Bangladesh seeks time to respond to UN
Bangladesh has sought a week from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to respond to a letter wanting to know the country's human rights issues and the government's relations with rights bodies.
"We have sought some time so that we can provide a suitable response to the organisations," Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told journalists.
On June 27, OHCHR sent a letter to Bangladesh's Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, seeking response on the cases of human rights abuses -- including enforced disappearances, killing of Rohingya leader Mohibullah, harassment of rights activists and revoking of registration of rights body Odhikar.
The UN Human Rights Council's Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has communicated with the government about at least 76 cases of enforced disappearances over the decades, requesting information and explanations.
Finally, on January 10 and February 5 this year, the government replied to the Working Group, which then said the Bangladesh government's explanations were "insufficient".
In its June 27 letter, OHCHR said it is seeking a response from the Bangladesh government to include it in an annual report, which will be presented to the UN General Assembly in September. It wanted to get the response by July 15.
Asked why the response was late, Secretary Momen said the government is working on it.
"Sometimes, we don't get responses from various agencies in the required formats," he told reporters on Sunday.
Momen said the government informed the UN body that there was an Eid vacation and that it will be a little late in sending the response. "But, the response will be given."
Early this year, a human rights cell was formed under the foreign ministry's UN wing, to better analyse the country's human rights situation and rightly present it to the international community.
The move came following US sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion and seven of its current and former officials on December 10 last year, on grounds of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Besides, 12 international human rights organisations in November had written to the UN, calling for banning Rab from UN peacekeeping missions.
In late January this year, Momen said many times that "the way the human rights situation of Bangladesh was presented to the UN or other international bodies was not the whole fact".