Bangladesh: Elections

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of David Crausby David Crausby Labour, Bolton North East

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the findings of the Human Rights Watch December 2018 report Bangladesh Election Crackdown on Political Opponents and Critics and the Transparency International Bangladesh January 2019 Review of Election Process of 11th National Election, what steps the Government is taking to help tackle electoral fraud in Bangladesh.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

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 had taken place and expressing the UK's deep concern regarding the conduct of the election. I called for 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.

I wrote to my counterpart the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, in January, to express UK concerns regarding the conduct of the election and on 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.

Bangladesh remains a Human Rights Priority Country for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and freedom of expression is a key concern. I raised my concerns regarding freedom of expression with Bangladesh State Minister of Information Tarana Halim on 14 December 2018. The Foreign Secretary raised his freedom of expression concerns with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 24 September 2018 at UN General Assembly in New York.

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