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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 12 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Government of Bangladesh concerning human rights; and what responses have been received. (90153)

We have concerns about human rights in Bangladesh. In particular on the actions of the police in public order situations, the accountability of the Rapid Action Battalion relating to "cross-fire" incidents and growing levels of intolerance towards religious minorities and indigenous groups.

The Government of Bangladesh has assured us of its commitment to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all its citizens. We welcome this and together with EU and international partners, continue to monitor human rights issues closely and to encourage the Government of Bangladesh to meet its constitutional and international obligations in this area. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Bangladesh should uphold high standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements are being made for UK observers to be present in Bangladesh during the election period in January 2007. (90154)

Our current focus is on EU election monitoring. Our high commission in Dhaka was in close contact with an EU election observation team that visited Bangladesh recently. Should the EU proceed with an election observation mission for the elections due to take place in January 2007, the UK will look to nominate observers.