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A Counter-Attack

Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, believes that a crisis has been created across the globe to punish Russia, and the international community is facing the heat. She recently condemned the way the US and the European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions on the Kremlin for invading Ukraine. According to PM Hasina, this is a gross violation of Human Rights by the West. She claimed that Bangladesh was also in trouble because of this move.

PM Hasina issued this statement after the US and the EU expressed serious concern over the Human Rights situation in Bangladesh. Earlier, the Joe Biden Administration banned the entry of a group of senior Bangladeshi officials in the US, stating that the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) of the Bangladesh Police and Special Security Forces had gunned down several innocent people in various encounters. The EU, too, claimed that several Opposition leaders in Bangladesh were either in jails, while others went missing.

Sheikh Hasina

At a time when the Sheikh Hasina Government is showcasing its development projects by inaugurating the Padma Bridge ahead of 2023 Parliamentary Elections, the constant criticism by the West over Human Rights issues has tarnished the image of the South Asian nation.

After considering the scenario, PM Hasina decided to counter-attack the West over the same issue, saying that the economic sanctions imposed on Russia were also violations of Human Rights. She stressed that the US sanctions on Russia certainly had a negative impact on the Developing World. “I don’t really know what rationale there is for making people suffer like this. In a way, this is another violation of Human Rights. Depriving people of what they are owed. I hope the US sees the necessity of stepping aside from that decision. We hope they prefer to punish a single country instead of the people of the world and see that everyone wants it withdrawn,” stressed Hasina.

According to PM Hasina, food and fuel prices have skyrocketed around the world as a result of the Western sanctions on Russia. She insisted: “The US sanctions on Russia are preventing us from importing necessary goods and materials. It also caused a surge in transportation costs and shrank the import market. This is a big challenge for us and we must face it.” Hasina added: “I believe that no country can be controlled by imposing sanctions on it. Those who want to engage in a war, they can go on, but global goods transportation and import and export business shouldn’t be hampered. The common people should not suffer.

Meanwhile, Hasina urged the US and the EU to consider the fact that their people, too, were suffering due to the sanctions imposed on Russia.

Courtesy: Economist

It may be noted that Bangladesh, along with India, had abstained from voting on a resolution brought by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) demanding an immediate end to the Russian military aggression in neighbouring Ukraine. Later, Bangladesh voted in favour of another resolution to provide humanitarian aid and to start reconstruction works in the war-torn former Soviet Republic. Clarifying the stand of her Government taken at the UN, PM Hasina stated to the Parliament: “When we saw the first resolution, it neither talked about Human Rights, nor about stopping the war. It was a resolution to denounce Russia. We, then, decided not to vote as wars do not break out on their own – there must be some instigation or incitement. Why would we simply denounce a country? That was why we refrained from voting.

PM Hasina also recalled the erstwhile Soviet Union’s contributions to the War of Liberation of Bangladesh on the occasion.

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