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Latest Amnesty International statement on Bangladesh

Human rights 2024-03-27, 11:44pm

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Please find Amnesty International’s statement on the human rights situation in Bangladesh for the ongoing Human Rights Council session where the situation in Bangladesh was discussed yesterday:

Amnesty International welcomes the government’s commitment to investigate and prosecute human rights violations by its security forces and to uphold the principle of non-refoulment for Rohingya refugees.

Just ahead of its last review, Bangladesh replaced the controversial Digital Security Act 2018 (DSA) with the Cyber Security Act (CSA). The government has argued that the CSA ‘addressed the apprehensions many had about its predecessor’. However, the CSA is largely a replication of the DSA with minor cosmetic changes, primarily related to sentencing and bail. It retains all but two of the offences from the DSA verbatim. Therefore, Amnesty International is disappointed that the government failed to accept any of the 11 recommendations specifically calling for the repeal or amendment of the CSA, in compliance with international human rights law. This failure severely undermines its pledges to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone including critics, journalists and activists, and to end the intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention of dissenting voices.

Regrettably, the government has not accepted recommendations to abolish the death penalty, nor to ratify the Convention on Enforced Disappearances and the Refugee Convention. We are also concerned by the government’s continued refusal to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture which would allow victims to file complaints directly to the UN Committee against Torture, citing inadequate institutional capacity of national agencies. It is precisely due to such capacity gaps in the national sphere that torture victims would benefit from having access to an international complaints mechanism.

We welcome the government’s commitment to remove obstacles to workers’ unionisation. However, we are dismayed by its failure to accept recommendations on ensuring a minimum wage which guarantees a decent living wage for workers and preventing occupational accidents through more intensive labour inspections. The government has similarly refused recommendations on reducing the worst forms of child labour[1] and removing legal inconsistencies which provide scope for employing children as labourers. We urge the government to reconsider its position on these fundamental components of labour rights.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa13/7829/2024/en/