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Basic Q&A about the Univeral Periodic Review

Explaining the UPR Process

How the UPR Process developed in Bangladesh in the Last Cycle

On Wednesday 12 February 2013, the Human Rights Forum in Bangladesh shared its findings with the diplomats in Dhaka. Previously, in October 2012, the Human Rights Forum submitted their stakeholders report under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council. The second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on Bangladesh is going to be held on April 2013 in Geneva.

Around 25 representatives from different Foreign Missions and International Organisations gathered in Baridhara for the report sharing meeting. Members of the Forum also attended  the meeting.

Sultana Kamal,  the convenor of the Forum and also  the Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra, the Secretariat for the human rights forum Bangladesh moderated the meeting. Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh, Sara Hossain, Honorary Director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Zakir Hossain, Chief Executive of Nagorik Udyog, Ayesha Khanom, President of Mahila Parishad and  Shaheen Anam, Executive Director of Manusher Jonno foundation, attended the meeting.


Key Concerns : UPR Report Powerpoint Presentation by Sara Hossain

UPR Stakeholders Report - Human Rights Forum Summary

After Sara Hossain presented the key concerns of the UPR Report, Sultana Kamal presented findings from the UPR Report on Child Rights Situation of Bangladesh, which has been submitted by Child Rights Governance Assembly (CRGA).  Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) is also acting as the Secretariat of CRGA. 

Click to Download

 UPR report on Child Rights Situation

 

     

Issues Raised by Delegates

  Ambassador of Denmark , Mr Svend Olling shared his difficulty in understanding how the development in Bangladesh is really evolving, especially comparing the given Agendas and HR Reports. He highlighted three issues of main importance regarding workers rights, in terms of workers safety, questioning corporate rights and opening the field for unions. He also spoke of the Rohingya issue and the demand for capital punishment in the ongoing war crimes tribunal.

 Ambassador of Norway , Mrs. Ragne Birte Lund  expressed her gratitude and the importance to meet the Civil Society before the review in Geneva.

She agreed with her Colleague H.E. Ambassador of Denmark and stated that some of the issues are more acute than others. At the same time she added emphasis on the issue of Capital Punishment and how a dialogue can be started on this.

An important issue she saw as under-represented is the Issue regarding violence against women. Further, she remarked on the lack of follow up from previous recommendations and questioned, ‘’how have the recommendations been used'’? She said, some of them are visible as for example, ‘Maternity Leave’ mentioned in the presentation . She posed the question, ‘’ What kind of actions can be taken and how  the process can be made visible?'’.

Sultana Kamal replied, implementation of laws are very important and unfortunately no mechanism is in place. Violence against women is an important issue and there is a lot of pressure from the women’s rights movements. In general, violence is directly related to empowerment and honor issues. So women’s security is a cultural issue and requires a long drawn change process.

 Answers from the Panel

International Crimes Tribunal and the Trial of the War Criminals

The War crimes and the culture of impunity are the biggest violations against humanity. To end impunity of these perpetrators, they should be given the highest penalty according to the law of the land. Killing, looting, arson and rape in 71 are still live and sensitive issues in our society. It is also important to make sure the trial is transparent.

Rohingyas Issue

The Forum members mentioned that Government is continuously denying to give refuge to the Rohingyas focusing on the economic condition of the country. But this should be considered on humanitarian as well as human rights ground. We have the experience of being refugees during our liberation war. The Forum also informed that they are doing necessary campaigns to change Government’s position about the Rohingyas.  

Workers Rights

Bangladesh is part of the global market and carries a part of the burden to assure basic rights for workers. Unfortunately these particular rights and the workers safety are victims of a corruption culture within the country. At the same time the appeal shouldn’t go only towards the government, but also to the country where the products are sold and brought. The conclusion should be consumer’s awareness and not boycott, because the people here need their jobs. If the countries who import the products, impose strong restrictions it will ultimately violate the human rights of the poor people.  Apart from the garment workers the rights of the domestic workers should be highlighted.

‘’Paper Victories'’

Representative of Save the Children, Birgit Lundbach stated that most of the laws are not implemented. There is still a lack of monitoring mechanisms and no one should be satisfied. She strongly recommended not to rely on paper victories.

Neal Walker, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator stressed that he strongly believes that the state report shouldn’t just be a statement but a commitment.

He asked, ‘’How and where is the Human Rights Forum pushing the Government to be more precise in their own report'’?

He admitted the Bangladesh Government made some positive efforts, however those were not enough given in relation to their own commitments in the first cycle.

 

Jahangir Alam of The National Alliance of Disabled Peoples’ Organisations requested a Braille draft of the Report.

He reminded the participants that twenty two Million People are disabled in Bangladesh, they need laws and implementation of those laws to protect their own rights.

Sultana Kamal apologised to Jahangir Alam who could not follow the presentation due the unavailability of the presentation in braille.

After thanking the diplomats for attending, she concluded the importance of communication with the foreign missions to bring out the concerns of the Human Rights Forum in Bangladesh in front of the Human Rights Council in Geneva where the review session on the human rights situation in Bangladesh will begin on 29th April 2013.

Basic Q&A about the Univeral Periodic Review

Explaining the UPR Process

How the UPR Process developed in Bangladesh in the Last Cycle


February 14, 2013

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