No peace, stability sans civil, pol rights: EU Parliament Del

The European Parliament delegation on human rights has said “peace and stability should not be restored at the expense of civil and political rights” in Bangladesh.
The team of the Sub-committee on Human Rights led by Cristian Dan Preda made the call in a statement on Thursday at the end of their four-day visit to Bangladesh amid spiralling violence.
The European MPs said during meetings with government and opposition representatives, they had called for “an immediate end to the increasing violence”.They also echoed calls from the international community and Bangladeshi civil society to resolve the political crisis.
They said the purpose of their visit was to assess the current human rights situation in Bangladesh, focusing on the areas of labour rights, children and women and minority rights.
But, during their discussions with the government and civil society members, they paid special attention “to civil and political rights against the background of violence generated by the current political impasse”.
According to the statement, the European Parliament considers human rights and democracy “an essential element” of the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the EU.
“We were here because of our concerns regarding the human rights situation. We need Bangladesh as a strong partner,” chair of the delegation Dan Preda said.
He also said the respect for human rights and democracy would be “an essential component” for Bangladesh “to realise its full potential in order to reach its declared goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2021”.
Josef Weidenholzer and Karol Karski were the other two MEPS on the team.
Apart from political leaders, the delegation met the speaker, trade union and business leaders, environmental activists, representatives of local and international civil society, and members of minority groups.
The delegates also reiterated concerns over the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
“Freedom of expression was also a matter of concern, discussed with multiple interlocutors,” according to the statement.
It underlined the need for “consolidating” democratic institutions.
The MEPs expected that the draft ‘Foreign Donations Act’ would 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.”
They visited a readymade garment 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”.
They welcomed the progress so far made through inspections and consultations after the Rana Plaza building collapse, but called for further development for full implementation of the amended Labour Law including in the EPZs.
The delegation also visited an EU-funded Mirpur project on children’s migration to urban areas.
The EuroParl MPs welcomed government efforts and progress achieved in basic education of children and encouraged further measures, such as nationwide birth registration and the protection of the particularly vulnerable groups, especially in large urban areas.
They also discussed women’s rights and children’s rights and urged the government to ensure the full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord.
The MPs hoped that the government would continue engaging with the international community towards improving the situation of the Rohingyas refuges in Bangladesh.
During meetings, they reiterated the EU’s principled position on the death penalty, opposing it under all circumstances. – Agencies