Rab made ‘tremendous progress’ in ‘respecting rights’ while performing duties: Donald Lu observes

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu has appreciated the “tremendous progress” made by Rab in “respecting human rights” while performing its duties.

“We had quite a good discussion about the Rab. If you have seen the statement this week by the Human Rights Watch, they recognised and we recognised tremendous progress in the area of reducing extra judicial killings by the Rab,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.

“This is amazing work. It shows the Rab is able to carry out its important counterterrorism and law enforcement function while respecting human rights,” Lu added.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen also spoke on the occasion.

The senior US official said they had “very honest and open” discussions with the Bangladesh foreign minister and foreign secretary.

“We have expressed our commitment to democracy and human rights. We will speak when we see problems and when we can offer suggestions. We will stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of expression. And we look forward to working very closely with our partners here in Bangladesh,” Lu said.

Regarding the labour rights issue, he said it is important for Bangladesh and for trade relationships.

“I had the honour of sitting down this morning with (PM’s adviser) Salman F Raman to talk about the way forward, so that we can cooperate on improvement of labour rights in this country. I’m very confident we’re going to make progress this year,” said the US official.


Asked whether the US wants Bangladesh to join the Indo-Pacific Strategy, Lu said they had a “wonderful discussion” on the Indo-Pacific Strategy. “It’s a strategy, it’s not a club. We don’t join.”

Regarding restoration of GSP (generalised system of preferences) facilities for Bangladesh, the US official said they are still waiting for the Congress to authorise GSP for any country.

“We are working very closely with the government of Bangladesh,” Lu said, adding that Bangladesh will be the first country on the list if the Congress authorises.

“I am here to strengthen the friendship with Bangladesh when the world is struggling to establish peace and justice,” he said before taking questions.

Talking to reporters, Foreign Minister Momen said, “I am very happy. We had very constructive discussions. The US is our old friend and our relationship turned deeper over the last 50 years. We want to make the relationship much deeper in the next 50 years.”

Momen said the US side invited them to visit this month or in April. “This engagement is very effective.”

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said they discussed all issues of mutual interest – trade, investment, labour rights, sanctions, human rights, democracy and development, as well as Bangladesh’s views on the Indo-Pacific.

“Through our sincere efforts, we will be able to elevate our relations to a higher level,” said the foreign secretary.

Read more: US committed to continued cooperation with Bangladesh to improve labor rights: Donald Lu


The United States is “committed” to continued cooperation with Bangladesh in its efforts to improve labour rights, Lu said.

At a meeting with Bangladeshi labour rights leaders, Lu listened to their experiences and concerns.

Earlier in the morning, he had a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman.

The US Assistant Secretary had a meeting over dinner with Foreign Minister Momen at his residence on Saturday night.

Key issues of bilateral relations were discussed during Lu’s over one-hour stay at the foreign minister’s official residence, a diplomatic source told UNB.

Lu, who arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening, directly went to the foreign minister’s residence accompanied by US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Peter Haas.

The US senior official is visiting Bangladesh to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relationship, expand economic engagement, and go over the labour and human rights situation.

Soure: United News of Bangladesh