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Dhaka Tribune

Gibson urges government to recognise gay rights

Update : 10 Mar 2014, 08:34 PM

British High Commissioner Robert Gibson has strongly urged the Bangladesh government to recognise the rights of the country’s gay community.

“Penal Code 377 criminalises same sex activity. This code remains on the books from the British colonial era. In today’s world, it is an anachronism. Yet, whenever I raise the rights of this community privately with the government, I am told that Bangladesh is not yet ready to address this issue. I disagree,” Gibson said at a seminar to celebrate the Commonwealth Day in the capital yesterday.

The programme was attended by Commerce Minister Tofael Ahmed and Commonwealth Society of Bangladesh President Enam A Chaurdhury, where Professor Selina Mohsin was the key note speaker.

He termed Bangladesh as an open and tolerant society and said: “It prides itself on the empowerment of all members of society. I hope that the government of Bangladesh can take further pride by showing leadership on this issue.”

The repeal of the respective Penal Code would be a significant step towards upholding the values of the Commonwealth Charter and would reinforce Bangladesh’s international leadership on issues of tolerance and respect, he added.

On extra judicial killings in Bangladesh, he said it would be truly alarming and a cause for concern if the number of extra judicial killings quoted by local human rights bodies and in the media is true.

“I have been reassured by the personal assurances given to me by members of the government that these will be investigated,” he said. 

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