Gavin Shuker – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Gavin Shuker on 2016-05-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to engage with international partners to tackle the persecution of secularists or of people with no faith in Bangladesh.

Mr Hugo Swire

As I said to the House on 24 May, there is more we can do to help the Government of Bangladesh to tackle the challenges they face. I raised my concerns about the situation there most recently with the Bangladesh High Commissioner on 24 May.

Our High Commission in Dhaka regularly meets international partners to discuss the treatment of secular activists and minority groups in Bangladesh. Most recently, on 22 May, our High Commissioner met Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister, Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali, with other EU Ambassadors, to discuss signs that intolerance across Bangladesh is increasing

In September 2015, officials from the British High Commission in Dhaka met Heiner Bielefeldt, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, during his visit to Bangladesh. We urge the Government of Bangladesh to implement the recommendations in his report, which includes a call for the government to “protect the vibrant civil society and pluralistic society in Bangladesh”.