Bangladesh moves on right track | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 13, 2010

Bangladesh moves on right track

Say German lawmakers

The visiting German parliamentary delegation says Bangladesh is moving on the right track compared with Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan but observes some deficit in democratic structure particularly in rural areas and condition of human rights.
“We intensely talked to several NGOs and other organisations working together with Germany that foster democratic structure in rural areas and we recognise that there is awareness for deficit somewhere in your country,” Jurgen Klimke of ruling CDU told a group of journalists over a breakfast interaction at a city hotel yesterday.
He said it is an important factor for them that the deficits are recognised; otherwise, people would not change the situation.
Klimke and Niemat Movassat, who are members of the parliamentary standing committee on economic cooperation and development, arrived in Bangladesh on April 7 on a fact finding mission and future cooperation between Dhaka and Berlin.
The parliamentarians, who visited a prison in Bogra, and looked at the human rights situation, said these are not up to the standard of Germany and there is a lot to do to improve the situation.
Citing an example, Klimke says they found 90 prisoners staying in the jail without having beds and without knowing their rights, which is not respecting the human rights. He says the German government would also intensify its efforts to improve the situation in this area.
They also visited a garment factory to see whether the garment industry is maintaining the social compliance, which, they said, is a very important element for the German consumers.
Movassat pointed out low wages and non-payment of workers for extra-hour work which are not acceptable. He said it is possible to pay more to the workers that accounts for only one percent of the manufacturing cost of a product.
Klimke said they were told that some 25 Bangladeshi lawmakers, who own garment factories, have conflict of interest in this sector.
On energy efficiency, both the parliamentarians favoured use of renewable energy and focused on wind or solar energy instead of coal, saying that coal is not the energy of the future.
About German development aid in Bangladesh, Klimke said Bangladesh is among 60 chosen countries for German aid because Bangladesh is a democracy being an Islamic country and harbours stability like Indonesia and Turkey.
He said German annual development aid has been 55 million euro in the past two years and it would remain within this range in the next two years.
They expressed happiness over the utilisation of the German aid in Bangladesh. Germany supports projects in the health, family planning and HIV sector, good governance and human rights and development of municipality.
Asked about German government's position on the trial of 1971 war criminals, Movassat said the issue was not discussed during their meetings with the government leaders here.
However, Rolf D Reinhard, Deputy Head of the Mission, said they like to stop the culture of impunity but observed that the trial must comply with the international standard ensuring due process of law and transparency.
German Ambassador Holger Michael and Hans-Heinrich Schenelle, Head of the Development of the German Embassy were present.

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