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Bangladesh rejects ‘one-sided’ US report on human rights

  • Published at 10:02 pm March 18th, 2019
File photo of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen addresses a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka on Monday, March 18, 2019 Focus Bangla

The minister said Bangladesh has already sent a protest note to the US government

The Bangladesh government has rejected a US State Department report that claimed the former had restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly, association and expression in 2018, and the December 30 elections were not free and fair.

During a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said: “Bangladesh completely rejects the US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. The report is one-sided, using figures from various organizations in Bangladesh without a rigorous investigation.

“If a rigorous investigation is conducted, then Bangladesh may consider corrective measures. This report is more applicable to the USA than Bangladesh,” he added.

In response to a question, the minister said Bangladesh has already sent a protest note to the US government.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were also present at the briefing.

The report published by the US State Department on Wednesday said: “The [Bangladesh] government limited or restricted the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association. There is a law for the right to peaceful assembly, but the government limited this right.

Also Read- US HR report: Government restricts freedoms of peaceful assembly, association

“Both print and online independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views; however, media outlets that criticized the government experienced negative government pressure,” it added.

The other human rights problems mentioned in the report included unlawful or arbitrary killings, forced disappearance, torture, arbitrary or unlawful detentions by the government or on its behalf, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, political prisoners, arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, censorship, site blocking, and criminal libel. 

It also mentioned of substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, such as overly restrictive non-governmental organizations (NGO) laws and restrictions on the activities of NGOs, significant restrictions on freedom of movement, restrictions on political participation, where elections have not been found to be genuine, free, or fair, corruption, trafficking in persons, violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons and criminalization of same-sex sexual activity, restrictions on independent trade unions, workers’ rights and use of the worst forms of child labour.

“There were reports of widespread impunity for security force abuses. The government took few measures to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse and killing by security forces,” the report said.

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