A European Parliament delegation on Wednesday urged the Bangladesh authorities to create necessary conditions for inclusive, free and fair general elections.
It observed that political situation in Bangladesh ‘is challenging at this moment’, and hoped that the political situation would become less confrontational and less hostile in the coming months leading to the elections.
The delegation said this in separate meetings with Bangladesh officials and at a press conference in Dhaka.
‘It is a challenging situation at this moment here,’ Jean Lambert, chairperson of the delegations for relations with the countries of South Asia, said replying to a question at a press conference.
The next general elections should be inclusive, free and fair so that Bangladesh people got a better choice, she said.
She hoped the Election Commission would be able to play its role independently in conducting the polls and said the European Union was likely to send an election observation mission during the polls.
Lambert stressed the need for ensuring freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and bringing an end to enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and violence against women in Bangladesh.
Mentioning the approval of the digital security act and ICT act in Bangladesh, she said freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was important in a democracy.
Lambert mentioned constraints in finding the civil society organisations here and said civil society had a role in criticising the government.
The delegation visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and gathered first-hand information on the ongoing crisis involving Rohingya influx from Myanmar.
Describing Rohingya influx as a humanitarian tragedy and one of the most serious refugee crises in the world, she expected that international community and the European Union would continue their engagement in providing support to address the crisis.
The EP would discuss the matter in a session later this month and foreign ministers of the EU member countries were expected to assess the situation in March for sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis through addressing root causes, she said.
Lambert hoped that the Bangladesh government would find out additional land to relocate Rohingyas who were at risk of becoming victims of landslide and flood in the coming monsoon in their present makeshift shelters.
European ambassador Rensje Teerink was also present at the press conference.
The EP delegation also held meetings with state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam, the Election Commission and representatives of other ministries, EU officials said.
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