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:; CC: 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,

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