U.S. Embassy Statement on the Judgement against Odhikar Officials

The United States strongly supports the role that human rights defenders and civil society organizations play in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Our 2022 Country Report on Human Rights in Bangladesh highlights “significant limitations on freedom of expression both online and offline” and notes that human rights groups “operated with significant government restrictions.”  In this context, the United States Embassy in Dhaka expresses our concern that today’s judgement against Odhikar’s Secretary Adilur Rahman Khan and Director A S M Nasiruddin Elan may further undermine the ability of human rights defenders and civil society to play their vital democratic role.  For decades, Odhikar has monitored and reported the human rights situation in Bangladesh, regardless of who was in power. We continue to support freedom of expression and a vibrant civil society as essential elements of democracy and oppose attempts to limit the exercise of those fundamental and basic rights.