Update April 5, 2018

Dhaka 8-28 am, 04-August, 2020

UN expert body lauds Bangladesh’s socioeconomic progress

Mirajul Moin Joy

5 April 2018, Nirapad News: A United Nation’s (UN) body of independent experts has lauded that Bangladesh made a marked progress in many areas, including in socioeconomic and cultural, in recent years.

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(CESCR), a body of 18 independent experts, acknowledged the progress of Bangladesh in its concluding observations about the initial country report on Bangladesh’s achievement in implementing the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam submitted the report at the two-day meeting of the Committee held in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 15-16. The state minister also responded to the various quarries of the Committee on the report.

The Committee at its 28th meeting held in Geneva on March 29 adopted the concluding observations, which also included a set of recommendations for Bangladesh for expediting its process of social, economic and cultural advancement.

In the concluding remarks, the Committee welcomed the report and appreciated ‘the candid and constructive dialogue held with the State party’s (Bangladesh) high-level multi-ministerial delegation’.

In the socioeconomic front, the Committee noted Bangladesh’s significant achievement ‘in advancing gender equality in the sphere of public life’.

It also praised the 17th amendment to the constitution to increase women’s representation in political decision-making and the reservation of one-third seats for women candidate in elections to local government bodies.

The Committee in its observation took the note of Bangladesh’s phenomenal progress in reducing poverty and increasing per capita income. “Between 2006 and 2016, the poverty rate was reduced from 38.4 percent to 24.3 percent, per capital income has increased substantially, and life expectancy has increased to 71.6 years.”

It appreciated that Bangladesh is close to achieving cent percent enrolment and gender parity in primary education and noted the country’s forthcoming graduation from the category of the Least Developed Country (LDC) to the status of a middle-income country.

The Committee welcomed the establishment of the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund and the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund and the adoption of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009.

It, however, recommended that the country should ensure meaningful participation of affected communities and civil society in its strategies and action plans on climate change and disaster response and risk reduction.

Providing shelter to Rohingyas also got high admiration by the UN right body while it recognised that Bangladesh had been facing immense challenges by hosting over one million Rohingyas, forced to flee systematic and violent persecution in Myanmar.

For ensuring the human rights at all levels, the Committee recommended further strengthening the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by allocating an adequate level of funding in a separate budget line and amending the Recruitment Rules to enable the Commission to recruit its own staff.

To alleviate income disparity, it suggested that the government should optimise its tax system to increase available resources and enhance its effect on income redistribution combating tax evasion, expanding the tax base, improving tax collection and ensuring that the revised VAT system is not applied to basic foodstuffs and social services.

It also recommended increasing funding to social services, particularly in social security, housing, health and education.

The Committee advised that the anti-corruption legislation should be enforced strictly so all those involved in corruption, particularly high- level officials and politicians, are prosecuted without exception.

It also suggested raising awareness among the government officials about the economic and social costs of corruption, the unacceptability of bribery, and the available anti-corruption measures and reporting mechanisms.

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