UNHR commissioner’s visit: rights issues, Rohingyas prominent

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will focus on the human rights situation in Bangladesh, the Rohingya crisis and climate change during her four-day visit here which begins August 14 .

Arriving at the invitation of the Bangladeshi government, she is expected to visit Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Justice Minister Anisul Huq.

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Chile’s former president, who was appointed UN high commissioner for human rights in 2018, may also hold meetings with UN officials and civil society groups and visit camps. Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and a climate-vulnerable site to learn about the effects of climate change. affecting the human rights situation in Bangladesh, officials said.

“Previously, Michelle Bachelet’s schedules were fixed but changed three times – in February, April and May. But she had to cancel the schedules for various reasons, including illness,” a Foreign Office official told The Daily yesterday. Star.

The visit comes as Bangladesh faces US sanctions against Rab and seven of its current and former officials for human rights violations, while the country also faces the burden of one million Rohingyas and the recurrence of natural disasters induced by climate change.

The Foreign Ministry official said that Rohingya human rights abuses were an area of ​​interest for Bachelet, who will certainly focus on this during his visit to Bangladesh, especially the Rohingya camps in Cox’s. Bazaar.

“Additionally, for Bangladesh, climate change is a serious issue. Many people are affected by the impacts of climate change and there are also issues of violation of their rights. So this will also be highlighted,” did he declare.

In a March 14 statement, UN human rights experts called on Bangladesh to immediately cease reprisals against human rights defenders and relatives of forcibly disappeared persons for their activism and cooperation with international human rights bodies and UN mechanisms.

They said that following the announcement of US sanctions against Rab on December 10, 2021, Bangladeshi authorities reportedly launched a campaign of threats, intimidation and harassment against relatives of forcibly disappeared persons, defenders of human rights and civil society actors.

Experts noted with concern the increasingly difficult situation facing relatives, human rights defenders and civil society in Bangladesh. Repeated accusations by senior government officials against some civil society organizations of providing “false information” to UN mechanisms risks undermining the key role of civil society.

According to the statement, since 2009, the Rab has been implicated in the commission of the majority of cases of enforced disappearances in the country, as documented in several reports by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

In the latest statement from Bachelet’s office on June 10, she expressed concern over Bangladesh’s decision not to approve the renewal of Odhikar’s registration. The move follows repeated accusations by the authorities against Odhikar for “spreading propaganda” and “publishing misleading information” about extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.

Another Foreign Ministry official said the government would clarify various aspects of human rights issues in Bangladesh and the measures already taken.

Under the UN wing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an official has been appointed to better coordinate human rights issues. Past experiences suggest the reporting mechanism was either not comprehensive or not in line with the wishes of the UN and other rights bodies, he said.

Since the US sanctions, there are almost no allegations of “extrajudicial executions”, the official said.

“We have already improved the situation of our rights and we will highlight them.”

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