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As Bangladesh braces for the impact of COVID-19, with much of the country in lockdown, people with means have stocked food and hunkered down at home. But in a country where one in five people lives below the poverty line, for…
A Hijra in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
News

Societal Discrimination Compounds Health Risks

A high-ranking official in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, reassured the transgender community there that the government would support them during a province-wide lockdown due to COVID-19. Karachi commissioner Iftikhar…
Transgender people wearing face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 take selfies at a park in Peshawar, Pakistan, March 20, 2020.
News

Investigate Slew of Attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The latest killing of a transgender woman in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province exemplifies the government’s failure to take measures to protect the rights of its transgender citizens. On May 4, assailants fatally…
a member of the transgender community, applies make up as she prepares for Shakeela's party in Peshawar, Pakistan January 22, 2017.
News

Transgender Men Face Threats and Widespread Discrimination

In October 2017 Human Rights Watch interviewed six transgender men living in different parts of Bangladesh. All of them spoke of bullying at school, barriers to employment, difficulty accessing health care, as well as harassment and verbal abuse in both…
Marchers at an LGBT rights rally in Dhaka during Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New  Year) in 2015.
Report
Summary My brother asked, “Can I have your identity? What is your force? Are you RAB, CID, DB?” They did not identify themselves. He asked several times. They did not wear any uniform and they had no legal arrest warrant. Nothing. They just said, “…
News

Security Forces Offer Threats, Not Protection

Bangladesh’s notorious Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) raided a gathering in Dhaka on May 19, arrested 28 men, paraded them in front of the media while saying they were gay, and accused them of drug possession. Apparently tipped off by a…
Members of the the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 4, 2012.
News

Free 5 Pakistanis Still Held After February ‘Morality’ Raid

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia should investigate the death of a Pakistani transgender woman at a Riyadh police station following a raid on an event space in late February 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi authorities should also immediately release…
Transgender activists protest against the rape of two transgender women in Faisalabad.
News

Women, Religious Groups, Refugees Endure Violence, Intimidation

(New York) – Pakistan’s government did little to protect vulnerable groups and religious minorities from attack by militant groups in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The authorities clamped down on civil society groups for…
Supporters of the Gender Interactive Alliance dance and chant slogans as they pose with a national flag ahead of the Independence Day in Karachi, August 13, 2016.
News

Lack of Rights Protections for Hijras Undermines Government Directive

(Dhaka, December 23, 2016) – Bangladesh’s steps in recent years to recognize hijras as a third legal gender are leading to further abuses due to widespread prejudice and lack of clear rights-based procedures, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
A Hijra in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Report
Summary In recent years the government of Bangladesh has taken important steps toward acknowledging and protecting hijras, but the implementation of promising decrees and programs has exposed hijras to serious abuses. On…
News

Local Parliament Calls for Federal Guarantee for Transgender Voting

The provincial assembly in a northwestern province of Pakistan this week unanimously passed a resolution calling on the federal government to ensure voting rights for transgender women. It is an important message of support for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (…
Transgender activists protest against the rape of two transgender women in Faisalabad.
Report
Summary On the morning of February 28, 2013, the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party called a strike to protest the death penalty handed down against its leader, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, who had been convicted by Bangladesh’s International Crimes…
Report
Summary I have no hope of getting justice in this crooked system. —Umar Daraz, Karachi, January 2016 How do you expect us to recover stolen items from hardened criminals? Do you think they will agree if we say, ‘Be nice to us and return…
News

Surge in Violence Should Prompt Authorities to Act

In a rare move of support for transgender people, this week Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights issued a forceful call for an investigation after an unidentified assailant violently attacked a transgender woman in Peshawar, the capital of…
Transgender activists protest against the rape of two transgender women in Faisalabad.
News

Consideration of Bangladesh’s Periodic Report, 65th Session

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input drawn from our research on Bangladesh’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). A.   Marriage Rights (Article 16 and…
News

Promptly Investigate, Prosecute Those Responsible

(New York) – Pakistani authorities should urgently investigate the surge in violent attacks on transgender women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Human Rights Watch said today. They should also investigate allegations that medical staff and police failed…
Transgender activists protest against the rape of two transgender women in Faisalabad.
News

Carry Out Proper Investigations to Identify and Prosecute ‘Machete Attacks’

(New York) – The Bangladeshi authorities should investigate attacks on secular writers, gay rights activists, and religious minorities, and identify and prosecute the perpetrators, but should immediately stop arbitrarily arresting people without proper…
Police stand guard during a rally by activists demanding capital punishment for a group of bloggers in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 12, 2013.
News

Bangladesh's beleagured LGBT community deserves the government's respect, but more importantly, the community deserves protection from fatal attacks by extremists, says this researcher at Human Rights Watch.

On April 14 I saw a news alert about police arresting four LGBT people in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s bustling capital city. I emailed Xulhaz Mannan, a contact at the organization mentioned in the news piece, to ask what support they needed. He wrote back two…