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Bangladesh: border guards strengthen their awareness of international humanitarian and human rights laws

22-05-2012 News Release 12/107

Dhaka (ICRC) – The Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB), the largest security force in the country, are to take part in a training course on international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The course, jointly organized by the BGB's Khulna Sector Headquarters and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will be held on 22 and 23 May.

Fifty BGB officers will attend the course, which covers the international standards governing arrest and detention, restoring family links, the management of dead bodies during disasters, as well as the use of force and of firearms. The participants will also learn about the ICRC's mandate and activities, mainly in the areas of protecting detainee rights, tracing missing persons and assisting victims of violence.

"The BGB has some very important duties," said William Bowie, the ICRC's delegate to the armed forces and the security forces. "They patrol the border and operate against cross-border crimes such as smuggling, human and drugs trafficking. All this falls within the jurisdiction of human rights law. However, in times of armed conflict, BGB is a reserve force that may take part in war, and therefore needs to comply with IHL." Mr Bowie believes that their training will enable members of the BGB to distinguish between the various laws that apply to the differing circumstances under which they work.

The ICRC has been in the country since 2006. In 2010, the organization signed a headquarters agreement with the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, which formally changed the status of its presence in Dhaka, from a mission to a delegation. The ICRC helps people affected by internal tensions and violence in close cooperation with its main operational partner in the country, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC also provides support for incorporating humanitarian law in domestic legislation, and promotes this body of law among authorities, members of the armed forces and security forces, and scholars.

For further information, please contact:
Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Dhaka, tel: +88 01 714133858,
Onchita Shadman, ICRC Dhaka, tel: +88 0175 562 14 56,