POST TIME: 23 October, 2019 12:33:41 AM
Bangladesh, EU to seek accountability
crimes against Rohingyas

Bangladesh, EU to seek accountability

Bangladesh and the European Commission (EU) have expressed their commitment to pursuing the accountability mechanisms for crimes committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar through various multilateral initiatives. The people and Government of Bangladesh, along with the international humanitarian community, including NGOs, have collectively provided a comprehensive response to the humanitarian challenge posed by the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh. The commitment was affirmed at the 9th Session of the European Union (EU)-Bangladesh Joint Commission held in Dhaka on Monday, covering a wide range of issues of common

interest, according to a press release yesterday. The EU recalled its political and financial support to the government and the people of Bangladesh in dealing with the Rohingya crisis. It also expressed its appreciation for the generous and humane role played by the people and government of Bangladesh. It stressed the need for voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar. Bangladesh expects continued support in this regard. Both sides also discussed a plan for the relocation of Rohingya to Bhashan char.  Bangladesh reassured the EU on the voluntary nature of the relocation and engagement with the international community.

Both the EU and Bangladesh agreed on the aim to strengthen the economic relationship through increased trade and investment flows for which it was essential to ensure a predictable and transparent business environment for economic operators.

Bangladesh and the EU concurred that the EU’s unilateral, preferential trade scheme— Everything But Arms (EBA) under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences— granted to Bangladesh had made a direct and significant contribution to Bangladesh’s economic growth and social and economic development.

Exports of Bangladeshi products to the EU had more than tripled between 2006 and 2018. The EU is currently Bangladesh’s main trading partner, absorbing half of the country’s overall exports. In fact, Bangladesh is the source of more than 62 per cent of all EBA exports to the EU and hence the largest beneficiary of the EU EBA programme.  

Both sides committed themselves to further enhancing the regular EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue to address impediments towards more trade and investment from the EU. In this context, it was recalled that EBA preferences as well as any future trade relationship were conditional on the respect of human rights, including labour rights, as reflected in the international conventions listed in the GSP Regulation.

Sustained reforms of labour rights standards by the Government of Bangladesh and their full alignment with International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions on the basis of consensus of tripartite constituents is crucial in this regard.

While good progress has been made on factory safety in the garments sector, many steps are still to be taken in the area of labour rights and the full implementation of the Sustainability Compact is also necessary.

The EU stressed that a fully empowered and resilient civil society, in all its diversity, is a crucial component of democracy. The EU and Bangladesh agreed to develop roadmap on some issues strengthening compliance with labour and human rights.

The Joint Commission reviewed political developments on both sides and discussed the role of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, including the importance of holding free and fair elections.

The EU raised concerns on the situation of human rights, in particular reports of ‘extrajudicial killings’, and ‘enforced disappearances’.