Statement delivered by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the General Debate on the Report of the Human Rights Council at the 75th UN General Assembly, 05 Nov 2020, GA Hall

I thank you, Mr. President,

I thank the President of the Human Rights Council for the presentation of the annual report of the Council. We commend the Council for continuing its work despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh attaches high importance to the work of the Human Rights Council, in its role as the UN’s principal body for the promotion and protection of human rights globally, and for ensuring the progressive implementation of the human rights obligations by Member States and to ensure accountability.

As a member of the Human Rights Council, Bangladesh remains actively engaged and committed to the Council’s mandate and work.

We recognize that the Council needs to strengthen its efforts to bring coherence in its work in Geneva and its facilitation here in New York. To this end, we appreciate the recently held review of the human rights treaty body system and hope that this would help address some of the concerns that continued to impact the full and effective implementation of the human rights instruments.

Mr. President,

Bangladesh’s engagements with Human Rights Council emanate from its deep-rooted commitment to the principles of human rights and fundamental freedom. We are party to eight out of the nine core human rights treaties. We have also enacted national legislations for implementation of those instruments. Over the last decade we have made it a priority to strengthen compliance of human rights.

To that end, national institutions and watchdogs, including the national human rights commission, have been strengthened. We have also intensified our engagements with the human rights mechanisms of the UN, including through Universal Periodic Review and reporting to the treaty bodies. For the timely implementation of the recommendations received during the 3rd cycle of UPR, we are currently developing a national implementation plan, in consultation with various stakeholders, including the civil society.

Mr. President,

It is from our unwavering commitment to human rights and respect for human dignity, that we continue to provide shelter and protection to over a million forcibly displaced Rohingyas, who fled Myanmar in the face of worst human rights violations. We believe it is our duty as a member of the international community to ensure realization of the basic human rights of the Rohingya, including their right to return to their homeland, Myanmar. The Rohingya must be able to return home and live a safe and dignified life, free from discrimination and persecution.

In this regard, we appreciate regular adoption by the Council of the resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. We also recognize with appreciation the establishment and work of the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar and its successor – the Independent Investigative Mechanism.

Bangladesh also commends the former Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Professor Yanghee Lee for fulfilling her mandate despite the many challenges she faced. We welcome the appointment of her successor, Mr. Thomas Andrews, and assure him of our full support and cooperation. We also hope that his efforts and engagements would help Myanmar to overcome its legal, political, social and institutional limitations in building an inclusive society.

As a host to the unfortunate victims, the displaced Rohingyas, we have provided full access to all UN mechanisms to the camps in Cox’s Bazar, and we shall continue to do so, as long as the Rohingyas are not afforded with basic human rights in their homes in Myanmar to enable them to return in safety and dignity.  We call upon Myanmar to cooperate fully with all the mechanisms of the Council, including the Special Rapporteur.

Mr. President,

We echo the call of many countries for ‘constructive engagement’ from the Council. We also endorse the idea of promoting mutual trust and confidence between the Council’s mechanisms and the Member States.

In this regard, Bangladesh would like to add that the responsibility is mutual. The Council is as effective as we the Member States want it to be. Without cooperation from Member States the human rights mechanisms cannot be expected to deliver. We believe it is only through a collaborative approach that Member States can empower the Council and help it to fulfil its mandates.

Bangladesh as a current member of the Council will continue to support the work of the President and the Council for the full promotion and protection of human rights anywhere in the world.

I thank you, Mr. President.