Government shows lack of commitment to address serious human rights violations during UN review

Press release

(Dhaka, Paris) The Bangladeshi government’s failure to accept recommendations on key human rights issues during the country’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) denotes its lack of commitment to protecting human rights, FIDH said today.

The third UPR of Bangladesh was held on 14 May 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Bangladeshi government accepted 167 of the 251 recommendations it received from other United Nations (UN) member states. Another 61 recommendations were not accepted and the government said it would examine and provide a response to the remaining 23 recommendations by the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, to be held in September 2018.

“We express our dismay at the Bangladeshi government’s inability to accept the set of concrete recommendations that would demonstrate its commitment to establishing accountability for rights abuses.”

Guissou Jahangiri, FIDH Vice-President

Similarly to the second UPR of Bangladesh, the government refused to accept all the recommendations that called for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) and the 1951 Refugee Convention. The government also failed to accept all the recommendations related to the death penalty, including those that called for a moratorium on the death penalty, the abolishment of capital punishment, and the accession to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-O2).

The government also refused to accept several recommendations that called for: the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals; the decriminalization of consensual same-sex sexual acts; the amendment of the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act; the decriminalization of defamation; and the inclusion of legislative protections for indigenous peoples.

Although Dhaka accepted recommendations calling for investigations into all allegations of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, the government delegation maintained that they disagreed with the proposition that enforced disappearances “occur frequently.” The delegation also repeated the claim it made during the previous UPR cycle in 2013 that the government has a “zero-tolerance policy” towards law enforcement officials accused of human rights violations, despite evidence that no credible investigations have been undertaken into these allegations.

Some recommendations accepted by the government included those that called on Bangladesh to: amend the 2017 Child Marriage Restraint Act to maintain the legal minimum age at 18; expedite the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law; and to protect freedom of assembly and expression and investigate threats against human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers and other civil society actors. The government also committed itself to repealing Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act and to ensure that the forthcoming Digital Security Act does not violate freedom of expression online.

Press contacts
FIDH: Ms. Maryna Chebat (French, English) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
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