We won’t make any recommendation… it’s something to decide by the people of Bangladesh… it’s your decision as The visiting delegation of the European Parliament says in press conference on Friday 12th Feb 2016.
The visiting delegation of the European Parliament favours some ‘agreed mechanisms’ well ahead of the next general election due in 2019 so that ‘many parties’ can participate in it in a free, fair and open manner with ‘maximum choices’, reports UNB.
“It’s very clear there’s a need for some agreed mecha-nisms,” said Jean Lambert (Green Party), Chair of the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia of the European Parliament, in the capital yesterday. Lambert came up with the remarks at a press conference before wrapping up their three-day visit to Bangladesh.
European Union (EU) Ambas-sador in Dhaka Pierre Mayaudon was present. Expressing their desire for ‘free and fair elections in 2019’, Lambert made it clear that neither the EP nor anybody else will be coming and saying ‘this is what you do’.
“We won’t make any recommendation… it’s something to decide by the people of Bang-ladesh…it’s your decision,” she said. Responding to a question about the freedom of press, Lambert said the vibrant press and freedom of press are also part of democracy, and they have ‘some concerns’ in this regard.
“I think it’s fair to say we’ve some concerns about what’s happening to the number of editors of the newspapers,” she said without elaborating. The delegation leader also said neither the election issue nor the editors’ one was raised during her meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “The issue of editors was not there.”
Lambert said they have raised four specific issues during their half-an-hour meeting with the Prime Minister that include murder of bloggers, rise of violent extremism at international level and trade is-sues. “We’ve serious concerns about human rights situation in the country and raised the issue of the murder of bloggers.”
The life of every Bangladeshi citizen, Lambert said, is important. “We requested full and impartial in-vestigations into all the cases.” To strengthen economic cooperation, stabilization, also of the democrat-ic structures in Bangladesh will be crucial, the written press statement on the visit made by the delega-tion mentioned.
On trade issues in general, the highlighted the opportunity for an increased exchange over the coming years as Bangladesh continues its efforts to become a middle-income country, and underlined the im-portance of the European Business Council to promote European investment in here.
The EP delegation held extensive discussions with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Law Minister Anisul Haque and State Min-ister for CHT Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing over the last three days.
The delegation also met BNP Chairper-son Khaleda Zia, officials of Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, leaders of BGMEA, civil society members and the National Human Rights Commission’s Chairman.