Expressing serious concerns at the deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh, the European Parliament yesterday regretted the government's decision to enact the Digital Security Act ahead of the national election.
The law actually expands and reinforces the powers of the police to crack down on free speech, including on social media, it said, calling on the government to “urgently revise” the law.
In a resolution, the European Parliament also urged the government to conduct independent investigations into reports of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and excessive use of force.
Praising Bangladesh for its “remarkable progress” in improving human rights in recent years, it urged the government to implement the recommendations of the UPR, particularly in areas such as the independence of the judiciary, civil and political rights and freedom of the media.
It also expressed deep concerns at the ICT Act, as the law not only affected the work of journalists, bloggers and commentators but also penalised the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression by any individual, including on social media.
The European Parliament appreciated the government's decision to host the Rohingya refugees, calling on the EU and other international donors to step up their efforts in providing the necessary financial and material aid to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
It also reiterated its call for the abolition of the death penalty in Bangladesh.
Expressing serious concerns at the annulment of the Transition Accord, it urged the the government to immediately recognise and implement the Transition Accord and show greater readiness to take over all of the functions of the accord.
In addition, it called on the government to adopt legislative changes to the Labour Act and its implementing rules to bring them into line with the ILO's international labour standards.
It also urged the government to take the necessary steps to effectively address all acts of anti-union discrimination, including acts of violence and intimidation.