Md Shahriar Alam said, “The report has just been published (on Thursday). The foreign affairs ministry is thoroughly analysing the report. The US administration has made this annual report by using a lot of sources which cost them a fair amount. We can’t respond to such a report in matter of hours. Next Sunday, we will give our detailed response to the media. Then there are a few US government meetings coming up where we will of course talk about this issue separately. We will ask them about everything and also clear our stance regarding the issues.”

He said, that US Human Rights report is not just concerned with law enforcement forces, it also takes into account things like how the children are being treated, how the Rohingya people are being treated, what is the outlook towards immigrants etc.

The state minister expressed his disappointment over the latest US Human Rights report saying, “It’s very sad and regrettable that the report has followed the same pattern of previous years. The usual things are included there. I believe that the primary information was taken from the many anti-government propaganda machines.”

When asked about the reports’ allegation that the government is giving impunity to law enforcement forces, Shahriar Alam said, that is not true at all.

"I will once again repeat that after the sanction on RAB we showed them all the documents. You guys can’t say now that we haven’t given them the documents. In the past, we wouldn’t share them. But in the current engagement, we have given them clear accounts of how many police officers, RAB officials we have taken actions against in the last three years," the state minister added.

Shariar Alam said it wasn’t just one or two officials. But in the report, it says just two or three cases. When 170 or 190 people get sacked that definitely doesn’t fall under the definition of two or three cases! Every law enforcement agencies in the world face challenges. Even yesterday (Wednesday), one person died in inner-conflict in the Rohingya camp. Everyday people are dying.

"Our RAB and police officers go to such places putting their lives at risks. If they face a situation where they have to shoot and someone ends up dying we get blamed for it. We have to come out of this tendency," he added.

Moral decay

The state minister also brought several blatant inconsistencies of the US report. Bangladesh has been giving the Rohingya people refuge since they arrived in this country evading persecution in 2017. But the report brought up the Rohingya agreement signing issue to indicate Moral decay.

Shahriar Alam said, "Bangladesh hasn’t signed the 1951 refugee convention and the related 1967 protocol. We have always said this and we continue saying that even though we haven’t signed the agreement, Bangladesh follows all of the conditions of the agreement. We have also explained why Bangladesh hasn’t signed. What they said in the report was false and a lie. Even though we haven’t signed the agreement, we carry the main spirit of it. Even without officially naming Rohingyas as refugees, we have provided them with a lot of facilities. But in the report it says that we go around saying that as we haven’t signed (convention and protocol) we hold no responsibility.”

He further said that the report gave false information about Rohingya. He said, 10/12 Rohingya tried to flee from Bhashan Char on boat but the boat sunk and they died. How is that our fault? They have blamed us for this.

No gay rights under any circumstance

In the US report, the topic of homosexual rights in Bangladesh has been brought up. There aren’t enough LGBT laws in Bangladesh and Bangladesh is failing to fulfill their needs.

The state minister said, “Show me one Muslim country that gives approves LGBT. This goes against Islam. This goes against almost any religion. In a country like Bangladesh, no matter how much someone presses us, we can never approve of this. This goes against the people of Bangladesh and goes against religious sentiments.”

Shahriar Alam said, "We hope that our allies will understand our realities and challenges. By showing respect to our constitution, religion, culture and language they will kindly refrain from pushing LGBT related demands on us.”

Wrong information about Khaleda Zia

The state minister said the Khaleda Zia case was also brought up in the US report. She has been termed a “political prisoner”. But she is not a political prisoner.

"We have talked about this in the international sphere, we have answered all the questions. On humanitarian grounds, she has been allowed to stay in our house and not in prison. Her going abroad was also an irrelevant question, which was proven when she went to the hospital on foot and on a wheel chair," Shariar Alam said.

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