September 15, 2023
DHAKA – Expressing deep concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh, the European Parliament today called on the government to restore a safe and enabling environment for NGOs, human rights defenders, activists and religious minorities.
Adopting three resolutions on the human rights situations in three countries, including Bangladesh, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said the country must uphold its international commitments, particularly under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adding that authorities must also ensure that civil society organisations can access foreign grants.
The MEPs specifically deplore the prison sentence against two Odhikar leaders — Adilur Rahman Khan and ASM Nasiruddin Elan — handed down on September 14, and urged the government to immediately and unconditionally repeal the ruling.
An Everything but Arms (EBA) enhanced engagement process remains ongoing with Bangladesh, owing to its serious violations of international conventions, the MEPs recalled, denouncing the Odhikar case as a regrettable backwards step, putting into question whether EBA preferences should continue to apply to Bangladesh.