These private punishments significantly harm women’s and girls’ lives and health. Instead of intervening and taking active measures to prevent these abuses, the Bangladesh authorities have been mute bystanders.
Aruna Kashyap, Asia women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch
• Set up around-the-clock toll-free helplines that are easily accessible to poor rural women so they can report violence and seek emergency assistance.
• Improve access to women's shelters and safe homes in every district to ensure emergency protection for women if they face such dangers in their communities.
• Provide psycho-social support and legal assistance to those who have been punished by traditional shalishes, encouraging them to take action to hold those responsible to account.
• Monitor investigations and prosecutions into punishments imposed in the name of carrying out fatwas to ensure that the accused are punished under the law, and that effective reparations are available to victims and survivors.
Published in Human Rights Watch, New York, United States, July 6, 2011