Freemuse, Drik and PEN International submit UPR mid-term report on Bangladesh

18 January 2021
Artists protest against Digital Security Act 7980. Artists (left to right), Sohan Mahmud, Humaira Fehrooz and Khuddho Ganguly perform at the event. / Courtesy of Shahidul Alam, Drik, Majority World


In preparation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Bangladesh in 2023, Freemuse, Drik, and PEN International have submitted a mid-term report.  

This report evaluates the implementation of recommendations made during the 2018 UPR process and assesses the Bangladeshi authorities’ compliance with international human rights obligations with respect to freedoms of expression, information and peaceful assembly, in particular concerns related to:  

  • Digital Security Act and Information and Communication Technology Act 
  • Limitations on freedom of religion and belief  
  • Restrictions to the right to peaceful assembly and political engagement 
  • Attacks on artistic freedom and academic freedom  

During the third cycle UPR in 2018, Bangladesh accepted 178 recommendations and noted 73 out of a total 251 recommendations received. This included some aimed at guaranteeing the rights to freedom of expression, information and peaceful assembly. However, a crackdown on freedom of expression has been intensified since the review and civil society, including artists and journalists, has faced adversity from authorities. Our report concludes that Bangladesh has not adequately implemented the recommendations with respect to freedom of expression, particularly artistic and academic freedoms. 

In the report, we set out to what recommendations to the Government of Bangladesh and call on them to uphold their commitments to the 2018 UPR cycle and to defending freedom of expression. 

Read our recommendations and full report here.

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