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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Human Rights Report On

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 000997

SIPDIS

FOR I/FW, B/G, IIP/G/NEA-SA, B/VOA/N (BANGLA SERVICE) STATE
FOR SA/PAB, SA/PPD (LSCENSNY, SSTRYKER), SA/RA, INR/R/MR,
AND PASS TO USAID FOR ANE/ASIA/SA/B (WJOHNSON)

CINCPAC FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR, J51 (MAJ TURNER), J45
(MAJ NICHOLLS)

USARPAC FOR APOP-IM (MAJ HEDRICK)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OIIP OPRC KPAO PREL ETRD PTER ASEC BG OCII
SUBJECT: Media Reaction: U.S. Human Rights Report on
Bangladesh, Drug Trafficking; Dhaka
Summary: A columnist in independent Bangla "Prothom Alo"
criticizes the U.S. Human Rights Report as a document of
hypocrisy and deceit.
On the U.S. report on drug trafficking, centrist "News

Today' says that only denial will not serve any good and
urges the government to take measures so that Bangladesh is
not used a transit point for drug trafficking.
-----------------------------------------
1. U.S. Human Rights Report on Bangladesh
-----------------------------------------

"Calling somebody a thief by his master for the crime he
committed for him"
An editorial page article in independent Bangla "Prothom
Alo" by columnist Farhad Mazhar opines (3/7):
The U.S. Human Rights Report has not been prepared
independent of U.S. foreign policy; rather it is a document
to determine the U.S. foreign policy. Its objective is
directly political... In fact, it is a document showing
whom the U.S. will attack, rebuke or criticize. It is not
at all a description of the state of human rights.
That does not mean that the document has no truth. Of
course, there is truth. I fully agree with the factual
aspect of the document, but only a fool will judge the
document on the basis of its facts. The right way judge it
is to read the whole document. If Bangladesh is so serious,
then what about India and Israel and what the U.S. said
about them? Like Bangladesh's police and the RAB, Indian
police are also often committing extrajudicial killings.
They are equally efficient at killing in crossfire.
Although India's situation is a hundred times more serious
than that of Bangladesh, the U.S. State Department said, the
government generally respected the human rights of its
citizens; however, numerous serious problems remained.
This means they are telling us, you are doing bad things,
but we are not going to make trouble with you. This reveals
the hypocritical and deceitful aspect of the U.S. foreign
policy. It should be kept in mind that India is a big and
hegemonic country. There is a qualitative difference
between its equation with India and its policy toward
Bangladesh. Bangladesh does not have the capability to
speak against what the U.S. State Department says about
Bangladesh. India has that capability. Therefore, what can
be said about Bangladesh cannot be said about India or
Israel.
The government's human rights record has worsened and it is
continuously violating human rights. It is not something
new. The new fact is that the U.S. State Department has
especially mentioned extrajudicial killing by the security
forces. It is an important aspect of the U.S. foreign
policy toward Bangladesh.
No human rights activist will accept indiscriminate killing
in crossfire by the RAB. So, the alliance government has
lost the support of those who are active at home and abroad
for the preservation of Bangladesh's interest and security.
The mark of dishonor it has put on itself was for pleasing
the U.S. and the EU nations. The government wanted to show
that it would deal terrorism with a heavy hand so that law
and order improves and an atmosphere conducive for foreign
investment is created. But they forgot that public opinion
on human rights in these countries play an important
political role. While reading the U.S. Human Rights Report,
the alliance government might be saying to itself 'the
master is calling me a thief for the crime I committed for
him.'
-------------------
2. Drug Trafficking
-------------------
"US report on drug trafficking"
Centrist English language newspaper "News Today" editorially
comments (3/7):
As if we don_ft have enough problems that regularly attract
attention of the world community, the United States
Department of State on Saturday released a report strongly
criticizing our government_fs anti-drug trafficking efforts.
The finger, as ill luck would have it, points at
_gcorruption at all levels of the government, particularly
in the law enforcement agencies._h... What shocks us is that
part of the report, which refers to _gunsubstantiated_h
reports about opium and cannabis cultivation in Bandarban
area of the Chittagong Hills Tracts. Overall it paints
Bangladesh as a
Transit point for drug trafficking for the region and puts
the blame, firstly, on the long porous border and then on
Corruption. About the newly formed Anti-corruption
Commission (ACC), the report says: "Serious questions remain
about the Commission's ability and commitment to operate
freely and independently."

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The Department of Narcotics Control has denied that opium
is being cultivated in some areas. This sounds reasonable
but the DNC would do well to ensure that no such
cultivation takes place in future also. There must be a
constant vigil and the government also owes it to the
people to spare them of the repeated stigma of attracting
world attention for wrong reasons. However loud our denials
are, the reality is reports released by the US State
Department or agencies like the Transparency International,
Amnesty International etc. fall on receptive ears around
the globe. The ACC should also take note of it and prepare
for going the extra mile that will be necessary to
establish its credibility.

Thomas

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