Donld Lu seeks updates on status of political, civic rights

Khandker Masudul Alam, director general, North America wing at the foreign ministry welcomes Donald Lu at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka, on 14 May, 2024Courtesy US Embassy in Bangladesh

The visiting US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, Donald Lu, has sought to know about the practices of political and civic rights following the 12th national polls in Bangladesh.

During a meeting to exchange views with the civic society representatives in Dhaka Tuesday evening, the US assistant secretary also asked about various issues related to economy, labour rights, climate change, and human rights situation. The Palestine issue was also among the topics.

Earlier, Donald Lu arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday morning. He held the meet up with the civic society at the residence of US ambassador Peter Haas on the first day of his three-day trip in Bangladesh.

The participants castigated the Israeli atrocity in Gaza and the US law enforcers’ role in suppressing the protests in the US.

Among the attendees are The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam, Bangladesh Centre for Women Workers Solidarity executive director Kalpana Akter, human rights activist Nur Khan, Chakma Circle queen and rights activist Yan Yan, climate change campaigner Sohanur Rahman, and young organiser Mahmuda Akter.

While responding to queries from the newsmen outside the venue, Sohanur Rahman said their conversations covered a range of issues, including post-election political situation, human rights, labour rights, economic condition, climate change risks, and the Middle East.

According to multiple sources, the US assistant secretary asked about the political environment and the status of civic society after the national election. In response, he has been apprised of the shrinking space for the civic and political rights.

Donald Lu shared his government’s perspective and said they had expected a free and fair election. However, the election is over and the government is working in its own way. Why does the pressure still prevail? It is beyond their expectation and a matter of concern.

Donald Lu also reportedly asked about labour rights in Bangladesh. Labour leader Kalpana Akter told Prothom Alo that Donald Lu also wanted to know about the lawsuits filed during the movement regarding the reform of the labour law and the wages of the workers of the garment industry.