EU concerned over rights situation in Bangladesh | The Daily Star
03:07 AM, April 27, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:09 AM, April 27, 2018

EU concerned over rights situation in Bangladesh

Dhaka reiterates 'zero tolerance' policy on violations, pledges support to EC in holding fair polls

The European Union has raised concerns on the situation of human rights in Bangladesh, in particular reports of “extrajudicial killings” and “enforced disappearances”.

Bangladesh side in response reiterated its “zero tolerance” policy on violation of laws and human rights by law enforcement agencies and the government's commitment and continued efforts to ensure accountability, said a press release of EU-Bangladesh Subgroup on Governance and Human Rights yesterday.

Both sides agreed to further enhance the promotion and protection of the rights of the persons belonging to minorities, ensuring non-discrimination in their exercise of political, economic, cultural and social rights.

The EU recalled the importance of strengthening the rule of law and both sides underlined the contribution of the civil society to a functioning democracy, the release said.

A visiting EU delegation raised the issues and also discussed the preparation of the next general election in Bangladesh at the biennial meeting of the Subgroup on Good Governance and Human Rights in the framework of the EU-Bangladesh Cooperation Agreement held in Dhaka on Tuesday, the release said.

At the meeting, the EU expressed its expectations that the government of Bangladesh will ensure that the conditions for credible, transparent and inclusive elections will be in place.

In response, the government of Bangladesh has assured the EU that it would provide all-out support to the Election Commission in holding a free, fair and credible election in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh side requested the EU to continue providing political and other supports in returning the Rohingyas to Myanmar in safe, dignified and sustainable manner.

The EU expressed its commitment to continue mobilising political support and humanitarian assistance to help bring about a lasting solution to this crisis, including the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingyas, the release added.

Five years after the tragedy of the Rana Plaza collapse, the EU noted the progress made so far under the Sustainability Compact, notably on safety of working places, but urged that more needed to be done in terms of aligning Bangladesh labour legislation with international labour conventions and their implementation.

The EU underlined the urgency to address the alleged acts of violence and harassment against trade unionists and the trade union leaders, and investigate those. The EU called on Bangladesh to ensure proper implementation of labour law in respect of registration of trade unions and urged to bringing in line with the ILO Convention on freedom of association, its draft law on Export Processing Zones.

Muhammad Shahidul Haque, senior secretary of the law ministry, led the Bangladesh delegation, while Caroline Vinot, head of division, regional affairs and South Asia in the European External Action Service, led the EU team. 

Diplomats from several EU member states also attended the meeting as observers.

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