Bangladesh: Oral statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council


On 25 March 2024, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) delivered a statement during the 55th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council for the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Bangladesh. The statement expressed grave concern about the Bangladesh government’s continued refusal to address serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, torture, the death penalty, and impunity for law enforcement agencies, as well as gender-based violence and the rights of LGBTIQ people. It urged UN member states to press the government to address these long-standing human rights violations. Read the statement below.

UN Human Rights Council – 55th Session

Item 6: Oral Statement for the outcome of the UPR of Bangladesh

25 March 2024

Mr. President,

FIDH is extremely concerned about the Bangladeshi government’s blanket dismissal of the legitimate concerns expressed by many UN member states over serious human rights violations in the country.

The government’s backward behavior is unbecoming of a UN Human Rights Council member and signals that another UPR cycle will be marked by repression of human rights and civil society.

The government once again denied the existence of enforced disappearances and refused to accept all recommendations on the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. In addition, the government did not accept all the recommendations it received on the death penalty, which it shockingly described as “a valid form of punishment and deterrence.”

With regard to gender equality, the government did not accept all recommendations that called for the criminalization of marital rape and refused to commit to withdrawing reservations to Articles 2 and 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It also refused to accept all recommendations related to the rights of LGBTIQ people, which it relegated to the status of “a religious, social, cultural, moral, ethical issue.”

Ironically, the government accepted recommendations calling for free, fair, and transparent elections after it made a mockery of the recent general election, which was neither legitimate nor participatory. The lead-up to the 7 January polls was marred by the government’s escalation of repression of the political opposition and ongoing attacks on civil society.

It’s also ironic that the government accepted recommendations calling for the protection of civil society activists, lawyers, and journalists from arbitrary arrest and detention, despite its ongoing use of the judicial system to silence all forms of dissent, the criminalization of human rights defenders at home, and the intimidation and targeting of dissidents in exile.

We urge UN member states to press the government of Bangladesh to address long-standing human rights violations, end impunity, ensure accountability, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence of human rights abuses, and deliver justice to the victims.

Thank you.

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