Justicemakers Bangladesh, Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), Lawyers for Lawyers Bangladesh and Boichitro Dot Bangla would like to express grave concern at the refusal by the Bangladesh government during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), of the recommendations to grant constitutional recognition of the country’s gays and lesbians, repeal section 377 of the country’s penal code, take steps to prevent violence and discrimination towards all sexual minorities and ensure their constitutional and legal rights.
For taking the position to deny the constitutional and legal rights of the LGBTQIA+ population by the Bangladesh government at the UPR session on May 14, 2018 and for steadfastly refusing on May 18, 2018, the recommendations by several countries, national human rights organizations and civil society members to grant constitutional recognition to sexual minorities, to ensure protection and enhancement of their legal rights and to end all kinds of violence and discrimination towards them, the General Secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights, Justicemakers Bangladesh and Lawyers For Lawyers Bangladesh, and Administrator for Boichitro Dot Bangla, Advocate Shahanur Islam Saikot, has expressed distress and grave concern in a statement.
Advocate Shahanur Islam Saikot maintains that the Bangladesh Government, at the UPR session, has illustrated institutional discrimination towards the LGBTQIA+ population by not recognizing their rights and refusing the recommendations to take steps to end violence and discrimination towards them. These constitute a violation of fundamental rights and the sacred constitution, and this refusal will only act as a catalyst for further violence and discrimination towards them. Advocate Shahanur Islam Saikot strongly urged to take effective steps to swiftly provide constitutional recognition of gays and lesbians, repeal section 377 of the country’s penal code, pass legislation to severely punish rape of gay people, end harassment of all gays in all spheres of life and establish equal opportunity and dignity for all free from discrimination.
It should be specially mentioned that Bangladesh’s overall human rights conditions were reviewed for the third time on May 14, 2018 in Geneva, the capital of Switzerland, at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group. Some final recommendations on Bangladesh’s human rights conditions by the UPR Working Group were accepted by the government on May 18, 2018. Many country representatives, national human rights organizations and civil society members took part in the review session and presented their take on Bangladesh’s human rights conditions, asked the government various questions relating to human rights, and offered their recommendations. Honourable Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Advocate Anisul Haque led a delegation of the Bangladesh Government at the session and highlighted the country’s stance on the various related issues. The Minister let it be known at the session that it is currently not possible to recognize same-sex relations due to Bangladesh’s current societal, cultural and religious restrictions.
Advocate Shahanur Islam Saikot
General Secretary, BIHR & Justicemakers Bangladesh
Administrator, Boichitro Dot Bangla
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