TOPIC – Sanctions and rights

The U.S. move to sanction a paramilitary unit in Bangladesh, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), has apparently caught the administration in Dhaka off-guard, prompting a diplomatic pushback including Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen summoning U.S. Ambassador to Dhaka Earl Miller to protest the action. Fresh on the heels of the U.S. President Joe Biden’s Democracy Summit, which Dhaka was not invited to attend, the U.S. Treasury said that as per the allegations made by various NGOs, the RAB and other Bangladeshi law enforcement units were responsible for “more than 600 disappearances since 2009, nearly 600 extrajudicial killings since 2018, and torture”; there were also reports suggesting that the targets of these actions were Opposition party members, journalists, and human rights activists. The sanctions were invoked under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The RAB is a joint task force founded in 2004. Under the RAB’s mandate of ensuring internal security, intelligence-gathering on criminal activities, and government-directed investigations, principally relating to Bangladesh’s war on drugs, there have been “widespread allegations of serious human rights abuse” by the RAB, to the extent that they threaten U.S. national security interests by undermining the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, according to the U.S. Treasury. The broader picture of the U.S.’s application of sanctions to alleged human rights violators across the globe is that the latest list of allegations includes not just the RAB, but also government officials and administrators in the Xinjiang region of China, where the minority Uighur community is reported to have faced rights violations; citizens of North Korea suspected to be engaged in earning illicit incomes abroad to support the country’s arms trade and Russian institutions that have aided them; two military officials from Sri Lanka alleged to have committed gross rights violations against ethnic Tamils; and Chief Ministers of States in Myanmar who are alleged to have facilitated “ongoing brutal crackdowns against the people of Burma, including children and members of ethnic minority groups.…” A knee-jerk response to such sweeping sanctions is to either question their effectiveness or challenge their moral authority given that minorities in the U.S., such as African Americans, are also periodically at the receiving end of rights violations. However, given the rampant degree of such violations worldwide, there is a case to be made for any policy by any country that highlights the role of specific individuals alleged to be involved. Especially across South Asia, it might be salutary for the broader cause of human rights if there is a ripple effect of the sanctions on the RAB. Indeed, if this action gives pause for thought to overzealous law enforcement agents who violently act out their prejudices against ethnic or religious minorities that would be welcome.

The Hindu Editorial Words with meanings, synonyms, and antonyms 


Apparently (adverb) – As far as one knows or can see

Synonyms – Ostensibly, plausibly, feignedly, avowedly, illusorily

Antonyms – Improbably, hazily, perplexingly, dubiously, vaguely

Allegations (noun) – An assertion, especially an accusation, not necessarily based on facts

Synonyms – Imputation, avouchment, utterance, promulgation, verbalism

Antonyms – Exoneration, acquittal, exculpation, flattery, sanction

Invoked (verb) – To call upon (a deity or person) for help, assistance or guidance

Synonyms – Implore, impetrate, besiege, nudge, cajole

Antonyms – Waive, command, grant, offer, demand

Violators (noun) – A person who breaks or fails to comply with a rule or formal agreement

Synonyms – Delinquent, reprobate, felon, ruffian, scoundrel

Antonyms – Sheriff, gendarme, patrolman, constable, constabulary

Illicit (adjective) – Forbidden by law, rules, or custom

Synonyms – Felonious, interdicted, furtive, verboten, villainous

Antonyms –Chaste, venial, scrupulous, exemplary, unbribable

Facilitated (verb) – Make (an action or process) easy or easier

Synonyms – Incubate, oblige, espouse, lubricate, bolster

Antonyms –Prorogue, thwart, filibuster, encumber, stymie

 Brutal (adjective) – Savagely violent

Synonyms –Callous, atrocious, wicked, fiendish, infernal

Antonyms –Indulgent, solicitous, altruistic, commiserating, affable

Rampant (adjective) – Not restrained or held in check

Synonyms –Riotous, extravagant, profligate, licentious, exuberant

Antonyms –Reticent, endemic, stifled, stilted, contrived

Ripple (noun) – A result or consequence of something

Synonyms –Repercussion, corollary, denouement, concomitant

Antonyms –Impetus, stimulus, intention, rationale, spring

Overzealous (adjective) – Too enthusiastic or determined

Synonyms –Fervent, rabid, raving, maniacal, incorrigible

Antonyms –Taciturn, detached, timid, frigid, apathetic