Bangladesh: Joint Submissions for Universal Periodic Review Documenting Human Rights Violations Committed by the Government

Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Bangladesh, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights alongside our partners have submitted the following reports. The first report was submitted together with Asian Legal Resource Center and Committee to Protect Journalists and the second report was submitted as part of a Bangladesh Solidarity Group, consisting of The Advocates for Human Rights, Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Asian Legal Resource Center, Asian Network for Free Electioins, Capital Punishment Justice Project, International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances, International Federation for Human Rights, Maayer Daak, Odhikar, and World Organisation Against Torture.

The reports have documented the Bangladesh government’s increased attempts to silence human rights defenders, journalists, and other critical voices by subjecting them and their families to threats, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. The government has failed to credibly investigate or hold perpetrators accountable for such human rights violations. The government has also targeted those who expose human rights violations and government corruption with arbitrary arrest, detention, and prosecution based on trumped-up charges. Bangladeshis’ rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly have been stifled through censorship of media outlets, interference with peaceful protests, and dismissal of complaints raised by political opposition groups as anti-state conspiracies. These violations have continued since the submission of our reports, and we remain increasingly disturbed by the government’s crackdown on human rights and the closure of civic space as the country’s January 2024 national elections draw near.

Among the recommendations in the reports, we have urged the Bangladeshi government to end all harassment of and attacks against human rights defenders, journalists, and others considered critical of the government. We also recommend that the government of Bangladesh conduct credible investigations into all allegations of such incidents and hold all perpetrators to account. In addition, we have called on the government to protect civic space and fundamental freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly by ceasing interference with peaceful protests, allowing journalists and media outlets to operate freely and independently, and repealing the repressive laws and policies that restrict the exercise of such freedoms. Finally, we have included in the reports our recommendation that the government of Bangladesh ensure free, fair, inclusive, and participatory elections by establishing a non-partisan interim government to oversee the elections and permitting independent observers to monitor the electoral process.

Bangladesh will undergo its UPR in November 2023 as part of the 44th session of the UPR in Geneva. To read the reports, please see below:

Submission 1

Submission 2

Read the fact sheet