UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk on Friday called on Bangladesh to immediately suspend its application of the Digital Security Act.
“I am concerned that the Digital Security Act is being used across Bangladesh to arrest, harass and intimidate journalists and human rights defenders, and to muzzle critical voices online,” Türk said.
“I call again on the authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on its use and to reform comprehensively its provisions to bring them in line with the requirements of international human rights law. My Office has already provided detailed technical comments to assist with such a revision.”
Giving statistics, Türk said, “My Office has consistently raised concerns about the overly broad and ill-defined provisions of the Digital Security Act,” Türk said. “The Government has promised there will be safeguards against the arbitrary or excessive application of the law but that is not enough when arrests continue. The law itself needs a proper overhaul.”
The High Commissioner called for the creation of an independent judicial panel to review all pending cases brought under the Digital Security Act with a view to those accused being released.