EU Parliament Concerns over Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh

European Union Flag || Photo: Collected

European Union Flag || Photo: Collected

A joint resolution passed by the European Parliament has raised serious concerns about the worsening human rights situation in Bangladesh.

This proposal was put forward by seven groups, encompassing the center-right, social democrats, and leftists within the European Parliament. During the parliamentary session on Wednesday, six members participated in the debate regarding this proposal.

The speakers highlighted the ongoing deterioration of human rights in Bangladesh, citing instances of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. They also emphasized that civil society organizations in Bangladesh, while advocating for human rights and participating in UN human rights initiatives, are facing harassment and repression from both the government and the judiciary.

A vote on this proposed resolution is scheduled for Thursday.

The resolution urges the authorities in Bangladesh to collaborate with human rights organizations to collectively address human rights abuses in the country, particularly enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

It is noted in the resolution that Bangladesh is currently under enhanced engagement with the EU through the Everything But Arms trade arrangement. This is due to the seriousness of reported violations of international conventions in Bangladesh.

The European Parliament is urging the EU Commission to intensify its monitoring of human rights developments in Bangladesh, with a focus on evaluating compliance with the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

The resolution instructs the EU Commission, the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, and the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh to be informed of its content.

Furthermore, the resolution calls for adherence to international agreements concerning civil and political rights. It also highlights the need to create a safe and favorable working environment for non-governmental development organizations, human rights activists, and religious minorities.

The resolution expresses concern over the arrest of opposition leaders and the use of force against protesters in Bangladesh. It calls upon the government to ensure a conducive environment for free, fair, and participatory elections in 2024.

The resolution underscores the serious deterioration of the human rights situation in Bangladesh, encompassing extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, freedom of expression, and workers' rights.

Additionally, the European Parliament resolution calls on the government to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against representatives of the human rights organization Odhikar and to reinstate the organization's registration. The government is also requested to take measures to enable civil society organizations to use approved foreign grants.

The resolution further urges the government to cooperate with the United Nations in establishing a special mechanism to investigate allegations of enforced disappearances and stresses the importance of allowing international observers to participate in court hearings.

In June of this year, a group of six members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expressed their concerns about the human rights situation in Bangladesh. They called on the High Representative of the European Union to engage in ongoing dialogue with Bangladesh authorities to address human rights issues and restore democracy in the country. This request was made in a letter dated June 12th.

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