-border raids on Myanmar’s security forces, as it did in January 2018, in an effort to stop repatriation. Other militant factions have also been organising in the camps, though their capacity for violent action is unclear.[fn]Crisis Group interviews, Rohingya refugees, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, January-November 2018.Hide Footnote Any attack or other security incident in Rakhine state would heighten tensions there and could worsen conditions for the several hundred thousand Rohingya who remain. Myanmar has also said that some of the people proposed by Bangladesh for repatriation were ARSA members.[fn]“Dozens of ‘terrorists’ among Rohingya slated for repatriation, Myanmar official says”, Radio Free Asia, 8 November 2018.Hide Footnote  It is not known if they are among those selected for return but this raises the worrying possibility that some of those sent back could be arrested.

In addition to the human rights concerns, a forced repatriation carries serious risks for security and stability on both sides of the border.

A rushed repatriation is also likely to increase tensions in Rakhine state. Already, ethnic Rakhine opposed to returns have held demonstrations to stop them. Rakhine nationalists are also calling for strict security vetting of returnees and resettling them to certain secure areas instead of their home villages. In particular, nationalists are staunchly opposed to any returns to southern Maungdaw, which they want to maintain as a “Muslim-free zone”.[fn]“With Rohingya gone, Myanmar’s ethnic Rakhine seek Muslim-free 'buffer zone’”, The Daily Star, 16 March 2018.Hide Footnote  Crisis Group has seen a partial list of the returnees, a number of whom came from villages in this area, and under the terms of the repatriation agreement should be allowed to return there. A secretive repatriation process without the consultations and preparations needed in Rakhine state could easily inflame hostilities and provoke violence against returnees or the remaining Rohingya population.

If refugees fear that they will be forced back to Myanmar, they may become more desperate to leave the camps and to attempt dangerous sea journeys across the Bay of Bengal to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia or other countries. This could have wider regional implications, as it did during the maritime migration crisis of 2015.

IV. Recommendations

The following actions should urgently be taken:

  • Bangladesh and Myanmar should immediately halt plans to return refugees to Rakhine state until they can ensure a process of voluntary, safe and dignified return. The onus is squarely on Myanmar to create those conditions.
     
  • In the meantime, Myanmar should grant unfettered access for the UN and its international NGO partners, as well as the media, to northern Rakhine for the delivery of essential humanitarian support and in order to allow independent assessment of the situation on the ground.
     
  • The Bangladesh government and its international partners should deepen their political engagement with the Rohingya refugees and consult them about their future. So far, there is almost no consultation or even processes in place to do so.
     
  • China should stop pressing for an early repatriation and lend its weight to efforts by other governments and organisations to create conditions in Rakhine state that are conducive to voluntary and sustainable return.
     
  • The UN and its refugee agency should continue to firmly oppose the repatriation in public and in private and use its influence in both countries to halt the process. In particular, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, should take a clear public stand and press both Dhaka and Naypyitaw to shelve their current plans. The UN, already facing serious questions about its approach in the years leading up to the crisis, cannot fail the Rohingya again.[fn]The Fact-Finding Mission recommended that “As a matter of urgency, a comprehensive, independent inquiry should be conducted into the involvement of the United Nations in Myanmar since 2011, with a view to establishing whether everything possible to prevent or mitigate the unfolding crises was done, identifying lessons learned and good practices, making recommendations as appropriate, including on accountability, and enabling more effective work in future.” This call has been echoed by the Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee. See “Report of the International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar”, A/HRC/39/64, 18 September 2018, para. 111.Hide Footnote If a precedent of forced repatriation is set, larger-scale forced returns in the future become much more likely.

As dialogue partners with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the U.S., EU, Australia, Canada and others should use the upcoming ASEAN summit meetings from 11 to 15 November in Singapore to press Myanmar to halt its current plans and instead work to create conditions for voluntary repatriation. ASEAN countries have a direct stake, since forced returns will likely lead to a surge in Rohingya seeking to flee by boat to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Brussels, 12 November 2018

 

Appendix A: Map of Rakhine State