As delivered by Huda Ibrahim
30th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group
Geneva, May 14, 2018
The international community appreciates the Government of Bangladesh for hosting Rohingya refugees and welcomes its commitment to a voluntary, safe, and dignified repatriation process that includes the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and relevant international agencies.
However, we remain concerned about government limits on freedoms of association and expression targeting the political opposition, the media, civil society, LGBTI individuals, and workers. We are also troubled by ongoing reports of human rights violations and abuses by security forces, including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, and impunity for those violations and abuses.
We urge the Bangladeshi government to hold genuinely free, fair, and participatory elections that reflect the will of the Bangladeshi people. All parties should be free to express their political views, to campaign, and to hold peaceful meetings and rallies without intimidation, reprisal, or arbitrary restrictions.
The United States recommends the following:
- Revise media laws, in consultation with civil society, to decriminalize “defamation” and “hurting religious sentiment,” and limit newly-extended jail terms for these offences;
- Strengthen measures to prevent, investigate, and hold security forces accountable for human rights violations and abuses, including providing an update on investigations into the alleged disappearances of Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem and Amaan Azmi.
- Amend the Bangladesh Labor Act and Export Processing Zone Labor Act, in consultation with workers and employers, to ensure the provisions on freedom of association conform to international labor standards.