UN envoy arrives in Bangladesh amid NGO complaints of rights violations

Dhaka, Aug 14 (EFE).- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet arrived in Bangladesh on Sunday as part of a three-day official visit during which she will visit Rohingya refugee camps, and amid international NGO complaints of human rights violations in the country.

Bachelet landed in Dhaka Sunday morning, a UN human rights official, Zahid Hossain, told EFE. She was received by Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.

This is the first visit to Bangladesh of a person in this role, during which Bachelet plans to meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, members of the National Human Rights Commission, and non-governmental organizations.

Bachelet will also travel to Cox’s Bazar, where many of the 925,000 Rohingya refugees who fled neighboring Myanmar reside, especially since the start of the Myanmar military crackdown in 2017, which the UN described as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide.

Her visit comes days after Human Rights Watch (HRW) and eight other international organizations said Bachelet should call for an “immediate end to serious abuses including extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances” during her visit to Bangladesh.

HRW said last year that nearly 600 people have been forcibly disappeared by security forces since Hasina took office in 2009, according to human rights groups.

The government has consistently denied that security forces are involved in enforced disappearances.

The United States in December imposed sanctions on the elite paramilitary force Rapid Action Battalion for alleged human rights abuses.

Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said Saturday that the country “warmly welcomes” Bachelet’s visit, but warned against politicizing rights issues.

“Politicization of human rights agenda never helps in promoting and protecting human rights of the people; and therefore, sincere dialogue and cooperation is the pathway,” the ministry said in the statement.

“Thus, Bangladesh strongly rejects some visible politically motivated efforts of some corners to mislead the people by showcasing the upcoming visit of the UN High Commissioner as an occasion to put undue pressure on the government,” it said. EFE


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