Tuesday, January 16, 2018 07:38:43 PM
The European Union (EU) has said the perpetrators, whoever they are, must be identified, brought to justice and receive a fair trial mentioning that the victims of violence in Bangladesh deserve proper justice.
"Victims of violence deserve proper justice…there was a fruitful discussion on the importance of upholding the rule of law and respecting human rights as fundamental instruments for de-escalating political tensions," according to a media release issued by the EU Delegation to Bangladesh on Saturday.
The EU and Bangladesh held the three sub-groups under the framework of the 2001 Cooperation Agreement - governance, human rights and migration, trade and development cooperation on February 26-27 in the city.
The discussions were open and constructive, and allowed an exchange of views on a wide range of issues the EU reiterated the importance of protecting human rights defenders.
The sub-groups took place after a number of major events in relations between the EU and Bangladesh, including, most recently a visit by members of the European Parliament.
At the outset of the Sub-Group on Governance, Human Rights and Migration, the EU had the opportunity to raise a number of concerns about the current political situation.
In particular, the need to protect the fundamental democratic rights of the people of Bangladesh was discussed, in view of the recent incidents of violence.
The Sub-Group also addressed the need to strengthen cooperation on democracy, governance and human rights, in particular, the implementation of the international human rights standards relating to the judiciary and freedom of expression.
The discussions focused also on other issues of mutual interest and concern, including recent developments on the rule of law, good governance, transparency, accountability for extrajudicial killings, freedom of the media, freedom of assembly and civil society, labour rights, the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, the situation of the Rohingyas, women and children's rights, the death penalty and migration issues.
Bangladesh's membership of the UN Human Rights Council should be an opportunity to work more closely with the EU on promoting and protecting human rights, they observed in the discussion.
The EU and Bangladesh agreed to continue their dialogue on these issues.
The Sub-Group meeting on Trade and Economic Cooperation highlighted the growth of bilateral trade flows in the last three years.
This was particularly an indication of an increase in Bangladesh's exports to the EU, as a result of the preferences granted under the Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme.
The meeting also discussed the Sustainability Compact to promote better labour rights and safer working conditions, as well as more responsible supply management in Bangladesh.
The recommendations of the recently launched "EU Business Council Bangladesh" to improve the business climate and spur foreign direct investment and economic growth in Bangladesh were also presented.
During the meeting, the EU- Bangladesh Horizontal Aviation Agreement was initialled. The EU side also presented the opportunity for Bangladesh to participate in the new EU programme on research and innovation "Horizon 2020".
At the Sub-Group on Development Cooperation, the EU confirmed new grants up to €690 million through the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2014-2020 for Bangladesh.
The funds will focus on three sectors that are vital for poverty reduction and inclusive and sustainable growth-Democratic Governance, Food and Nutrition Security and Education and Skills Development.
Cross-cutting issues will also be addressed through engagement in these sectors, including gender equality, human and labour rights, disaster risk reduction, environment and climate change.
The EU side highlighted the need to strengthen the policy dialogue, a critical factor to achieve sector policy development and make the best use of the available resources.
To this effect, the EU emphasized the role of budget support. Besides, the combination of grants and loans, known as "blending", is a major implementation modality to finance key infrastructures.
The EU underlined the need to see tangible progress on public finance management (PFM) in 2015, notably with the adoption/detailing by the government of Bangladesh of a comprehensive reform strategy.
These ambitious goals can only be achieved by mobilising partners from, and building alliances with, a wide spectrum of development institutions, from the government to the private sector, civil society organisations and the people themselves.
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