First UA: 131/20 Index: ASA 13/3010/2020 Bangladesh

Date: 7 September 2020

URGENT ACTION
300 RETURNING MIGRANT WORKERS ARRESTED
The arbitrary arrest and detention of 81 Bangladeshi migrant workers in September after they arrived in
Bangladesh from Vietnam having been trafficked brings to a total of more than 300 Bangladeshi workers
arrested and detained upon their return from various countries since May 2020. Detained for “tarnishing the
image of the country” by allegedly engaging in criminal activities, no credible evidence concerning their
alleged crimes has yet been provided in any case. Their arrest and detention violate Bangladesh’s obligations
under international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They
must be freed immediately unless they are promptly charged with recognizable offence.

TAKE ACTION: WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER

Honourable Minister,

Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan, MP
Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
Fax: +88-02-9347290
Email: minister@mha.gov.bd;
CC: minister@probashi.gov.bd

I am writing to express my concern about the arbitrary arrest and continued detention of Bangladeshi
migrant workers Mohammad Shahin Alam and Taijuddin together with approximately 300 other
Bangladeshi workers who have returned home between May and August 2020. The arrest and detention of
these workers in the absence of any credible evidence of any criminal activity committed on Bangladeshi
territory violates Bangladesh’s commitment to international human rights law including Article 9 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention and
protects everyone’s right to liberty.
Mohammad Shahin Alam was imprisoned in Bahrain for not having a valid work visa. He is one of at least
219 migrant workers currently detained in Bangladesh who were imprisoned in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain
for such offences. The respective governments commuted their terms, and then deported them. I also find
it particularly distressing to learn that Taijuddin and 80 other Bangladeshi migrants, who were victims of
human trafficking, were also arrested after they returned from Vietnam on 18 August 2020. Taijuddin’s
wife was expecting him to return to home on 1 September after staying in quarantine for two weeks but he
was sent to the Dhaka Central Jail on the same day.
Dhaka’s magistrate court has granted police request to detain the workers in jail until the police can
determine their offence without specifying any particular charge or evidence against them. This is not only
a clear violation of their human rights but fails to acknowledge that migrant workers are the lifeblood of
Bangladesh’s economy which has earned $18.2 billion in remittances in the fiscal year 2019-20.
I urge your government to:
Either immediately charge each of the workers with a recognizable criminal offence under Bangladeshi law
whilst ensuring the necessary due process or release them in line with your government’s obligations under
international human rights law.
Yours sincerely,

Select target paragraph3