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US Congress members’ latest letter on Bangladesh lacks rationality

US Congress members’ latest letter on Bangladesh lacks rationality


Fourteen congress members of the United States have written a letter to the US ambassador to the United Nations, calling for a free and fair election in Bangladesh under the supervision of the United Nations.

They also urged the UN to act immediately to suspend Bangladesh’s membership in the human rights council until an investigation is done into the government’s alleged crimes against journalists and political opponents. The letter also urged the ambassador to ask the UN to prevent any member of Rab from being deployed in peacekeeping missions until their human rights records are investigated. They said that the prevention should be temporary until a full and transparent investigation is done.

Virginia’s Republican congressman Bob Good posted a tweet regarding the letter on Thursday (July 27). Other 13 congress members who signed the letter are — Scott Perry, Anna Paulina-Luna, Josh Brecheen, Ralph Norman, Andrew Clyde, Eli Crane, Cory Mills, Paul A Gosar, Doug LaMalfa, Ronny L Jackson, Randy Weber, Brian Babin and Glenn Grothman. All the signatories are Congress members of Republican Party.

Recent events suggest that in light of the 12th general election, a few US politicians are now increasingly active on Bangladesh’s internal politics. They have been continuously writing letters about Bangladesh to the US Congress, occasionally the US President, and occasionally the UN. In this sequence, 14 congressmen wrote a letter to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, expressing their apprehension regarding the violence perpetrated by the Bangladeshi government against peaceful demonstrators.

On May 25, six members of Congress also wrote to US President Joe Biden. Bob Goode also led there. In that letter, a request was made to take action against Bangladesh by making accusations of reducing the number of minorities in Bangladesh and violating human rights. However, 192 American Bangladeshis who dwell in the country wrote to President Biden, pleading with him to retract the information concerning the decline in the number of minorities in Bangladesh, as it was wholly untrue, overstated, and biased. They said that those politicians misrepresented history and provided false information without numbers under the influence of lobbyists.

In addition, a number of well-known representatives of minority communities, such as Advocate Rana Dasgupta and Archbishop Emeritus Patrick D’Rozario, as well as academics and anti-war crimes activists, criticized the letter from six US congressmen for being an “absolutely false projection” of the situation facing minorities in Bangladesh. It was referred to as a “threat to the existing communal harmony in Bangladesh.” The assertions stated in the letter about the Hindu community in Bangladesh were refuted by Rana Dasgupta. Rejecting allegations that the Christian community in Bangladesh is being ‘persecuted’ under the current government, Cardinal Archbishop Patrick de Rosario said that the government of Bangladesh has always stood by the Christian community to protect them from extremists.

The latest letter, however, has come under fire for its “biased” content. It is perceived as a further attempt by outsiders to cast doubt on the democratic process, the human rights situation, and the impending elections in Bangladesh. Eminent rights activists and critics have highlighted that the demands put forth in the statement lack rationality, much like a previous one that was exposed earlier.

One of the major points of contention is the first demand, which calls for the suspension of Bangladesh from the UN Human Rights Council. Critics argue that this demand completely disregards the overwhelming support Bangladesh received during the last election held in October 2022. Bangladesh managed to secure 160 out of 189 votes, earning its membership in the UNHRC for the term 2023–2025. This significant majority of votes clearly reflects the international community’s endorsement of Bangladesh’s position in the Council.

In the letter, Congressman Good and his colleagues demanded that Bangladesh’s free elections be conducted by the UN. It has also been suggested to deploy UN peacekeepers in Bangladesh. Surprisingly, no significant political party appears to have requested assistance from the UN to conduct the impending National Assembly elections in a free, fair, and impartial way. Therefore, requesting that the UN take part in arranging and overseeing elections with other “impartial” governments from around the world is both out of diplomatic norms and a dictatorial approach. Because this is not common in other nations.

The letter also called for the “UN Department of Peace Operations to temporarily prevent any member of RAB from participating in UN peacekeeping operations until comprehensive and transparent investigations into their human rights abuses have been completed,” in reference to the US sanctions on RAB. It is alleged that RAB is still torturing, killing, and disappearing.

This claim is made in denial of several US official reports and acknowledgements. Extrajudicial executions have significantly decreased in Bangladesh compared to prior years, according to the annual report on human rights published by the U.S. State Department in 2022. Bangladesh has seen a sharp decline in the number of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, according to Human Rights Watch’s annual report. Donald Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, also mentioned that Bangladesh’s RAB has made “tremendous progress” in lowering extrajudicial murders.

The letter also discredits the assistance provided by law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other professionals who take part in international peacekeeping missions. Bangladeshi peacekeepers, who have a total of 7,436 peacekeepers deployed on UN missions or assignments in 14 countries, are currently the top troop contributors in the world thanks to their operational prowess and broad public support. 188,558 Bangladeshi soldiers have so far successfully completed 63 UN missions or assignments in about 40 countries, with 169 of them giving their lives in the line of duty. These congressmen ought to recognize the crucial role Bangladeshi peacekeepers play in preserving global efforts for peace, stability, and reconciliation.

Influential Westerners frequently speak in front of the media and publish numerous pieces on the internal affairs of other nations as a result of lobbying. But most of them are being used as political pawns by a powerful lobbying organization in the US. Similarly, Good appears to be taking sides in the political squabble in Bangladesh. So, it’s logical to think that the most recent letter is purposeful interference in Bangladesh’s internal affairs.

Bangladesh is collaborating with the US to achieve its declared goals of battling terrorism and fostering world peace.  However, some of their public representatives, and government officials are occasionally moved by the unethical services offered by anti-national individuals and institutions in Bangladesh and are purposefully assisting the conspirators against Bangladesh by believing some dubious information—which is extremely regrettable. We therefore urge everyone who has signed this letter or statement to collect and read all available information on Bangladesh.

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