UN SR’s comments on human rights ‘false and fabricated’: Ministry of External Affairs
Dhaka, November 21, 2023 (BASS): The government has said that the comments of three United Nations Special Rapporteurs (SRs) on the human rights situation in Bangladesh are full of false and fabricated information to slander the government. “Their one-sided observations are ill-intentioned, especially in the context of the government’s active communication with them,” a Foreign Ministry statement said today.
It said that the attention of the Government of Bangladesh has been drawn to a press release published by OHCHR on its website on 14 November 2023 titled ‘UN experts urge Bangladesh to take Human Rights Council review as opportunity to address deteriorating human rights situation’. The OHCHR press release was issued by three UN Special Rapporteurs (SRs) – Irene Khan, SR on the promotion and protection of freedom of expression, Clement Nyletsosi Voul, SR on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and Marie L’Lour, SR on the situation of human rights defenders. forcing the government to question the purpose and content of the observations made by The Ministry of External Affairs said the press release containing the SRs’ comments was particularly noteworthy as well as their possible motives.
The ministry’s statement added that they made their comments on the country’s human rights at a time when the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Bangladesh had just concluded the previous day on November 13, 2023, and the majority of countries praised Bangladesh for adopting basic laws, policies and institutional measures. . This institutional initiative has been taken according to the recommendations of the people of the country for the advancement of human rights. It said that SR’s press note was mainly about the human rights situation in Bangladesh, particularly the current labor unrest and political violence and complaints against the government about the cases of Professor Mohammad Yunus and Adilur Rahman Khan, Rozina Islam.
Bangladesh is a sovereign country, where the rule of law prevails and accordingly the three cases were handled by the Law Courts of the Independent Judiciary. There is no scope for government intervention in this. The statement said, specifically, the case against Dr Yunus for depriving the workers of a company he owned of their fair share of profits. So it is surprising that these SRs are talking about the government’s human rights violations, while the government is basically protecting labor and human rights. Moreover, the UPR session reiterated the government’s firm commitment to promote and protect human rights in the country. Most of the issues raised by the SRs were duly clarified by the Bangladesh delegation there.
The implementation of the human rights agenda is a work in progress – Bangladesh assured the Human Rights Council that Bangladesh will continue its efforts to implement the recommendations of various countries. Therefore, the government does not understand why there was a need to make similar comments by the SRs in such a hurry, without giving the government any time for the recommendations made during the UPR. The Government considers the conduct of the SRs to be totally inconsistent with their respective mandates and jurisdictions.
The statement said, “They call on the Human Rights Council and the international community to put pressure on Bangladesh to ensure a safe, open and conducive environment for free and fair elections, as well as to give member states a high moral ground in accepting the Working Group’s report.”
It is also said, “This call to the international community does not fall within their responsibility.”
One of the three SRs is Bangladeshi and has recently shown an ‘unprecedented level’ of enthusiasm in making critical observations of Bangladesh. But he has kept silent on these issues of other countries.
The Ministry of External Affairs observed that ‘these SRs are in danger of losing their credibility and acceptability due to such a partial, biased, subjective and inconsistent presentation.’ The Government of Bangladesh emphasizes the importance of the role of Special Procedures mandate holders towards a well-functioning human rights system. Bangladesh hopes that the SRs will remain faithful to their responsibilities. It is expected that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will assist them by providing them with proper instructions to discharge their responsibilities properly and warn them not to use this platform purposefully.