Dhaka calls US HR report “far from reality”

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Dhaka today called the United States (US) country report on human rights practices in Bangladesh “far from reality” with state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam saying it appeared that the document was based on “anti-government propaganda machines”.

“We will thoroughly study the report and share our comments on Sunday,” he told reporters in an initial reaction regarding the report.

But, Alam said, he briefly glanced through the report and found it to have blamed Bangladesh government on many issues without justification and “it (report) is far from reality”.

The junior minister said he guessed that the primary data of the report was collected from the “anti-government propaganda machines”.

“We expect our friend (the US) to understand our ground reality.”

He said that Bangladesh would discuss the issues related to the report during its upcoming series of engagements with the US.

Alam added that Dhaka would do whatever was necessary to help the US government come out from the “wrong perception” and its human rights situation in Bangladesh.

The US report, however, acknowledged that Bangladesh took “few measures” to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and abuse and killing by security forces.

Alam negated the words “few measures” saying bangladesh government so far sacked 190 security personnel for violating human rights.

“You can’t call this number ‘few’,” he said.

The report claimed wide range of rights violation took place in Bangladesh in 2021 that included unlawful or arbitrary killings, extrajudicial killings, forced disappearance, torture or cases of inhuman and serious restrictions on free expression and media.

The report also said LGBTQs were also exposed to threats or intimidations while alleged that there were serious problems of independence of judiciary as well.

According to the report, the US state department prepared the “fact-based” document in consultations with experts on workers’ rights, police and security issues, women’s issues, and other topics.

US embassy officials in a media briefing in Dhaka, meanwhile, said their country report on HR practices not only found incidents of human right abuses but also saw positive trends which were going on in Bangladesh.

“The (Bangladesh) government took (measures) to either correct those (human rights) abuses or to roll out programs to human rights and other areas,” an embassy official told the briefing at the American Centre.