European Commission High Representative Josep Borrell Fontelles has said the European Union (EU) remains in constant dialogue with Bangladesh’s authorities on the whole spectrum of their relations, including human rights agenda.
“The upcoming EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission and subgroup on good governance and human rights are notable venues to continue these discussions,” he said while responding to a letter written by Ivan Stefanec, Member of the European Parliament.
On January 20, the MEP wrote a letter in which he expressed his concerns regarding the human rights situation in Bangladesh.
Describing Bangladesh as one of the most densely populated, disaster-prone and climate change affected countries in the world, Fontelles said Bangladesh has been very successful in reducing poverty and increasing access to primary education in the last decades.
“The EU appreciates its longstanding partnership with Bangladesh on multiple fronts, including on trade, development cooperation, migration, climate action and regional security,” he said.
Fontelles said they notably appreciate Bangladesh’s contribution to regional security and stability by hosting approximately 1 million Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar.
Bangladesh is the largest beneficiary of the EU’s Everything But Arms preferential trade scheme in the world, he mentioned.
Despite this remarkable socio-economic development, Fontelles said local and international observers, including the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), continue to raise concerns over allegations of widespread use of torture and ill-treatment by security forces.
Extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances remain a matter of major concern and require thorough and conclusive investigations as well as full accountability for those responsible, he said.
Furthermore, Fontelles said, the Digital Security Act (DSA) imposes undue restrictions on freedom of expression in the digital space, and we welcome signals from the government that the DSA will be aligned to international standards.
Source: United News of Bangladesh