Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
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Dhaka trashes the report

The government on Wednesday criticised the US report on Bangladesh’s human rights practices that contains some “misinformation” collected primarily from the “anti-government propaganda” machines, reports UNB.

“We’re thoroughly studying the report and will share in detail with the press on Sunday,” State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam told reporters as his initial comment was sought on the report. He said the government will do whatever is necessary to help the US government to come out from the “wrong perception.”

Shahriar pointed out a number of areas of the report in which the government what he says was blamed without any justification. “It’s wrong. It's a lie. It’s far from reality.”   He referred to the section of same-sex sexual conduct and said it is something against the religion Islam. “You show me a Muslim-majority country which approves LGBTQI+.”

The state minister said the government will never compromise on LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) no matter what pressure a country or institution tries to put on Bangladesh.

“This (promoting LGBTQI+) will be something like standing against the people of the country and religion,” he said.

He also talked about the issue of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia which was mentioned in the US report. Reiterating the government position he said Khaleda is not a political prisoner or detainee.

“We explained the issue several times to foreign envoys and the international community. Purely on humanitarian grounds, she was allowed to stay at home being released from jail,” he said.

He said the government has been blamed as in August last year for at least 11 Rohingya’s death after their boat capsized while trying to leave Bhasan Char. “Is it our fault? We have been blamed for that.”

Shahriar said no country is more serious than Bangladesh when it comes to humanitarian issues and everybody knows how serious Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is.

The US report mentioned that there were reports of “widespread impunity” for security force abuses and corruption and the government took “few measures” to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and abuse and killing by security forces.

When sought his comment on it, the state minister said, “Not at all.”

He said the government shared everything it is doing due to current extensive engagement following the sanctions imposed on elite force Rab.

“In every country, law enforcement agencies go through some challenges. People are being killed in the Rohingya camps due to internal feud. When our forces go there taking risks and if they need to open fire and if someone is killed, blame will be imposed on us. We need to come out from such things (blames),” said Shahriar.

He said they expect Bangladesh’s friends to understand the ground realities, challenges, Bangladesh’s constitutions, religions, culture and language and hoped that the international community will not try to come up with demands like LGBTQI+ showing enough respect to those issues.

Progress Begins with Facts

The State Department on Tuesday night released the 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, an annual report required by U.S. law.

US President Joe Biden has put human rights at the centre of his foreign policy. The United States said they are committed to a world in which human rights are protected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable.

“Working together, we must commit ourselves to promoting respect for human rights. We must speak honestly about the challenges we face. Progress on human rights begins with the facts,” said US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas.

Guided by the United Nations’ Universal Declarations on Human Rights and subsequent human rights treaties, the country reports cover observance of and respect for internationally recognized human rights and worker rights.

The country reports do not draw legal conclusions, rate countries, or declare whether they failed to meet standards.

“President Biden is committed to a foreign policy that unites our democratic values with our diplomatic leadership, and one that is centered on the defense of democracy and the protection of human rights,” said the US Embassy in Dhaka.

In this 50th anniversary year of the U.S.-Bangladesh bilateral relationship, promoting democracy, good governance, and human rights will remain paramount, it said.