State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said there are some “fundamental shortcomings and mistakes” in the 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released by the US Department of State on March 20.
“We will raise these shortcomings with the US side so that such things do not exist in the next year’s report,” he told reporters, noting that there will be high-level bilateral visits to the US and meetings at various levels where these issues will be discussed.
Referring to “controversial” rights group Odhikar, which was quoted as one of the sources in the US report, the State Minister said Odhikar does not have any valid document to operate in Bangladesh.
Responding to questions from reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he said there is no scope to see any civil society organisation or NGO on a neutral point of view which has a “political history and identity.”
The State Minister hoped that not only the US but other countries also will maintain distance from those organisations, which are not registered in Bangladesh.
He said such report’s credibility gets lost if there are continuous shortcomings. “We will look into it further whether there is any issue that we need to take into consideration at all.”
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The State Minister said it is very unfortunate that there is a tendency to undermine Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas said the United States regularly raises human rights issues with the government of Bangladesh in the spirit of respect and partnership, and they will continue to do so.
“Promoting respect for individual rights helps create a more secure, stable, and prosperous world. Defending fundamental freedoms is at the core of who we are as a country,” he said.
The US Department of State released the 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, an annual report required by US law.
US President Joe Biden has put human rights at the centre of the United States foreign policy.
Guided by the United Nations’ human rights treaties, the country reports document the status of respect for human rights and worker rights in 198 countries and territories.
The United States has issued these reports for nearly five decades. The country reports do not draw legal conclusions, rank countries, or draw comparisons.