The European Union has conveyed its concerns to Dhaka, in a number of areas, especially the country’s current political situation.
The EU officials also stressed the need for protecting “the fundamental democratic rights of the people of Bangladesh” in view of recent violent incidents.
“Victims of violence deserve proper justice,” a press from the EU issued on Saturday said about the discussion.
It insisted that “perpetrators, whoever they are, must be identified, brought to justice and receive a fair trial.”
The EU reiterated the importance of protecting human rights defenders.
The sub-group called human rights as the cornerstone of the EU-Bangladesh relation as the two sides discussed the “importance of upholding rule of law and respecting human rights as fundamental instruments for de-escalating political tensions”.
It also addressed the need to strengthen cooperation on democracy, governance and human rights, in particular, the implementation of the international human rights standards relating to the judiciary and freedom of expression.
The discussions focused also on recent developments on rule of law, good governance, transparency, accountability for extrajudicial killings, freedom of the media, freedom of assembly and civil society, labour rights, the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, the situation of the Rohingyas, women and children’s rights, the death penalty and migration issues.
The EU and Bangladesh held the sub-group meet under the framework of the 2001 Cooperation Agreement on (i) Governance, Human Rights and Migration, (ii) Trade and (iii) Development Cooperation.
This sub-group meeting was held in the backdrop of the most recent visit by the members of the sub-committee on human rights of the European Parliament.
The human rights delegation that visited Bangladesh between 17 and 20 February, also alerted the government to violation of rights in the guise of restoring order. “Peace and stability should not be restored at the expense of civil and political rights,” the team said in a press statement.
Back in Brussels, the delegation members also expressed serious concern and said extremist group might emerge in Bangladesh, if the opposition is sidelined.