Shahriar Alam discusses trade issues with member of European Parliament
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam has requested the European policy-makers to ensure fair prices for apparel sourced from Bangladesh for incentivizing the ongoing reform initiatives in the industry of Bangladesh.
The request was made during a meeting with Maria Arena, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and Chair of the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee at the European Parliament in Brussels Thursday, on the second day of his visit to Brussels.
He briefed the MEP about the key developments in the RMG industry in Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza tragedy after Arena’s particular interest in business and human rights agenda, according to a statement from the foreign ministry.
The state minister gave a brief account of the measures taken by Bangladesh government to strengthen democracy and human rights in the country.
Arena stressed the importance of following up on the European Union’s recommendations for further electoral reforms.
“Every society and country needs to find its own equilibrium through enacting and implementing legislation pursuant to its international human rights obligations”, Shahriar Alam told Maria Arena.
Explaining the objective of the Digital Security Act 2018 in Bangladesh, he said the law was aimed at preventing and prosecuting criminal acts in the cyber sphere that could have destabilizing consequences for society in general.
He emphasised that there was no scope for undue harassment or restriction against media personnel under the law.
However, the Editor’s Council in Bangladesh has been critical of the law, saying it is an obstruction to press freedom.
Shahriar Alam thanked the MEP for issuing a statement calling for the implementation of the order issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to prevent genocidal acts against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
He urged the European Parliament to remain seized with the issue through its various monitoring mechanisms and tools towards facilitating the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingya to Myanmar.
Earlier in the day, Alam had a bilateral meeting with Maximilian Krah, MEP from the Identity and Democracy Group and Rapporteur for South Asia in the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA).
They had detailed discussions on the issues raised at the multi-stakeholder event held on 05 February to take stock of the progress made in Bangladesh’s RMG industry and discuss the future potentials for EU-Bangladesh apparel trade.
MEP Krah assured of his support to sustain the momentum of positive narratives emanating from Bangladesh in reversal of the previously projected image of the country in the international context.
State Minister Alam also met some apparel industry actors in Brussels and exchanged views with representatives from the Bangladesh community in Brussels, and took note of their suggestions concerning consular and other services.
He invited members of Bangladesh community across political divide to join forces to observe the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation abroad in a befitting manner.