The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has urged the Bangladesh government to ensure equal rights for all individuals.
The committee also expressed concern that many recommendations that had been ratified have yet to be implemented in the country, with sexual and gender based violence still prevalent.
The information was disclosed at a press conference organized by Human Rights Forum Bangladesh at the National Press Club on Thursday to present a set of recommendations sent to the forum by CESCR.
According to CESCR, the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been accredited with ''B-status'' by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. This indicates that the commission does not enjoy sufficient independence in terms of financial autonomy.
The committee further expressed concern at restrictions on the activities of human rights defenders imposed by certain provisions in the Information Communication and Technology Act 2013, Digital Security Act 2018, Foreign Donations Regulation Act 2016, and Special Powers Act 1974.
In Bangladesh, women still do not enjoy equality in the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as rights in relation to marriage, divorce, maintenance, and property inheritance, the CESCR report said.
The committee also expressed concern about the lack of any strict law to prevent the exploitation of female migrant workers, who are mostly employed as domestic helpers in countries in the Middle East.
Limited access to affordable healthcare services for disadvantaged and marginalized groups, such as residents of informal settlements, Dalits, and ethnic minorities, was identified as an issue which needed attention by the committee as well.
CESCR further said that corruption was hindering the proper management of all sectors in Bangladesh.
Speaking at the press conference, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said the Anti-Corruption Commission needed to work independently and use its legal and organizational powers to combat corruption.
He also called for the rights of indigenous and marginalized communities to be protected in full to ensure an equal and neutral society.
The CESCR is comprised of 18 independent experts that monitor the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights by its member states.