Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief said the concern raised by the civil society organisations about the shrinking space for public engagement should anyhow be taken very seriously. Photo: UN/Paulo Filgueiras
Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief said the concern raised by the civil society organisations about the shrinking space for public engagement should anyhow be taken very seriously. Photo: UN/Paulo Filgueiras

A United Nations (UN) rights expert today said the concern raised by the civil society organisations about the shrinking space for public engagement should anyhow be taken very seriously.

The concerns indicate the urgent need to take action to improve the conditions for communicative public engagement rather than creating more legal and political insecurity for civil society activities.

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt said this in his 20-page preliminary report on the basis of his 10-day interactions with diverse groups in Bangladesh.

“A culture of frank public discourse is also in the interest of freedom of religion or belief for everyone, since religious open-mindedness requires open space best to be provided under the auspices of inclusive secularism, as entrenched in the Constitution of Bangladesh,” the preliminary report reads.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report containing his conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in 2016.

However, Bielefeldt’s preliminary findings should not be confused with the final report which will be presented to the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in March, 2016, he added.

http://www.thedailystar.net/ Updated On:  September 09, 2015