Besides, the United Nations has given a proposal to train the law enforcement agency members with a view to improving the rights situation in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh side has assured Michelle Bachelet to consider the proposal.
Michelle Bachelet arrived in Dhaka on a four-day visit on Sunday.
Following the meetings, foreign ministry, in a statement at night, said various discussions were held in the context of human rights situation in Bangladesh. The ministers highlighted the government’s sincere initiatives to ensure the rights of the people and its development. Michelle Bachelet praised Bangladesh for sending reports to different UN bodies regularly. But she proposed to set up a new method to make it faster and more effective.
When she asked questions about Mushtaq, I read out the post mortem report to her. She did not ask anymore question
After the meeting Michelle Bachelet at state guest house, Padma, law minister told the newspersons in afternoon that they discussed about Digital Security Act, freedom of expression and media freedom.
The death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in custody was also discussed in the meeting. The law minister said, “When she asked about Mushtaq, I read out the post mortem report to her. She did not ask anymore question.”
Anisul Huq also said he repeated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights what he told the local newspersons about the Digital Security Act.
In response to a question on whether the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed any concerns regarding the Digital Security Act, law minister said, “No, there was no concern. This was raised in the discussion.”
We told them there is no such word ‘enforced disappearances’ in our country
He further said both the sides stressed on imparting training to the law enforcement agency members to protect human rights. Bangladesh would consider if the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights sends any proposal in this regard.
Home minister highlights religious solidarity
In his discussion with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal highlighted how Bangladesh suffered from political violence and acts of terrorism in the past. He also spoke about the steps the government has taken to ensure security of the people and ongoing religious harmony, said the foreign ministry’s media release.
Responding to a question of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the home minister presented the sincere efforts the government has made for full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.
Mentioning that the issue of enforced disappearance was also raised in the discussion, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Prothom Alo, “Law enforcement agencies have investigated the said 76 incidents of enforced disappearance. But they were not found to be true. Those people are on the run to avoid trial. We have provided them samples of those incidents.”
No extrajudicial killing in Bangladesh: Momen
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet held a meeting with foreign minister AK Abdul Momen before meeting with the law minister. Abdul Momen told the media that he raised the issue of extrajudicial killing. He said, “They did not speak of extrajudicial killing, we raised the issue. It is said that some people were killed (allegations of extrajudicial killing). We surely will investigate if we get any information on that.”
The foreign minister also remarked that though people would die in “heart failure” in 2002-03, no such incidents take place now. When a reporter asked whether the minister was talking about “Operation Clean Heart”, Momen said, “I would hear about people dying in ‘heart failure’ in 2003-04-05. But now I don’t hear any such thing.”
Mentioning that he explained the issues of enforced disappearance, freedom of expression and media freedom, AK Abdul Momen said, “I’ve said what happens in our country. We told them there is no such thing ‘enforced disappearances’ in our country. But some people said that 76 people went missing in the past 10 years. They also said that the government has made them victim of enforced disappearances. Ten among the 76 people were found to be just faffing around. We don’t know anything definite about the remaining people. We informed them this.”
Regarding presenting the government’s stand on the allegations that there is no media freedom and freedom of expression in the country, the foreign minister said, “Some people probably think media is restrained. They were informed there are many registered media but there is no media except those of the government. I told them there are 2800 media in our country.”
Besides, education minister Dipu Moni informed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about the government steps to ensure quality education including introducing new curriculum, steps to improve efficiency, stipend for female students and opportunities of education for specially abled children.
She also apprised Michelle Bachelet about including third gender people in the census, the foreign ministry’s media release mentioned.