EU for nat’l unity, takes serious view of HR violations

Diplomatic Correspondent

The European Union has called for political moderation and national unity among political parties to overcome the current political impasse in Bangladesh.
‘We advocate for national dialogue, we do urge major players to come together to find a common solution, the only recipe [for ending] the stalemate,’ said Ugo Astuto, director, South and
South East Asia of the European External Action Service.
Astuto who left Dhaka on Tuesday morning ending a two-day visit had met political leaders, including BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, government officials and representatives of the civil society and discussed present political situation as well as condition in the apparel sector after the Rana Plaza disaster.
Talking to a small group of reporters at the residence of the EU ambassador, William Hanna, before his departure on Monday evening, Astuto said the EU was seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Bangladesh and he had raised the matter during his discussions with the government officials and civil society.
‘We take a serious view of the violation of human rights and we want a thorough investigation into each violation and bring the perpetrators to justice,’ he said.
Asked about the EU latest position on the January 5 general elections, Astuto referred to the January 9 statement of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton who called on all parties to refrain from violence and to engage in genuine dialogue to agree on a mutually acceptable way forward to strengthen democratic accountability and to hold transparent, inclusive and credible elections, putting the interests of the people of Bangladesh first.
Asked about possible consequences if the two parties failed to reach any consensus, Astuto said democratic means was the only mechanism to meet any crisis in a democracy.
‘We strongly condemn violence, we call on all major parties to come together for national dialogue keeping partisan interest aside,’ he said.
Asked about his impression of the garment sector after the Rana Plaza disaster, Astuto said a lot of progress had been made but much needed to be done in implementing Compact deal ensuring safety standards and rights of
workers.
In reply to a question, he said the EU would continue to work with the government to enhance trade and investment in Bangladesh.
EU head of the delegation ambassador William Hanna was present during the interactions.




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