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Anisul apprises UN right committee of ICCPR implementation status

DHAKA, March 8, 2017 (BSS) - Law Minister Anisul Huq has said Bangladesh was committed to intensify efforts to protect civil and political rights as he apprised Geneva-based UN Human Rights Committee of government steps in implementing International Covenant for Civil and Political Right (ICCPR).

"The Law Minister reiterated Bangladesh's commitment to making further efforts in realizing the civil and political rights of the people of Bangladesh," a official press release said here as he presented the country report to the UN body yesterday in Geneva.

His comments came as the UN rights committee convened a meeting for consideration of Bangladesh's initial report under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Right (ICCPR).

The committee, it said, termed the delegation chief's presentation as comprehensive, straight-forward and frank and thanked him for engaging with the Human Rights Committee into this dialogue.

Huq is leading a high level delegation in a two-day meeting.

The delegation included Bangladesh Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UN in Geneva, Senior Secretary of Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division, Secretary of Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, Secretary of Public Security Division and senior officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Election Commission, Prime Minister's Office, Bangladesh Police, Armed Forces Division, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Employment and Prison Directorate.

According to the press release, the committee members asked specific questions on rights issues related to the state mechanisms for protection of human rights.

The questions included rationale of newly passed Child Marriage Restraint Act, allegations of extra judicial killing, torture and abduction against law enforcement officials, security of writer, blogger, journalist and activists.

The committee, it said, also asked questions on status of investigation in the cases of writer, blogger killings, steps taken to stop child bonded, forced labour, preventive detention and alleged use of force by police, allegations of torture and custodial death, conditions of prison and death penalty.

Rights of religious and ethnic minorities, including government actions on alleged land grabbing, attacks on minorities and their places of worship also featured in the committee's questionnaire.

Committee also enquired about the Election Commission and the status of investigations and trials against the perpetrators for their participation in the election time violence and other destructive activities.

Questions related to freedom of expression also covered a significant portion of the dialogue. The Committee also requested information on status of Rakhine Muslims living in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh acceded to ICCPR in 2000 during the first tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The initial report however, was submitted by the Government of Bangladesh to the Committee in June 2015.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)