Bangladesh must address human rights issues to avail GSP Plus benefits: MEP

The visiting European Parliamentary delegation on International Trade has suggested that Bangladesh needs to fix the human rights issues to be eligible for the GSP Plus facility once the country graduates out of LDC.

"We have concerns over human rights abuses like the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, shrinking civic space and so on," said the leader of the delegation MEP Heidi Hautala at the DCAB Talk at the National Press Club on Tuesday .

The event was organised by the Diplomatic Correspondent Association of Bangladesh.

She said Bangladesh has a Labour Road Map and now it is high time that the authorities implement it.

She also spoke about the trade union rights that need to be ensured in the Export Processing Zones.

The good thing is that Bangladesh has promised to ensure trade union rights in the EPZs, she said.

Heidi Hautala also said that Bangladesh must end the child labour by 2025 as it prepares to get the GSP Plus facility.

She also spoke of amending the Digital Security Act that has chilling impacts on media and the rights to freedom of speech.

The EU is the largest export destination of Bangladesh. The export increased from Euro 9 billion to Euro 19 billion in 2019.

It has been providing Bangladesh duty-free access to the European market. As Bangladesh graduates out of LDC, the facility will go away. However, the country can be eligible under the new privilege that's called GSP Plus but that will require stringent conditions like improving human rights and labour rights.

The EU delegation is visiting Bangladesh to assess the country's situation.

The trade committee led by Heidi Hautala includes José Manuel García-Margallo, Sven Simon, Agnes Jongerius, Jordi Cañas and Maximilian Krah, according to a statement of the European Parliament.