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Human rights defenders in Bangladesh and Okinawa, Japan (HRC36, 2017, OS)

Date : 2017.09.19

IMADR statement on “Human rights defenders in Bangladesh and Okinawa, Japan” at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council. Whole text can be read below or downloaded here

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IMADR Oral Statement: 36th session of the Human Rights Council

Item 4: General Debate

19 September 2017

Speaker: Taisuke KOMATSU

Thank you Mr. President,

We would like to draw the Council’s attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh. Odhikar, our member organisation in Bangladesh and human rights defenders working with these groups have been subject to intimidation and harassment by the Government due to their reporting and campaigning against extrajudicial killings, election fraud and other systematic human rights violations taking place in Bangladesh.[1]

Furthermore, we are alarmed by the report that the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has tightened its border control in order to restrict the entry of Rohingyas fleeing from Myanmar.[2] We reiterate the High Commissioner’s call to the Government of Bangladesh to allow Rohingya refugees to cross the border. We also join him in urging the international community to extend support to Rohingya refugees.

We regret that the Government of Japan has not taken any measures to implement the recommendations from the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression since the presentation of his country visit report in the session last June. On the contrary, the restriction on peaceful protests against the construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko, Okinawa, has become even more severe. The riot police removed peaceful protestors who were not blocking the U.S. military gate. We are especially concerned by the reports of multiple arrests of protestors based on the Road Traffic Law, which was not previously applied to protesters. Against this backdrop, we again urge the Government of Japan to consult with civil society to implement the UN expert’s recommendations.

Thank you Mr. President.

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[1] Odhikar (1 September 2017), “Human Rights Monitoring Report (August 1 – 31, 2017), paragraph 67 – 69,  http://imadr.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Odhikar_Bangladesh_Human-rights-monitoring-monthly-report-August-2017_Eng.pdf

[2] Ibid, paragraph 64

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