301 recommendations for Bangladesh's rights situation improvement

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A set of 301 recommendations have been proposed by 110 countries for improvement of Bangladesh’s human rights situation in United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The recommendations were put forward as a report at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The actual number of recommendations is not that big as many countries made similar proposals.

Law minister Anisul Huq led Bangladeshi representatives at the review meeting but he was absent at the meeting where recommendations were approved. In his stead, Bangladesh permanent representative of UN mission in Geneva Mohammad Sufiur Rahman spoke at the meeting.

Thanking the countries which made recommendations, Sufiur Rahman said Bangladesh will review these recommendations and reveal its decision before the Human Rights Council’s 55 the session in next February.

The recommendations various countries made to Bangladesh in the fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) include Bangladesh government should ratify the international convention against enforced disappearance and convention against torture, independent and transparent investigation of enforced disappearance, independent investigation of the allegations of torture against the law enforcement agencies and hold those responsible.

The recommendations include repealing death penalty, amending the cyber security act, ensuring freedom of expression, ensuring rights of assembly and of association, holding a free, fair and peaceful election, stopping harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders, civil society members and NGO workers, stopping violence against women and amending laws related to underage girls.

The other recommendations include ensuring rights of ethnic and religious minorities, enacting anti-discrimination law, announcing national minimum wage and ensuring all rights of workers mandated by International Labor Organisation (ILO).  

The law minister on Monday disclosed the progress achieved by Bangladesh government on 176 recommendations of third UPR. Later 110 countries out of 193 members of UN put forward their assessment and recommendations. Pakistan, Cuba and Romania were given charge of preparing the report comprising the recommendations. Razvan Rusu, permanent representative of Romania to UN Office in Geneva, presented the report on Wednesday. During submitting the report, Razvan said 12 countries sent their queries beforehand.

During the review of Bangladesh’s human rights situation, the countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and other European countries emphasised on issues such as freedom of expression, election, labour rights, stifling of dissent and lack of accountability of law enforcers. The law minister, however, said only Canada and Slovakia harshly criticised Bangladesh and 90 per cent of the countries appreciated Bangladesh’s progress on the human rights front.