UK concerned over human rights state in Bangladesh

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 22:03, Nov 20,2020 | Updated: 23:56, Nov 20,2020


The United Kingdom government on Friday expressed concern about the human rights situation in Bangladesh.  

The overall human rights situation In Bangladesh ‘continued to be of concern’ with incidents, including widespread allegations of voter intimidation and at least 158 extra-judicial killings in the first six months of 2020, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said in a report. 

The report provided an assessment of the global human rights situation with focus on 30 countries where the British authorities were particularly concerned over  human rights issues.

Thirty countries were mentioned in the Human Rights and Democracy Report as ‘human rights Priority countries for the UK government’.

The countries are: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, North Korea, Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

In Bangladesh, media freedom continued to be eroded, with at least 38 journalists and more than 400 other people, including health professionals and people critical of the government’s handling of COVID-19, detained under the Digital Security Act, according to the report. 

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan declined to comment on the report.

In Myanmar, the human rights situation deteriorated, particularly in Rakhine and Chin states, and civilians increasingly bore the brunt of the conflict, according to the report.

There were also widespread reports of arbitrary arrests, torture, deaths in custody, burning of villages, conflict-related sexual violence, and ‘clearance operations’ in conflict areas, perpetrated by both the Myanmar military and ethnic armed groups, the report went on.

The UK called on Myanmar to abide by the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures ruling, with the Rohingyas continued to be deprived of basic rights and dignity, with 1,28,000 still confined to camps and most of them unable to move freely, even to access medical treatment.

The UK remains strongly opposed to the annexation [of Palestine lands], settler violence and demolitions of Palestinian property in areas, including East Jerusalem by the Israel government, which would be contrary to international law, the report said.

The UK authorities said that the authorities in countries must respect their human rights obligations in their response to COVID-19 as at any other time. ‘Any restrictions must be strictly necessary, lawful, and temporary,’ the report said.

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