Expressing concerns about the ‘deteriorating’ human rights situation in Bangladesh, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called on the Government to restore a safe and supportive environment for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), human rights defenders, activists, and religious minorities.
In a statement issued by the European Parliament following the adoption of a resolution, it emphasised that Bangladesh must uphold its international commitments, particularly those under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights even if the statement also stressed the importance of authorities ensuring that civil society organisations have access to foreign grants.
The resolution noted an ongoing Enhanced Engagement Process with Bangladesh under the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative due to serious violations of international conventions.
Meanwhile, analysts suggest that this resolution serves as a signal from Bangladesh’s largest trade partner, indicating the need for the country to address human rights issues more seriously even if failure to do so could jeopardise its chances of receiving the GSP Plus status.
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, emphasised the significance of the EU’s signal to Bangladesh, urging the country to take it seriously even as M Humayun Kabir, former Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States, pointed out that while the resolution may not have immediate actionable implications, it could create a negative impression of Bangladesh among EU nations.
This development comes at a crucial time as Bangladesh is negotiating with the EU regarding its GSP Plus status following its graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category.