STATEMENT BY H.E. MAJID KHAN, MP OF BANGLADESH PARLIAMENT AT THE THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE 74TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, NEW YORK, 18 OCTOBER 2019
70(a) Implementation of human rights instruments
70 (b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms
and 70 (c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives
On the eve of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights last year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said and I quote:
“It (UDHR) lights the path to a world without wars and Holocausts, without torture or famine or injustice. A world where misery is minimized and no one is too rich or powerful to evade justice.”
It is ironic that even after repeated global calls for restrain and cessation of violence, it continues to plague countries and regions around the world seriously undermining human rights. Mass killing, rape, arson and reign of destruction particularly in conflict areas reported by various human rights mechanism bring to fore the “clear picture of the gravity and scale of the violations”. Although States have the primary responsibility to protect, we often find them failing to do so. The perpetrators escape justice and accountability purview, enjoy impunity. Again, both state and non-state actors on various pretexts violate human rights. States must address the root causes of violence; abuse and violation of human rights must be dealt with by an iron hand. Only this can retain people’s trust in human rights instruments.
In the face of atrocity crimes committed by the Myanmar Security Forces, 1.2 million Rohingyas fled their homes and have taken shelter in Bangladesh. Two bilaterally agreed upon attempts for voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar–one on 15 November 2018 and the other on 22 August 2019, were unsuccessful. Not a single Rohingyas opted to return since they were not convinced that Myanmar had addressed their core concerns such as security, livelihood, justice and rights issues. For repatriation to happen, Myanmar has to take guarantee the human rights of Rohingyas; take confidence building measures to create the conducive environment for their return.
We thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the SRSGs, the Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts as well as Chairs of various committees who have interacted with the Committee and for their tireless efforts. We hope that they will continue their work with objectivity, impartiality following the ground realities.
As part of our national efforts in the human rights domain, we already presented our Universal Periodic Review 3 times last being in May 2018. In July this year, Bangladesh presented its report to the Committee Against Torture in Geneva. We submitted our report to the Human Rights Committee on the situation of civil and political rights in Bangladesh at its 119th session in 2017. As a current member to the Human Rights Council, Bangladesh will continue to work closely with various special rapporteurs and related mandate holders and mechanisms to uphold human rights.
Our independent Judiciary and independent National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) remain alert to address any human rights issue. The parliament as and when required reviews and updates national acts and laws in order to bring them in line with the international human rights law and obligations.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we will remain engaged with the international community to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedom worldwide.
I thank you.