Bangladesh, EU to develop roadmap on strengthening rights

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 20:30, Oct 21, 2019 | Updated : 20:32, Oct 21, 2019

An European Union flag flutters outside of the European Parliament in Brussels October 12, 2012. REUTERS FILE PHOTOBangladesh and the European Union have agreed to develop a roadmap on strengthening compliance with labour and human rights.
The issue was discussed at the Bangladesh-EU joint commission held in Dhaka on Monday when the European bloc expressed their desire to see sustained reform of labour rights standards in Bangladesh and their full alignment with International Labour Organisation Conventions.
In the meeting both the sides agreed that trade to and investment flow from Europe will be increased if the predictable and transparent business environment for economic operators is ensured in Bangladesh.
The European side also reminded Bangladesh that the duty-free access it currently enjoys under EBA and future trade relationship are conditional on the respect of human rights, including labour rights.
A joint press release issued after the meeting said, “While good progress has been made on factory safety in the garment sector, many steps are still outstanding in the area of labour rights and the full implementation of the Sustainability Compact is also necessary.”
In the meeting, the EU stressed that a fully empowered and resilient civil society, in all its diversity, is a crucial component of a democracy.
The Joint Commission reviewed political developments on both sides and discussed the role of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, including the importance of holding free and fair elections.
The EU raised concerns on the situation of human rights, in particular, reports of ‘extrajudicial killings’, and ‘enforced disappearances’.
The Bangladesh side in response reiterated its ‘zero tolerance’ policy to violations of laws and human rights by the law enforcement agencies and the government’s commitment and continued efforts to ensure accountability, including through the capacity building of the law enforcement agencies.
The EU recalled its concerns regarding certain provisions of the Digital Security Act (DSA) and requested for ensuring freedom of expression.
The Bangladesh side committed that no provision of the DSA will be used in any way that would limit freedom of expression.
Both sides stressed the importance of ensuring full implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the other UN human rights conventions ratified by Bangladesh, in line with the Constitution of Bangladesh.