The 3rd Cycle of Universal Periodic Review of Bangladesh was held at the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on May 14. After the review, a draft report will be adopted on May 17, according to the authorities.
Bangladesh’s national report submitted in February 2018, which was prepared through extensive and periodic consultations with relevant stakeholders, was widely acclaimed by the 107 member countries who took the floor.
The Bangladesh delegation was led by Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Anisul Huq and comprised of State Minister of Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Senior Secretary of Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division Mohammad Shahidul Haque, Permanent Represenative to the UN Masud Bin Momen and Ambassador Shameem Ahsan.
Anisul reaffirmed the importance of the cooperation between Bangladesh and various international committees on the rights of women, of migrant workers and the Rohingya refugee crisis.
He said: “Bangladesh has taken in around a million Rohingya refugees, and is protecting them and preparing them for their return to Myanmar. We are historically dedicated to the fight against genocide and to ensuring justice for victims.”
The law minister further noted that there are many hurdles which would need to be overcome to implement all UPR recommendations such as extremism and climate change.
Law Minister Anisul also addressed the concerns put forward by the member countries and responded to their recommendations. He stressed that the coming years in Bangladesh is extremely crucial in achieving Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 plans by the ruling party which will lead to a society where all people are treated equally with rights and dignity.
Bangladesh was recommended to guarantee the rights of ethnic minorities and promptly implement the Elimination of Discrimination Act.
Furthermore, ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (ICED) was stressed. There was also a call for investigation of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.
Several countries also recommended that the Digital Security Act be amended to assure compliance international standards.
There were also calls for ensuring freedom of expression on all platforms. There were specific calls to allow human rights defenders and journalists to practice their work without intimidation and attacks.
Bangladesh was recommended to continue the dialogue with Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis while promoting the rights of the Rohingya people. Almost all the countries reviewing Bangladesh lauded Bangladesh’s role in the humanitarian crisis.
On climate change, countries recommended Bangladesh to continue its efforts to combat climate change.
Several countries called for Bangladesh to ensure the rights of female workers and others called to protect women from all forms of exploitation.
It was also recommended that Bangladesh continue efforts to end child marriage.
Gender inequality, including gender-based pay gap and job opportunities were recommended to be eliminated. Furthermore, criminalizing all forms of violence against women was recommended.
Increasing labour inspections was recommended along with taking action against individuals and organizations which subject migrant workers to forced labour and human trafficking.
Labour conditions, including those of migrants’, was advised to be improved.
Some countries called for Bangladesh to implement International Labour Organisation conventions designed to improve working conditions.
On human trafficking, it was recommended that Bangladesh continue its efforts to combat this practice.
Countries called for Bangladesh to ratify the optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on the death penalty, along with establishing a moratorium to abolish the death penalty.
Bangladesh was also recommended to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention. Bangladesh was recommended to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). l