Seeking an immediate end to the growing violence in Bangladesh, the European Parliament delegation on
Thursday echoed the international community and Bangladesh civil society’s call for solving the political crisis.
The delegation came up with the call in a statement after having met government and opposition representatives.
In follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of September 2014, the delegation raised Parliament's continued concerns regarding
enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
The EP delegation also said peace and stability should not be restored at the expense of civil and political rights.
Freedom of expression was also a matter of concern as discussed with multiple interlocutors, it said adding that freedom of expression is
a fundamental pillar of a pluralistic and vibrant democracy.
The Chair of the delegation said, “We were here because of our concerns regarding the human rights situation. We need Bangladesh as
a strong partner.”
He said the respect for human rights and democracy will be an essential component for Bangladesh to realise its full potential to
reach its declared goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2021.
A three-member delegation of the Sub-committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, led by Cristian Dan Preda, visited Bangladesh
from February 16. The delegation leaves Dhaka on Friday.
The other members of the European Parliament in the delegation were MEP Josef Weidenholzer and MEP Karol Karski.
The European Parliament considers human rights and democracy an essential element of the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and
the EU, in accordance with article 1 of the 2001 bilateral Cooperation Agreement, said the statement.
The purpose of the visit was to assess the current human rights situation in the country, focusing on the areas of labour rights,
children and women and minority rights.
During discussions, the members paid special attention to civil and political rights against the background of violence generated by the
current political impasse.
The members underlined the need for consolidating democratic institutions and reiterated their expectations that the draft Foreign
Donations Act should guarantee adequate space for civil society organisations to continue working for the betterment of the situation
of vulnerable populations. This is also critical for the smooth implementation of EU funded development projects.
The delegation met trade union and business leaders, environmental activists, representatives of local and international civil society,
members of minority groups, senior political leaders, the Speaker of Parliament and members of the government.
The delegation visited an RMG factory in Dhaka and exchanged views with Accord representatives, trade unions and industry stakeholders
to gain insight into the implementation of the Sustainability Compact and to assess labour conditions.
While welcoming the progress achieved through inspections and consultations, they called for further support to Accord, and working
towards a supportive environment to ensure effective rights to collective bargaining and the full implementation of the amended
Labour Law, including in the EPZs.
The delegation also undertook a field visit to Mirpur to see a school and a project linked to children's migration to urban areas financed
under EU-funded programmes, run by the NGO "Save the children".
The delegation welcomed government efforts and progress achieved in basic education of children while encouraged further measures, such
as nationwide birth registration and the protection of the particularly vulnerable groups, especially in large urban areas.
The members also discussed women's rights and children's rights and urged the government to ensure the full implementation of the
Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord.
They hoped the government of Bangladesh will continue engaging with the international community towards improving the situation of the
Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
During various meetings, the members reiterated the EU's principled position on the death penalty, opposing it under all circumstances.