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US-Russian interference on human rights in Bangladesh

Published : Tuesday, 3 January, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 768

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a typical �war.�Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, the United States and its western allies have been working feverishly to develop a human rights violation tag for activities carried out by the Russian government in Ukraine. On the other hand, Russia has not stopped claiming that the United States and the rest of the world are using different standards in different situations. As a result, the most recent discussion on human rights affected practically all of the players' nations, and Bangladesh, as a "state of interest," was also caught up in the meddling of this US-Russian dispute on human rights. Both of these nations see the importance of having Bangladesh on their side due to the country's phenomenal economic development and advantageous geographical location in south Asia, which may link them to the next front of interest in the Indo-Pacific region.

The background of the argument between the United States of America and Russia regarding Bangladesh began in 2021 when the United States of America sanctioned Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and its seven officials, for alleged human rights violation. The USalso imposed several sanctions on Russia and its allies in the years following the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine in February 2022.

In addition, the US and the rest of the Western world repeatedly brought the issue before the United Nations General Assembly, where many countries directly condemned Russia for its actions in Ukraine. This occurred while the United States and the rest of the Western world were bringing the issue up. However, Bangladesh remained non-aligned during this discussion and did not take a position on any of the issues at hand. In addition, Bangladesh took a position in the humanitarian sphere and asked that this conflict be brought to a stop. In addition to this, Bangladesh is expressing its worry about the effects that the conflict in Ukraine may have. In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September of 2022, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh urged the global community to "end the weapons race, war, and sanctions, assure food and security of the children, and establish peace�. The statement accurately reflects Bangladesh's position on humanity; however, the debate continued when the United States and Russia recently issued statements on the Bangladeshi human rights issue.

To begin, the conflict marked the beginning of a full-scale military clash and major assault on European land in the decades after the Second World War. This battle has already begun to shatter the record for the number of military instruments that have been utilized in past proxy wars. Second, the sanctions imposed on Russia have begun to disrupt the global economy. Now, after nine months of the war, the world is getting dangerously close to experiencing an economic downturn. Thirdly, in the realm of diplomacy, the world began a loud battle between parties, and the multilateral world slowly shaped into a polarised world, and topics such as human rights and climate change were brought up on a regular basis. When it comes to exerting pressure on the parties who aren't providing full support to the United States, the western nations, and the United States, in particular, rely heavily on the issue of human rights.

At this point, the sanctions process commenced, and politics and diplomacy began to play an important part. Human rights are the most lucrative component of this sanction politics, mostly due to the fact that it is simple to connect and transmit information about them. On the other hand, Bangladesh's recent position in international politics and economy has made it a highly significant country. Bangladesh is one of the world's fastest-growing economies. In addition to this, the geostrategic location of Bangladesh is one that is very important for both the western and eastern parties.

It seemed as if the United States and Russia were engaged in a heated discussion on the political events in Bangladesh. Peter D. Haas, the US ambassador to Dhaka, visited the residence of missing BNP leader Sajedul Islam, which sparked current discussions on human rights on the US side. Nevertheless, in the course of the visit of the United States ambassador, a social activist group known as �Mayer Kanna� wanted to meet with the ambassador because they were descended from the families of military servicemen who had disappeared during the rule of BNP founder General Ziaur Rahman in the year 1977. However, in light of recent security concerns, the United States Ambassador decided to cut his trip short and return.

In addition, a statement issued by the US Embassy on December 18, 2022 said that "Human rights are at the center of US foreign policy." As a result, the United States Embassy takes all complaints of abuses of human rights as seriously as possible and maintains frequent contact with a diverse range of human rights groups. In addition to this, the United States Embassy in Dhaka questioned on its official Twitter account whether or not the non-interference policy extended to Ukraine after posting a news story on the Russian remark that was written by a local newspaper.

The Russian Embassy in Dhaka recently published a statement in response to the allegations made by the United States, in which it said that Russia was "invariably committed" to maintaining its fundamental position on not interfering in the internal affairs of foreign countries.

It was stated that in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty," which was drafted in 1965, "no State has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other state." This was mentioned in the text. States like Bangladesh, that shape their foreign and internal policies to maximize national interests rather than following the lead of external powers, take a similar approach.

According to a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry, Russia "completely supports the goal of these nations to independently select the means of their ongoing development and establish a system not susceptible to neo-colonial techniques." In addition, the Russian Embassy stated that "unfortunately, in recent years [especially after the end of the Cold War], the problem of violating the principle of non-interference has become particularly relevant, as many believe that they can infringe on the said principle for the sake of their own interests." This was said in reference to the fact that many people believe that they can violate the principle for the sake of their own interests. Therefore, it is quite evident that the Russian purpose in this situation is to show their reaction to the charge made by the United States, and it also reveals very clearly that the influence of the conflict in Ukraine is extremely widespread in the case of Bangladesh. Therefore, Russia argued that the nations that define themselves as developed democracies were the ones displaying hegemonic intentions in the clearest and most obvious way.

Despite this, Russia has also voiced its opinions against the interference of the United States in the politics of Bangladesh. They made the following statement: "Not only do they engage in interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign UN member nations, but they also turn to obvious extortion, unlawful limitations, etc." As a result, the sovereignty of a great number of nations around the globe is put in an unprecedented position of danger.

Therefore, Bangladesh is receiving the heat of international rivalry from both the United States and Russia. It is very clear that both countries are engaged in proxy games, trying to pursue Bangladesh as a pawn; moreover, given that human rights have proved to be a profitable issue, both sides have continued to emphasize the matter from opposite directions. Bangladesh has no relations either with the USA or Russia on this issue. It is clearly an outcome of their deteriorating relations in the context of the Ukraine War.

-    Shafiqul Elahi, Retired Government Official of Bangladesh
 
 
 
 
 
 













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