Country Profile: Bangladesh

Introduction

Bangladesh has been a member of the Human Rights Council since 2014 and its current term expires in 2017. It has previously served three terms in the Council between 2006 and 2012.

Thematic Issues

Bangladesh has sponsored and co-sponsored resolutions on thematic topics such as: climate change, cultural rights, discrimination, family, journalists, self-determination, children, economic social cultural rights, food, foreign debt, international solidarity, international human rights system, peace, social forum, technical cooperation, racism and association and peaceful assembly. It has voted in favour of resolutions on: democratic and equitable international order, economic social cultural rights, discrimination, development, foreign debt, international human rights system, international solidarity, racism, religion, self-determination and unilateral coercive measures. It has voted against resolutions on sexual orientation and gender identity and on the death penalty. Bangladesh has chosen to abstain from resolutions on discrimination, economic social cultural rights, and torture.

Freedom of Assembly and of Association

Bangladesh has not actively engaged in resolutions on freedom of assembly and of association.

Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Bangladesh was a main sponsor of a resolution on the protection of journalists in situations of armed conflict in 2012. It also co-sponsored resolutions on the safety of journalists in 2012 and 2014. It has not, however, been active in other resolutions on freedom of opinion and expression. The domestic situation on the freedom of expression remains dire.

Human Rights Defenders

Bangladesh has not actively engaged in resolutions on human rights defenders.

Country Specific Issues

Bangladesh has sponsored and co-sponsored country-specific resolutions on the Golan Heights, Myanmar, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It voted in favour of resolutions on Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Golan Heights, Palestine and Syria. It voted against resolutions on Iran, Sri Lanka, Syria and Sudan. Bangladesh chose to abstain from resolutions on: Syria, Ukraine, Belarus and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Bangladesh has shown close alignment with groups such as the OIC and NAM that it is a part of. It has voted and  engaged with resolutions on countries such as Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, It has also continually voted in favour of resolutions on Palestine and the Golan Heights. Bangladesh also engaged with resolutions on its fellow south Asian neighbour Sri Lanka and on Myanmar, a regional partner.

Universal Periodic Review

During the 2nd cycle of the UPR, Bangladesh was reviewed on 29 May 2013. It accepted 185 recommendations of 232 and noted 47.

Recommendations focused on disabilities, freedom of religion and belief, trafficking, human rights violations by state agents, education and detention. Freedom of association and assembly and freedom of opinion and expression also feature in these recommendations.

As a recommending state, Bangladesh has made recommendations broadly focused on the following issues: rights of the child, women’s rights, migrants, poverty, disabilities, education, health, technical assistance and cooperation and freedom of religion and belief.