Bangladesh must stop crackdown on civil society, media and critics

Two years after the Rana Plaza tragedy, Bangladesh textile factories are far from humane

On the request of the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament voted today a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh, where the government has intensified its crackdown on civil society, media, and critics. The imprisoning of Shahidul Alam, an internationally recognised photojournalist who did nothing but criticise the authorities for the use of violence against protesting students, is just one recent example. 

S&Ds call on the Bangladesh government to respect freedom of expression and release all currently detained for criticising the government. We also demand better safety and working conditions and call for peaceful and inclusive general elections that are scheduled for December 30. 

Soraya Post MEP, S&D Group spokesperson for human rights said: 

"The EU must remind Bangladesh of its international human rights obligations. There is a visible increase in attacks and arrests of journalists, students, human rights defenders and members of the political opposition. This crackdown on the civil society must stop. Bangladesh must safeguard media freedom and freedom of expression and release all activists, journalists and students, including photojournalist Shahidul Alam. 

“We also remain deeply concerned at the prevalence of child marriage in the country, which is one of the highest rates in the world. Bangladesh has to ensure the minimum age for marriage for women is 18 without exceptions." 

Agnes Jongerius, vice-chair of the employment and social affairs committee, commented:

“We are not only fighting for good working conditions for workers in Europe, but also for people elsewhere in the world. Therefore, I’m very happy that we tabled this resolution and also put the health and safety of workers on board! The inspections in the garment factories in Bangladesh are still necessary. The government of Bangladesh has to realise that. All must be done to avoid disasters such as the collapsing of clothing factory Rana Plaza in Bangladesh five years ago that took 1,138 lives."