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Bangladesh: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 42823, tabled on 14 July 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the government of Bangladesh to put perpetrators of violence against religious minorities on trial as soon as possible.

Answered on

22 July 2016

The British Government is extremely concerned by the increase in extremist-related violence against a number of minority groups including Hindus in Bangladesh since September 2015. The former Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) most recently talked to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh about countering extremism in the margins of the G7 meeting in Japan on 27 May. The former Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire) raised this with Foreign Minister Ali on 5 July. The British High Commissioner regularly discusses these issues with Bangladesh government ministers.

We welcome Prime Minister Hasina’s “zero tolerance” approach towards terrorism, but this must be implemented in a way that fully respects the international rights standards that Bangladesh has signed up to and which, as a member of both the Commonwealth and the UN Human Rights Council, it has pledged to uphold.