“Every society and country needs to find its own equilibrium through enacting and implementing legislations pursuant to its international human rights obligations”, observed Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs at a meeting yesterday at the European Parliament.
On the second day of his visit to Brussels, State Minister Alam had a meeting with Maria Arena, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and Chair of the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee.
Shahriar Alam explained to the MEP the objective and purpose of the Digital Security Act in Bangladesh in the backdrop of security threats experienced by many other countries in a comparable situation. He stressed that the law was aimed at preventing and prosecuting criminal acts in cyber sphere that could have destabilizing consequences for the society in general. He emphasized that there was no scope for undue harassment or restriction against media personnel under the law.
The State Minister exchanged views with MEP Arena about the human rights situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar. He thanked the MEP for issuing a statement in the wake of the recent provisional order issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the lawsuit filed by The Gambia against Myanmar. He urged the European Parliament to remain seized with the issue through its various monitoring mechanisms and tools towards facilitating the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingya to Myanmar.
The State Minister briefed the MEP about the key developments in the RMG industry in Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza tragedy. In view of the MEP’s particular interest in the business and human rights agenda, Alam requested the European policy-makers to engage with buyers and consumers to ensure fair prices for apparel sourced from Bangladesh for incentivizing the ongoing reform initiatives in the industry.
The State Minister gave a brief account of the measures taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to strengthen democracy and human rights in the country. MEP Arena stressed the importance of following up on the European Union’s recommendations for further electoral reforms.
Earlier in the day, State Minister Alam had a bilateral meeting with Mr. Maximilian Krah, MEP from the Identity and Democracy Group and Rapporteur for South Asia in the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA).
They had detailed discussions on the issues raised at the multi-stakeholder event held on 05 February 2020 to take stock of the progress made in Bangladesh’s RMG industry and discuss the future potentials for EU-Bangladesh apparel trade.
MEP Krah assured of his support to sustain the momentum of positive narratives emanating from Bangladesh in reversal of the previously projected image of the country in the international context.
State Minister Alam also met some apparel industry actors in Brussels.
He exchanged views with representatives from the Bangladesh community in Brussels, and took note of their various suggestions concerning consular and other services. He invited members of Bangladesh community across political divide to join forces to observe the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation abroad in a befitting manner.