Claude Moraes MEP calls for respect of Human Rights in Bangladesh

Local and European elections 2009

Claude Moraes MEP signed a statement today calling for respect for human rights in Bangladesh. The text of the statement is as follows:

Bangladdeshi Government must respect human rights and right to protest

We are deeply troubled by that the Bangladeshi opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, is effectively locked down in her office and that a general curfew is being enforced in Dhaka.Authorities are preventing Mrs Zia from addressing her supporters, and there have been widespread reports of arrests and violence against opposition activists.

We call on the Bangladeshi government to respect the fundamental democratic rights of all people, lift the curfew immediately and refrain from laying any obstacles on the legitimate exercise of democratic rights by the people.

The current crisis arises on the first anniversary of the controversial general election held last year which saw more than half of the legislators elected unopposed as all main opposition parties announced in advance to boycott the election.As a member of the European Parliament, I wish Bangladesh well and I am particularly keen to see democracy flourish. It is therefore incumbent upon the Bangladeshi government to take credible steps to enter into dialogue with all opposition parties and to ensure a fair, participatory and credible election in shortest possible time.

We are also reminded that the EU is a major trading partner of Bangladesh and contributes significantly to Bangladesh’s development budget. This only adds to the necessity of Bangladesh to uphold her international obligations and observe the rule of law.

Mass arrests, limiting the movement of opposition leaders and disappearances of activists have become too common in Bangladesh today. They are not in keeping with Bangladesh’s commitment to international conventions and democratic norms.