Statement by Bangladesh under agenda item 72(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms and 72(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives on 27 October 2017
Bangladesh is strongly committed to the promotion and protection of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. Our commitment flows from our Constitution which embodies the principles and provisions of the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Bangladesh is signatory to both the principal covenants on human rights, parties to all major human rights instruments and member to various UN bodies and agencies dealing with human rights. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we are committed to ensure full human rights including socio-economic and cultural rights of our people.
In our global pursuit to promote and protect human rights, we need to address intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and hate speech particularly based on ethnicity, religion or belief. Failing that, human rights violations can go out of proportion. The present scenario in the northern Rakhine State of Myanmar is a clear example at hand. The Rohingya population in Myanmar has been subject to the above violations of human rights over generations. As a result, they became the most vulnerable community, most persecuted and now find themselves homeless, stateless, struggling for their identity and fleeing into Bangladesh in hundreds of thousands.
We thank Professor Lee for trying to do justice to the situation in the Rakhine State. We deeply value her work since her mandate is perhaps the only mechanism at the UN’s disposal to ensure monitoring of promotion and protection of human rights in Myanmar. We believe that the Kofi Annan Advisory Commission’s recommendations, backed by the practical ones offered by Professor Lee, can serve as a roadmap for Myanmar to seek peaceful, just and viable solution to the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
With the human rights situation further deteriorating, we feel that the UN and relevant institutions and tools under its disposal including the Human Rights Council should engage and follow up on the matter. The Human Rights Council should urgently convene a Special Session to take stock of the prevailing situation as well as consider and suggest ways to ensure full enjoyment of human rights for Rohingyas. We support the call for immediate access for its Fact-Finding Mission to Myanmar. The Mission, having just concluded their visit to Bangladesh during which they interviewed the Rohingya victims, was “deeply disturbed” by accounts of killings, torture, rape, arson and aerial attacks perpetrated against the Rohingya community in Myanmar. We reaffirm support for the Special Rapporteur and would remain engaged with any constructive initiative under the UN apart from our bilateral engagements with Myanmar.
The international community has failed the Rohingyas over the years. Without the international community lending its demonstrable support, we shall once again miss out on perhaps this last opportunity to do something meaningful for the Rohingyas.
In the same vein, I would like to urge the international community to take note and act on other human rights situation including that of the occupied State of Palestine. If we are really serious about human rights, we should raise our collective voice to stop such flagrant violations.
We take this opportunity to thank the Special Rapporteurs and Representatives for their dedicated work in trying to get involved with the Member States, assess the situation on the ground, reporting objectively and then suggesting ways forward for the individual countries in their effort to address the human rights situation so that people can enjoy the fruits of human rights and fundamental freedom.
Bangladesh urges all member states to resolve differences and work in a spirit of collaboration, compassion and solidarity to devise alternative and complementary approaches to address the human rights situation in various parts of the world.
The goals and targets set forth for a sustainable future can only be feasible if we can create a ground through the implementation of relevant human rights and humanitarian laws and promote respect for human rights such as equality, non-discrimination, participation, accountability, transparency, rule of law, addressing the needs of the vulnerable and marginalized and disadvantaged groups.
Finally, we should respect each other, understand each other, work closely with each other with trust and confidence in our collective endeavours to uphold the cause of universal human rights.
I thank you.