Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (R) meets Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono during the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi, Vietnam September 12, 2018.

© 2018 REUTERS/Kham
(Tokyo) – Japan’s foreign minister, Taro Kono, should raise critical human rights issues during his visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar from July 29 to July 31, 2019, Human Rights Watch said in a July 26 letter to the foreign minister.

“Foreign Minister Kono should press the Bangladeshi government about arrests under its draconian digital security laws and online censorship that is stifling peaceful criticism and dissent,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director. “While in Myanmar, Foreign Minister Kono should urge the government to ensure that humanitarian agencies, human rights groups, and independent media have access to ethnic Rohingya and other at-risk minorities.”

Kono should press the Bangladeshi government to drop politically motivated charges against critics and the opposition. Bangladesh should also amend the Digital Security Act to ensure the right to freedom of expression, investigate enforced disappearances, and ensure that any repatriation of Rohingya is voluntary.

In Myanmar, Kono should urge Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to end the arbitrary arrest and detention of government critics, reform or repeal the Media Law and other abusive legislation to eliminate restrictions on basic rights, end institutionalized discrimination against the Rohingya, and fully cooperate with international fact-finding mechanisms.

“Japan should use its international standing as a rights-respecting democracy to promote the human rights of everyone in Bangladesh and Myanmar,” Doi said. “Foreign Minister Kono shouldn’t waste this important opportunity.”