The European Union (EU) has called on the leaders of all political parties in Bangladesh to agree on a mutually acceptable formula so as to facilitate the holding of elections which fully reflect the wishes of the people and urged political leaders to refrain from any actions that could spark further violence.
“Ending violence and finding a political solution through dialogue are essential to allow a peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible election to take place. This can only happen if all sides can agree to move ahead, in the interests of the country's future,” the EU said.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued the statement from Brussels on November 30 on the preparation for general election in Bangladesh.
It said the EU is ready to consider sending election observers as it did in 2008. “However, this depends on the political and security situation in Bangladesh.”
Following the announcement of the general election in Bangladesh on January 5, 2014, the EU remains concerned that there is still confrontation between the major political groups in the country on the composition of the government during the electoral period, it said.
The EU urged the political leaders to refrain from any actions that could spark further violence. “The EU remains concerned about intimidation and confrontation in the form of 'hartals' (general strikes) and about the arrest of politicians and human rights defenders,” the statement said.
The EU urged Bangladesh to respect human rights and democratic principles, and to ensure full respect for the rights of detainees. “Civil society groups must be able to play their fundamental role in the maintenance of democratic freedoms.”