European Parliament concerned over human rights situation in Bangladesh 

Inside the European parliament chamber before plenary session in Brussels, Belgium 23 November, 2020
Reuters file photo

A joint resolution of the European Parliament has expressed deep concern over the deterioration of the human rights situation in Bangladesh. The resolution calls for adherence to international standards to ensure civil and political rights.

Additionally, the resolution highlights the importance of ensuring a safe and favourable working condition for non-governmental development organisations, human rights activists, and religious minorities. 

Seven groups, including the centre-right, social democrats, and leftists of the European Parliament, jointly proposed this motion resolution.

During the parliamentary session debate on the motion in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday night local time, six members participated in it. 

The resolution expresses deep concern over the arrest of opposition leaders and the use of force against protesters in Bangladesh. It calls upon the government to ensure a conducive environment for free, fair, and inclusive elections in 2024.

The vote on the resolution, titled 'MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the human rights situation in Bangladesh, notably the case of Odhikar,' is scheduled to take place at noon on Thursday local time in Strasbourg.

As per the resolution, the human rights conditions in Bangladesh have significantly worsened, encompassing issues such as extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, limitations on freedom of expression, and workers' rights.

The resolution also urged the government to promptly and unconditionally drop all charges against representatives of the human rights organisation Odhikar and to reinstate the organisation's registration. Additionally, the government has been called upon to facilitate the utilisation of approved foreign grants by civil society organisations.

The resolution underlines the importance of respecting due process, and urges the government and judicial authorities to respect international standards and cooperate with the UN bodies to ensure these standards are met; insists that international observers are permitted to attend court hearings.

It also urges authorities in Bangladesh to cooperate with human rights organisations, in order to collectively bring an end to human rights abuses in the country, including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. 

The motion calls again on the government to repeal the Digital Security Act and encourages it to adopt cybersecurity legislation that fully complies with international standards.

The members of the European Parliament calls on the European External Action Service, the EU Delegation and the Member States’ embassies in Bangladesh to raise human rights concerns at the highest levels and increase their support for local HRDs, union workers and journalists under attack, including by monitoring trials.