US human rights report on Bangladesh: Has a mountain been made out of a molehill?

Every year, the US prepares and publishes the Human Rights Positions of many countries, with the exception of its own. The report was written by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Despite the fact that this is an annual event in the United States, no international authority, such as the United Nations, has asked it to prepare a report. Such assessments are usually made for a select group of countries, and no government has ever accepted the study as objective, dismissing it as a report based on defective, erroneous material acquired from sources of questionable authenticity with a political agenda. Almost never is the information used in the compilation of such reports verified.

This year’s US human rights report on Bangladesh was released on April 12th, based primarily on information gathered from Bangladeshi media reports and two local human rights organizations, some of which have been accused of not being objective in their reporting. They’ve also been accused of creating these papers with a disguised political goal.

This year’s report emphasizes Bangladesh’s “widespread impunity for security force atrocities.” Aside from the alleged ‘impunity’ issue, the report also mentions arbitrary arrests or detentions, forced disappearances, torture, or cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by governments or their agents on behalf of governments, ‘serious problems’ with the independence of the judiciary, and surprisingly arbitrary or unlawful invasion of privacy by governments or their agents on behalf of governments, and It also notes the government’s “tendency to impose the ideals of a few select countries on lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and same-sex marriage,” stating that such impositions are “regrettable” and uncalled for violations of human rights.

It was forgotten in preparing such a report that each civilization has its own set of values based on its culture, history, conventions, sanctions, and religious beliefs. Soliciting or prostitution, both male and female, is not endorsed in most US jurisdictions, but such actions are not deemed criminal in some areas (Nevada). The United States spends billions of dollars to combat drug and narcotic-related problems, while the sale and purchase of all types of drugs and narcotics has been decriminalized in Oregon.

Israel invades one of Islam’s holiest sites, the Aqsa Mosque in Israel-occupied Palestine, on a daily basis, while the rest of the world looks the other way. There are other examples like this. When Iraq’s former ruler Saddam Hussein was executed on December 30, 2006, the day of Islam’s second most important day, Eid-ul-Ajha, where was the human rights issue? Would it be considered a violation of human rights in the name of ‘Freedom of Expression’ in the United States?

There is no denying that law enforcement authorities in Bangladesh sometimes need to utilize strong armed techniques to combat crime as the pattern of crimes is changing dynamically. However, there might have some separate incidents.

But it is true that a number of times, police enforcement agencies have become victims, with a few losing their lives or being severely disabled. Though most security analysts have praised the operations of the law enforcement agencies and other law enforcement agencies in preventing the rise of militancy in Bangladesh, the so-called human rights reports produced by the US seldom mention them. The credit for freeing Bangladesh’s north-east borders from insurgency and militancy, as well as ensuring the security of India’s north-eastern states bordering Bangladesh, must go to Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies and defense forces.

Surprisingly, the study emphasizes the ‘mistreatment’ of Rohingya refugees, which is a complete fabrication. It’s important to remember that Bangladesh is a small country with a population of 170 million people, making it one of the world’s most densely inhabited countries. The country must feed and maintain its own people with limited resources, and when more than one million Myanmarese people are uprooted from their homeland in the name of ethnic cleansing and pushed into Bangladesh, it causes not only socioeconomic problems but also puts extreme strain on the country’s limited resources.

Unlike illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States, who are separated from their parents before being sent to detention camps, Bangladesh has not only provided a safe haven for the displaced Rohingyas, but has also relocated tens of thousands of them from unhealthy living conditions in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf to better housing with basic facilities in Bhashanchar.

Police in the United States carry out extrajudicial killings. On average, 1,000 similar incidents occur in the United States each year. There was also the Black Lives Matter movement. Hate crimes affect students across the Indian subcontinent, not just Bangladeshi students. In the last year, 918 people have been shot and killed by police in the United States. This isn’t my information. The data comes from the ‘Washington Post.’ The extrajudicial shooting of George Floyd by three Minneapolis police officers has reignited protests over the 2020 Black Lives Matter, indicating the largest protest movement in US history. The United States should first assess the state of human rights on its own soil.

UN human rights experts called on the US government to end police torture and racial discrimination in the country. Major human rights breaches are occurring in the United States. Shouldn’t the United States look at the human rights situation on its own soil first?

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has explained its view on the problems raised in the US report, and anticipates that such a regular report will not jeopardize the two nations’ close relationship. Bangladesh’s geostrategic importance is recognized by the United States. The United States continues to be the most popular destination for Bangladeshi students seeking higher education outside of the country. Every year, the economic link between the two countries strengthens, with exports of readymade garments and pharmaceutical products from Bangladesh to the United States increasing. People of Bangladeshi descent in the United States make a significant contribution to the US economy, and many are employed in high-level jobs.

Almost every government, including the United States, has a problem securing adequate human rights for its residents, and there is always space for improvement. But reports like the one published recently in the United States, which is based on faulty information acquired from sources of dubious trustworthiness, create a condition of bewilderment. This serves the interests of the forces that are always working to undermine the country’s socioeconomic and political stability.

Mehjabin Bhanu
Mehjabin Bhanu
I am a lady school teacher in Bangladesh. I am a resident of Rajshahi City Corporation in Bangladesh. Teaching is my profession. On the other hand, I am also a local social worker. My academic background: Honors and Masters in ' Political Science' from the University of Rajshahi.