The annual human rights report demonstrates that the Biden Administration continues a policy of double standards
The report titled '2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices' was published on the US State Department website on Monday. The report is based on the human rights situation of 198 countries and territories. The U.S. State Department published its “2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” at the same time as the whole world is plagued by the Russia-Ukraine war while promoting itself as the bulwark of human rights and defaming nations it views as competitors. However, the section on Bangladesh in the report is titled, '2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Bangladesh'. It highlights the issues of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, prison conditions, arrest, detention or arrest process and treatment of prisoners, judiciary, threats to human rights activists – civil society and government critics – harassment – torture, freedom of expression, respect for civil rights. Apart from this, restrictions on the media, right to peaceful assembly and organization, religious freedom, protection of 'refugees', access to basic services, freedom of participation in the political process, corruption, lack of transparency in government activities, discrimination, and social oppression, human trafficking, workers' rights are mentioned.
It doesn't explain how the West or even the US failed to stop the war in Russia and Ukraine. The worst instance of a case of human rights violations is the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. People all across the world are at peril due to Western inaction to end this war, which also indirectly violates human rights. Despite widespread demonstrations against George Floyd’s death, Kennan Anderson, Bangladesh origin youth Faisal, there are many shortcomings and lacking in the US report. We see the dire extrajudicial killings and never-ending gun violence in the US. But where are these?
It is clearly understood that this is the US 'turn' policy. They are thus putting pressure on the governments of less powerful countries. They published this report at the right time after so long to keep Bangladesh in a corner by keeping Russia in front of the Ukraine war. The current US interest is to push Bangladesh out of the region and force Russia out of the region. As they did not get the expected response from India.
We don't want to say whether it is true or false, but such news is not pleasant after four years of elections. It is considered such efforts only in the US interest. If they are worried about Bangladesh, why did they express this opinion so late and when the elections are ahead?
The report is really double-standard. To understand the matter better we can draw an example. The US State Department's annual human rights report has deferred to the Israeli government's version of events on the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and did not mention the death of a US citizen who died after being arrested by Israeli forces last year. The report, released on Monday, did not label the journalist's death as an extrajudicial or arbitrary killing, only noting it under its section on freedom of expression.
Last May, Israeli forces shot and killed Abu Akleh during an Israeli raid on the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Her death sparked Palestinian outrage and widespread international condemnation.
An Israeli army investigation into Abu Akleh's killing concluded that she was likely shot by an Israeli soldier but was not deliberately targeted. But several independent investigations found that Abu Akleh and her colleagues were explicitly targeted despite being identified as members of the press.
The report also does not mention the death of 80-year-old Palestinian American Omar Asaad, who died after being placed in Israeli custody. The New York Times reported he suffered a stress-induced heart attack that was most likely caused by being gagged at a cold construction site, citing a coroner's report.
While the killing of Abu Akleh was not placed under its section on extrajudicial killings, the State Department's report took aim at Israel's investigations into its security forces and cases of abuse, unlawful and arbitrary killings, and restrictions against Palestinians.
Still, despite the report, the US has continued to provide diplomatic and military support for Israel, which Palestinian rights advocates say is fuelling violence and rights violations against Palestinians. Yet the annual human rights report demonstrates that the Biden Administration continues a policy of double standards when it comes to failing to call out the human rights abuses of key security partners.
The recent US report on the human rights situation in Bangladesh is biased, misinformed, untrue and based on hearsay. The information in this report is all from various sources. Neither is information from the United States' own sources. The most unfortunate thing is that all these facts have not been verified. In most cases, the US made this report based on the statements of political leaders, some civil society statements, vested rights groups, reports from some NGOs, and two civilian-controlled dailies, some daily newspaper reports. If you read the summary of this report, it will be seen that the way it criticizes the government, the way the talks are said, everything is like the statement of a vested political party.
At the beginning of the report, it is said that Awami League won for the third time in the 2018 elections in Bangladesh. It is said that this election is not free and fair. But no major objection was ever made in the international arena about this election. Thus, the entire report is riddled with inconsistencies, confusion and misinformation. Although this report states that incidents of disappearances decreased in Bangladesh last year. But there is no mention of the authority taking action on the disappearances, the return of many missing persons, and all these disappearances are filled with rights reports. However, the most offensive aspect of the US human rights report is the Rohingya issue. Supporting 1 million Rohingya in Bangladesh. It has been in Bangladesh for a long time. Western countries like the United States are not taking any measures to repatriate them with dignity. However, the United States is turning a blind eye to the lack of facilities and deprivation of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh. Can the United States take the burden of 100,000,000 refugees?
The report has been prepared on a friendly country. Bangladeshi state minister Shariar Alam said that We ask for bilateral meetings to give us an opportunity to defend ourselves before such reports are published. Such promises are made at various times and as always, the promises are not kept. I think this is a major weakness.
One of the weaknesses is that the data is collected from open sources. It reveals a contradictory position. Many times, it is said from their side that freedom of media is being curtailed, and freedom of speech is being curtailed. But the report contains many examples of open source and proves that the government does not stifle the creation of news. The report has given reference to some NGOs, INGOs, and organizations representing civil society, one of which is Adhikar. Let me be clear—rights currently have no legal papers or licenses to operate. The application they made to renew their license was rejected. They appealed; the appellate authority announced their decision. And perhaps it is pending in the High Court. To put it bluntly—for any civil society organization or non-governmental aid organization, which has a political history, and a political identity—there is no scope for them to be neutral. If such weaknesses persist, the report loses its acceptability. There is no qualitative difference between the 2021 and 2022 reports.
A prime minister has as much power as he needs. A friendly country has no moral right to question or question its degree of application or otherwise. To say this would mean much more, which would become uncomfortable. In a presidential government, many things can be done at his command. It is part of the constitution and is how their government is run. So, can we say that the president is the only powerful person in that country? But that is not the case.
It is a great wonder how one of the best countries in a modern and developed world can publish such a report full of blatant lies and incomplete information about the internal affairs of another country.