These notes were taken by SRI (sexual rights initiatives) during the last session of HRC
Bangladesh has stated that it will announce its response to all recommendations it has received at the Human Rights Council’s 11th session (June 2-19, 2009)
- There were two recommendations on Article 377. Chile recommended “considering abolishing article 377 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes sexuality against the ‘order of nature’ and the Czech Republic recommended to “decriminalize same-sex activity between consenting adults and adopt further measures to promote tolerance in this regard”.
- The Czech Republic also recommended to “provide human rights training to law enforcement and judicial officers, with a specific focus on the protection on the rights of women, children and persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity”.
- Unfortunately, no references were made to HIV/AIDS by the Working Group, even though Dr. Dipu Moni, Minister for Foreign Affairs who lead the Bangladeshi mentioned the work of the inter-faith council “where religious leaders from all communities work collectively for development issues like prevention of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health”.
- France recommended to “withdraw all reservations to the CEDAW”, and Norway made special reference to reservations to Articles 2 and 16.1 (on equality)
- On violence against women, Malaysia recommended to “redouble efforts and allocate more resources in this area, in particular through increasing women’s empowerment, public awareness, education and training, as well as increase vigilance and monitoring by the relevant authorities”. Liechtenstein recommended that Bangladesh adopts “a comprehensive strategy to combat all forms of violence against women and girls”, and made special reference to dowry-related and fatwa-instigated violence.
- The Netherlands, Germany and the Republic of Korea recommended to “ensure that women’s rights are protected, through effective implementation of existing laws and the development of a comprehensive national action plan to combat violence against women”.
- Norway, the Netherlands and Germany recommending “the adoption of a family code complying with CEDAW’s provisions”.
- In terms of the National Human Rights Institution, there were recommendations to “give it powers to effectively protect human rights in accordance with the Paris principles” (United Kingdom) and to “take up steps to further strengthen it to ensure that it will be able to operate independently and effectively” (Netherlands, Australia).
- On extrajudicial killings and torture by security forces, the Netherlands recommended to “address this problem”, while Australia, Czech Republic and Germany recommended to “take steps to address the culture of impunity/adopt further measures to fight impunity/and hold all officers and persons acting on their behalf accountable for acts of torture and harassment of civilians/ human rights violations”.
- Egypt recommended to “build with international support the national capacities to fulfill the reporting obligations to treaty bodies”
- The UK recommended to “ensure the full involvement of civil society in the follow-up to this review”.
Suggestions for future work
The period that extends from now to June is key for advocacy. Some suggestions for work during this time are the following:
- Join other organizations in widely publicizing the outcome of the review, including via the media but also with social movements.
- Call the NHRC, ask for a meeting to discuss how to work together to ensure that Bangladesh accepts the recommendations formulated to it and involves civil society (and the NRHC) in the follow-up to the review.
- Call the Foreign Affairs Ministry and ask for a meeting to advocate for acceptance of the recommendations by the Bangladeshi government and full inclusions of civil society in the follow-up to the review.