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Human rights in Bangladesh: Dhaka bins UN special rapporteurs’ comments

Diplomatic Correspondent, dhakadiplomat.com
  21 Nov 2023, 21:35

Questioning the intention of three UN special rapporteurs, Bangladesh today said it seems that they were "influenced by a desire to malign" the government with "false and fabricated" information on the human rights situation of the country.

Responding to the OHCHR's press release issued on November 14, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press statement said their one-sided observations appear as ill-intentioned particularly in the context of the government's active engagement with them.

"The press release compels the government to raise question about the motive and content of the observations made by three UN special rapporteurs," it said.

They are Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The timing of the press note containing the remarks of the special rapporteurs as well as their possible intentions are "intriguing", the ministry said in the statement.

"They came up with their remarks on the country's human rights at a time when Bangladesh's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has just been concluded on the previous day -- 13 November 2023, and an overwhelming majority of countries appreciated Bangladesh for her key legislative, policy, and institutional initiatives taken for advancing the enjoyment of human rights by its people while they made their recommendations," reads Bangladesh's reply.

The content of the press note of the special rapporteurs largely allegations against the government on the human rights situation of Bangladesh particularly on the current labour unrest, political violence, and other individual cases such as those of Prof Mohammad Yunus, Adilur Rahman Khan, and Rozina Islam.

"Bangladesh is a sovereign country where rule of law prevails. Accordingly, the three cases are being dealt with by law courts of the independent judiciary where the Government has no scope of intervention," the ministry said.

Specifically, regarding the case of Prof Muhammad Yunus, it needs mentioning that the case against him is of depriving the workers of a company owned by him of their rightful share of profit, added the statement.

"So, it is surprising that the special rapporteurs are talking of the government violating human rights when the government is actually protecting labour and human rights," the ministry said.

The government finds the conduct of the special rapporteurs incongruent with their respective mandates and selective.

There were fourteen states that underwent UPR examination in the just concluded session of the Working Group on UPR in November 2023.

"It is interesting to note that the special rapporteurs chose to issue a statement only on Bangladesh where again they remained silent on innumerable improvements as were appreciated by majority of the participating delegations in this peer review," the ministry added.

 

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