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US didn’t impose new sanctions as human rights situation improves: Law Minister

Law Minister Anisul Huq said on Wednesday that the US did not impose any new sanctions against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) as the human rights situation has improved, reports UNB.

“Human Rights Watch does not write anything good about anyone. But they have written in their report that the human rights condition has improved in Bangladesh. Donald Lu has said that they would have imposed more sanctions against RAB, but did not do so as Bangladesh’s human rights situation has improved,” he told reporters at the secretariat after meeting with Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md. Hashim.

“We (the US) have seen RAB has done much good. We also understand the necessity of RAB. Since human rights situation has significantly improved, we have not imposed new sanctions. He (Lu) has told me so very clearly,” the law minister said, quoting the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu. Lu visited Bangladesh recently.

In response to a question, the law minister said that he did not ask Lu for lifting the existing sanctions against RAB because it must be done in accordance with legal procedures.

“We are following those procedures,” he added. “We will take action against RAB members if they commit crimes,” Huq said of the elite force’s reforms. “The reform process is ongoing; it takes time,” he added.

Huq also said that during his meeting with Lu, he demanded that Rashed Chowdhury, the fugitive convicted killer of Bangabandhu, be deported to Bangladesh.

“He asked me to contact their judiciary branch. I will knock every door to bring him back,” the minister said.

Lu arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening to discuss ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship, expanding economic engagement and to hear on labour and human rights.

During his brief stay in Dhaka, Lu met with senior Bangladeshi ministers and officials including the law minister and civil society leaders to discuss issues of mutual interest.