The Bangladesh general election on 30 December 2018 was subject to numerous allegations of irregularities and voter intimidation. I released a statement on 1 January deploring the violence that took place and expressing UK concerns regarding the conduct of the election. I called for electoral authorities to provide a full, credible and transparent resolution of all complaints related to the conduct of the elections and repeated this message to the Bangladesh High Commissioner when we met on 10 January in London.
I have also written to my counterpart the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, to express UK concerns regarding the conduct of the election and on the democratic trajectory in Bangladesh. The Foreign Secretary wrote to Foreign Minister Momen to deliver similar messages. The UK will continue to engage the Government of Bangladesh at all levels to address our concerns regarding democracy in Bangladesh.
We have a broad and important partnership with Bangladesh and we will continue to support the people of Bangladesh in their aspirations for a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future. Change will not happen overnight but UK Aid is enabling Bangladeshi women and young people to engage in politics, making communities more resilient to conflict and monitoring levels of political violence. I do not assess that sanctions against Bangladesh would deliver an improvement in the democratic trajectory of that country.