Human Rights Council
Bangladesh has bagged a “historic win” in the election for the membership of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the term 2023-25, securing 160 votes out of 189 that were cast in Tuesday’s election. Talking to UNB, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said it vindicated again that the global leaderships have confidence on Sheikh Hasina's government and the human rights track record of Bangladesh. "Bangladesh government is always at the forefront of democracy, human rights and justice," he said. This would be the fifth term for Bangladesh as a member of the 47-member UNHRC. It secured one of the four seats up for grabs for countries from the Asia Pacific Group, receiving the highest votes out of all the candidates in the region. However it is quite a bit lower than the 178 votes it received when elected as a member of the council in 2018 (for the 2019-21 term). The other three countries elected from the region were the Maldives (154 votes), Vietnam (145 votes) and Kyrgyzstan (126 votes). South Korea (123 votes) and Afghanistan (12 votes) missed out, while Bahrain withdrew their candidature late last month. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the win is significant, as it was “the most competitive international election” Bangladesh participated in since 2018. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam led the Bangladesh delegation in the UN General Assembly during the election on Tuesday. Ambassador Abdul Muhith, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, accompanied the State Minister. Ambassador Muhith thanked the member States for electing Bangladesh to the Human Rights Council with overwhelming number of votes and expressed his commitment to continue working with all in strengthening the leadership of the UN in promoting and protecting human rights globally. The result is a clear manifestation of the recognition by the international community of Bangladesh's continued endeavour and commitment for the promotion and protection of human rights in the national as well as international arena, Bangladesh says. “It also nullifies the ongoing smear campaign with falsified and fabricated information, by some politically motivated vested corners at home and abroad, aimed at negatively portraying the human rights situation of Bangladesh,” according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Given that in electing the members of the UNHRC, the General Assembly is expected to take into account the candidate States' contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard, MoFA may well feel vindicated. In the previous UNHRC elections, Bangladesh won in 2006, 2009, 2014 and 2018. Bangladesh, as a responsible and responsive Member State of the United Nations and an elected UNHRC member for next three years, will remain committed to make all efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights nationally and globally, MoFA said. The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States at any one time, which is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. The Council starts its yearly membership cycle on January 1.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has expressed optimism over Bangladesh’s chances of getting elected to the UN Human Rights Council, noting that Bangladesh remains very vocal on human rights issues. “I believe we will win this year, too. We have a very good preparation,” he told reporters at his office on Tuesday, adding that Bangladesh has been a member of the Human Rights Council for many years. Momen said Bangladesh remains a vocal country in upholding human rights and it always stood against injustice and struggled for people’s rights. Bangladesh is one of the candidates (Asia Pacific States) to the election for the term 2023-2025. There are four vacant seats in this group after Bahrain withdrew its candidature on September 26. Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Republic of Korea and Vietnam will compete in the election with Bangladesh under the Asia Pacific States category. The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States at any one time, which are responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. The Council starts its yearly membership cycle on January 1. Read: UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution to end Rohingya crisis Membership to the Council is open to all Member States of the United Nations. Members are elected by the General Assembly through individual and direct votes by absolute majority (97 votes). Ballots are secret and elections are held every year. Members serve three-year terms and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms. Bangladesh last served on the council during the 2019-21 term. Responding to a question, Momen said the UN report on enforced disappearances in Bangladesh contains errors and cited that there were names of individuals in the list of disappeared people who were in Indian jail or live in India. “This is unfortunate. I hope in the future they will correct themselves,” he said. Asked about U.S. sanctions on elite force RAB, Momen said Bangladesh had shared its position on every forum.
Bangladesh is deeply committed to the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which is reflected in the country's engagements with the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, said Ambassador Rabab Fatima. Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Fatima was speaking at the general debate on the report of the Human Rights Council (HRC) at the General Assembly Thursday. "As a member of the Human Rights Council, Bangladesh remains actively engaged and committed to the mandate and work of the Council," Ambassador Fatima added. She appreciated the efforts of the HRC for keeping the Rohingya issues high on its agenda and for adopting a consensus resolution in its 47th session. Also read:Rabab Fatima calls for international solidarity against terrorism Fatima also acknowledged the role and work of the Special Rapporteur and the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar. She called upon the Council to continue its efforts to ensure a safe, voluntary and dignified life for the Rohingya, free from discrimination and persecution in their homeland in Myanmar.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), led by Bangladesh, has appreciated the creation of a position of UN Special Rapporteur to play a dedicated role in protecting and promoting human rights in the context of climate crisis. The position was created at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva through a resolution at the 48th Session of the UN’s supreme body for human rights. Speaking for the Climate Vulnerable Forum Presidency, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen welcomed the adoption of resolution on the mandate of the new HRC special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. He said this was a proud achievement for the people of the world’s most climate threatened nations, where many of them are being deprived of their rights to life and decent living due to climate change-related displacement. From the outset of Bangladesh’s presidency, pursing this mandate had been a top priority, said the Foreign Minister. Read: Hasina’s climate leadership lauded at CVF-COP26 dialogue In the CVF nations, 1.2 billion people are facing threats to the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights through climatic consequences, including sea-level rise, river erosion, salinity increase, floods and draughts that claim lives, livelihoods and displace people from their ancestral homes and traditional jobs. Dr Momen extended thanks to the Members of the Human Rights Council for supporting the long overdue and critical resolution to create this mandate. He also expressed his sincere thanks to the CVF Secretariat for their efficient support and useful advice to the CVF Presidency and all Member States of the CVF. CVF’s Thematic Ambassador for Vulnerability, Saima Wazed; the Speaker of the Maldives People’s Majlis, and former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed who is now the CVF Thematic Ambassador for Ambition; and Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and CVF Thematic Ambassador for Renewable Energy also welcomed the decision taken by the UN Human Rights Council to establish the post of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and climate change. Read: Help achieve green recovery of CVF-V20 countries: Hasina to developed nations The new mandate responds to repeated calls, first initiated by the CVF in 2019, and from wide-ranging climate-vulnerable countries, small island developing countries, least developed countries, low-lying countries, and landlocked countries at the forefront of the climate-change crisis. A joint statement led by Bangladesh at the 46th HRC session in March 2021 calling for the creation of the special rapporteur was supported by 54 states. The resolution adopted on 8 October 2021 emphasises the need for a continued focus on addressing the adverse consequences of climate change for all, particularly in developing countries and for the people whose situation is most vulnerable to climate change.
The Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on conflict prevention and the protection of the human rights of minorities, convened by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues Fernand de Varennes, will take place in Geneva on September 7 and 8. The regional forum will bring together around 200 representatives from states, the UN and regional organisations, civil society groups, and minorities. The Asia-Pacific Regional Forum is the third of four regional fora convened in 2021 on preventing conflicts through justice and human rights for minorities. Read: Wau province Governor lauds humane services of Bangladesh peacekeepers Discussions will inform the work and recommendations of the 14th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues taking place in Geneva in December this year also on the theme of "Conflict Prevention and the Protection of the Human Rights of Minorities." The forum, which meets annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions, will take place online this year because of the pandemic, said a media release issued from Geneva. Fernand, the special rapporteur on minority issues, is tasked to guide the work of the forum, prepare its annual meetings and report on the thematic recommendations to the Human Rights Council.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, Wednesday called for the urgent formation of an "Emergency Coalition for the People of Myanmar" to stop what he described as the military junta's "reign of terror." The international community is failing the people of Myanmar, he said. Addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Andrews said it was time to end "the failure of those outside of Myanmar to take measures that could help end this nightmare." Andrews highlighted the extreme human rights abuses committed by the junta, which he described as "crimes against humanity." "The junta's military forces have murdered approximately 900 people, forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands, tortured many, including torturing people in custody to death, disappeared untold numbers, and arbitrarily detained nearly 6,000," Andrews said. Also read: In Myanmar, the military and police declare war on medics Despite its brutality, he added, "The junta has failed to take control of the country after launching its February coup. The junta captured many levers of state power, the purse strings of Myanmar's treasury and the administrative offices, but it has not – not even close – taken control of the nation and its people." "The people of Myanmar roundly view the junta as illegitimate and, indeed, a terrorist scourge set loose upon them. Now, more than ever, we must summon the courage of the people of Myanmar and choose the path of meaningful and sustained action," Andrews said. Andrews' call for an Emergency Coalition for the People of Myanmar would include "nations willing to stand with the people of Myanmar through meaningful, coordinated action." The UN expert said a coalition of nations that are willing to work together on strong action to pressure the junta was necessary considering the paralysis that has followed the consensus decision making that has plagued the international response to date. "The UN Security Council, Human Rights Council and General Assembly have offered statements and resolutions but the people of Myanmar need immediate action," he told the Council in Geneva. Also read: Washington announces further sanctions against Myanmar army personnel and enablers Andrews said, "The Emergency Coalition should significantly reduce the revenue that the junta needs to continue its reign of terror by coordinated tough targeted sanctions, including against Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise." "Also, it will have to outlaw the export of arms to the Myanmar military, as called for in last month's General Assembly resolution; pursue universal jurisdiction cases and coordinate investigations against Myanmar's senior security officials," he added. READ: UK announces sanctions on companies linked to Myanmar’s military regime "The Emergency Coalition should dramatically increase humanitarian aid by working with the National Unity Government to use non-junta channels to assure that aid goes directly to the people of Myanmar. Also, it will have to work together to deny any claims of legitimacy that the junta may try to assert, such as the false claim that they are recognised by the UN " Andrews said.
The U.N.’s top human rights body passed a consensus resolution Friday urging military leaders in Myanmar to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian government leaders detained after a military coup, while watering down an initial draft text amid pressure led by China and Russia.
Indigenous people in Asia are facing massive displacement, destruction of their environment and rising poverty due to land-grabbing, says a UN human rights expert.
The UN’s deputy rights chief on Monday said the collective impact of climate change, Covid-19 pandemic and conflict mean that well over 200 million people will likely need humanitarian assistance by 2022.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee on Tuesday called on the Myanmar government to change course and embrace democracy and human rights during the presentation of her final report to the Human Rights Council.