Inform about steps taken to rescue stranded people (The New Nation (Bangladesh))

The High Court (HC) on Sunday directed the government to submit a report before it regarding the steps taken to bring back the Bangladesh citizens stranded in the sea and in the forests of Thailand and Malaysia in four weeks time.

In a separate rule, the court also wanted to know as to why legal action would not be initiated against the people involved in human smuggling under the Human Trafficking Deterrence and Suppression Act 2012. The HC bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo issued the rule after hearing a writ petition, filed by the rights organization National Forum for Protection of Human Rights (NFPHR).

Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Tajul Islam moved the petition on behalf of NFPHR on May 27. Hearing the petition, the court also issued a rule upon the government, asking an explanation as to why its ‘inaction’ to rescue the trafficked people would not be declared illegal.

The secretaries of home, foreign and law ministries, Inspector General of Police, Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Cox’s Bazar and Officer-in-Charge of Teknaf Police Station were made respondents in the rule. Advocate Tajul Islam placed submission for NFPHR, while Deputy Attorney General Amadul Karim appeared for the State.

Government’s initiative was not enough to rescue the Bangladeshi people who are trapped in sea or forests in Thailand while trying to go to Malaysia, Tajul Islam said. “Many women and children are also stranded in the sea. Though they tried to go abroad in illegal means, the government should have taken quick initiatives to save their lives, he said.

“They government may put them on trail for their illegal efforts, but the first and foremost thing is to rescue them from and bring back home, he added.