Bangladesh has strongly denied the Human Rights Report 2021 published by the US Department of State which raised several questions about issues like forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, electoral process, freedom of expression in the country among many others.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a press release said that the report contained factual errors and did not reflect the reality of human rights in Bangladesh. It pointed out that the US State department report mentioned 606 cases of extrajudicial killings in May-June 2018 wrongly quoting the Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK) which mentioned 275 extrajudicial killings for the period of January-May 2018. It said that the report tried to capture a broad range of issues, even including the 2018 election, which compromised with substance and objectivity.
Terming the report partial, MoFA said that no act of arrest by the law enforcement agency goes unaccountable bypassing the magistrate or the court. It denied that the law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh enjoy any immunity against ‘arbitrary arrest’. It cited the case of death sentences to the 16 RAB officials in the Narayanganj seven-murder case, and the recent death sentences to two police officials in the Major Sinha murder case in Cox’s Bazar as examples in this context.
The government of Bangladesh agreed that there are a lot of areas where better protection and promotion of human rights is needed for which steady strides are being made. The government remains engaged with the UN Human rights mechanism and it is receptive to constructive recommendations from all international development partners, including the USA, said the statement.
The MoFA statement said that the report appears to encourage creating a society of lawlessness to destabilise the society and the government. It reiterated the government’s commitment to continue its endeavours to improve the wellbeing and ensure the rights and dignity of its people.