The United States government has published a report titled “2022 Country Reports on Human
Rights Practices” about the local human rights situation in 198 countries and regions of the
world, including Bangladesh. The report highlights various issues, including elections,
democracy, human rights, the judicial system, press freedom, extrajudicial killings,
disappearances, torture, prison conditions, the judiciary, threats to civil society and government
critics, harassment, and freedom of expression. There are some fundamental questions about
the release of this US human rights report.
One. What international law allows the United States to publish such reports? Has the United
States the right to interfere in the internal affairs of another state?
There are specific international laws and international court rulings against intervening in other
states. According to the United Nations Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and
Interference in the Domestic Affairs of States (1965) and the Declaration on Principles of
International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance
with the Charter of the United Nations (1970), state interference is prohibited. Customary
international law also prohibits interference. In the 1986 case of Nicaragua against the United
States, the International Court of Justice said that the United States had violated international
law by providing support and cooperation to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The court implicitly
recognized that the non-intervention principle could extend to indirect interference through other
means, such as economic and political pressure.
No matter how vague the criteria for intervention may be, the US human rights report violates
international law and World Court rulings.
Two. According to the report and the observers, the 11th National Parliament election held in
Bangladesh in 2018 was not free and fair. The United States did not send any observers to the
election. So which observers are talking about the United States?
The international community has recognized this government. It has been dealing with this
government for the last four and a half years. Then why suddenly question the fairness of the
last election before the next election at the end of the government?
There is even controversy over America’s own elections, which still make headlines today. I
refer to some recent headlines from the Guardian, Newsweek, New York Times, and Forbes:
More than 40% of Americans do not believe Biden legitimately won the election poll (The
Guardian, January 5, 2022). 40% of Americans think the 2020 election was stolen, just days
before midterms (Newsweek, 11/22), and most Republicans say they doubt the election. How
Many Really Mean It? (The New York Times, Nov. 30, 2020); “More Than Half of Republicans
Believe Voter Fraud Claims And Most Still Support Trump, Poll Finds” (Forbes, April 5, 2021).
Does the United States have the moral right to report on the election of another country without
ending the debate in its own country?
Three. This annual report on the human rights situation has been prepared in the light of UN
human rights treaties. But the United States itself has not ratified the International Human
Rights Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights or the International Human Rights
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Only 6 countries
in the world have not ratified these two treaties. The United States is one of them. The United
States has not signed the International Human Rights Convention on the Protection of Migrant
Four. It is a principle of natural justice that a state should be given an opportunity to defend itself
before publishing its report on human rights. In the American regional human rights protection
system, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights publishes reports on the human
rights situation of states in the region. But before publication of such a report, the concerned
state must be provided with the report and given an opportunity to make its statement. Is it
unknown to the United States?
Five. There are also serious flaws in the data collection for the report. Information can be
gathered from public hearsay, anti-government NGOs, and corrupt civil servants. The report is
also embellished with the statement of the NGO, which is unregistered, and with planned false
information about the people killed in Shapla Chattar.
Six. The United States talks about the establishment of democracy in each country and holds
democracy conferences. Although the Awami League won a landslide victory in the 1970
elections, the United States did not stand for the elected Awami League and sided with the
Pakistani military junta. During the liberation war, the Pakistani junta supported the Bengali
genocide by providing weapons and money.
It is not just that this has happened in the case of Bangladesh. Democratically elected leaders
such as Iran’s Mohammad Mossadek, Guatemala’s Jacob Arbenz, the Congo’s Patrice
Lulumba, Indonesia’s Sukarno, Greece’s George Papandreus, Cambodia’s Prince Sihaounek,
Bolivia’s Juan Torres, Chile’s Salvador Allende, and many others, including Haiti’s Jean-Batiste
Aristide, have been overthrown by military juntas or American puppet governments. In some
cases the US has not stopped at overthrowing elected leaders, they have also been
assassinated. The involvement of the United States in the assassination of Bangabandhu is
also widely discussed.
Seven. The report talks about good governance, the rule of law, civil society, and political
tolerance. While the United States secretly and openly illegally intervenes in other countries,
invades, threatens to invade, overthrows governments, and installs pet governments, it kills
patriotic politicians, creates terrorist groups, gives them money and arms, carries out
assassinations, and supports usurpations. The United States occupied and annexed once
independent Texas. By winning the war, the United States took possession of half of Mexico,
as well as several states such as present-day California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and
We live in an imperialist world. The imperialists are controlling the world by talking about a free
world, human rights, individual freedom, democracy, and freedom of religion. But it is these
imperialists who are committing aggression, genocide, oppression, dictatorship, illegal
interference, and conspiracy in every country.
The famous Washington-based magazine Smithsonian published a country-by-country map of
the US war under the name “War on Terror.” It said that in 2017-18, the US Army fought in 80
countries (which is 40 percent of the world’s total). In addition to displaying military power, the
United States is using the global economy, monetary system, and trade policy as weapons to
undermine poor nations.
The US is controlling the world by forming alliances. Through the United Nations and its
organizations, the United States is influencing the domestic and foreign policies of various
countries. The US is desperate to contain its Western rivals, Russia and China. They are
participating in the Russia-Ukraine proxy war and have imposed various sanctions against
Russia. America has formed alliances like QUAD, AUKUS, and IPEF to stop China.
Many of the conventional strategies used by the United States have lost their effectiveness in
the changing global context. So the new weapon for decades has been the annual human rights
The question is: why use this weapon against Bangladesh? PM Sheikh Hasina is not willing to
completely bow down to US will. He is not willing to change the foreign policy of ‘friendship with
all, enmity with none’ and break relations with other countries. The United States wants to
install a government of its own choice in Bangladesh.
In addition to human rights reports, the fear of negative news publication due to western
dominance over international media cannot be ruled out. There is nothing imperialists cannot
do in their own interests.
Erina Haque is a Bangladesh affairs, Sino-Indo-Pak affairs, Myanmar, and Rohingya refugee
affairs, an Afghan refugee affairs researcher, and a freelance writer.