*The government has responded to the human rights report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) terming it false and fabricated.*
"It seems that the Special Rapporteurs (SRs) were influenced by a desire to malign the Government with false and fabricated information on the human rights situation of the country. Their one-sided observations appear as ill-intentioned particularly in the context of the Government's active engagement with them," reads a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
On 14 November, the OHCHR issued a report titled "UN Experts urge Bangladesh to seize Human Rights Council review as opportunity to address deteriorating human rights situation."
Expressing concern over the content and motives behind the observations made by three UN Special Rapporteurs (SRs), Irene Khan, SR on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, SR on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and Mary Lawlor, SR on the situation of human rights defenders, the government has raised questions about their timing and intentions.
The press release highlights that the SRs issued their remarks on Bangladesh's human rights situation immediately after the conclusion of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 13 November. During the UPR, Bangladesh received positive feedback from an overwhelming majority of countries for its legislative, policy, and institutional initiatives to advance human rights. The government suggests that the SRs' comments may have been influenced by a desire to tarnish Bangladesh's image with false information.
The government strongly asserts that Bangladesh is a sovereign country where the rule of law prevails. It emphasises that issues such as the current labour unrest, political violence, and individual cases, including those of Prof Mohammad Yunus, Adilur Rahman Khan, and Rozina Islam, are being handled by an independent judiciary, and the government has no scope for intervention.
The press note questions the necessity of such remarks by the SRs, especially considering the government's active engagement with them during the UPR session. Bangladesh, in its commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, had clarified most of the issues raised by the SRs during the UPR.
The government finds the conduct of the SRs incongruent with their mandates and accuses them of being selective and biased. It expresses disappointment that the SRs issued statements only on Bangladesh, ignoring the positive developments appreciated by the majority of participating delegations in the peer review.
The government urged the SRs to remain neutral and objective, adhering to the code of conduct associated with their mandates. It emphasises the importance of special procedure mandate holders in a well-functioning human rights mechanism and calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to support the SRs in fulfilling their mandates objectively.
The government expresses concern that the SRs, by being partial and disproportionately focused, risk losing credibility and acceptance. It underscores the need for the SRs and the OHCHR to avoid using their positions for subjective pronouncements and calls for a more careful approach in their role as human rights advocates.
Published on: 2023-11-21 11:58:31.201518 +0100 CET
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