On December 4th 2017, former Ambassador and Bangladeshi national Maroof Zamaan disappeared on his way to Dhaka airport. While Mr Zaman has not been politically active, he was recalled from his post when the current government in Bangladesh came to power.
His disappearance comes amid a worrying increase in the number of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh, currently totalling around 473, although many disappearances are not reported due to fear for reprisals. In addition, while the Bangladeshi government in the beginning of 2018 committed to repeal the information and technology act which has in the past been used to crackdown on dissidents and rights defenders, it has recently enacted a digital security act which actually expands and reinforces the powers of the police to crackdown on free speech, including on social media.
1. Is the HR/VP aware of the case of Mr Zamaan and if so, will she discuss his case, including the need for his immediate release with the Bangladeshi authorities at the earliest possible convenience?
2. How does the HR/VP assess the current backsliding of Bangladesh in relation to democracy, human rights and the rule of law in terms of Bangladesh’ commitments under the Anything but Arms scheme?