US Reaffirms Desire To Meet Aspirations Of Bangladeshi People

US National Security Council (NSC) Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby || Photo: The Hill

US National Security Council (NSC) Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby || Photo: The Hill

The United States (US) wants Bangladeshi people to be able to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections, US National Security Council (NSC) Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby.

"We obviously still believe in the importance of viable, vibrant democratic institutions all over the world.  And nothing has changed about our desires to see that the aspirations of the Bangladeshi people are met, and that includes being able to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections," he said in response to a question during a press briefing held at the White House on Wednesday (January 10).

During the briefing, a journalist asked about the US' position on the recent election in Bangladesh and the criticisms over it alleging repression of the opposition and not being free and fair.

The United States Department of State has said the recently held national elections in Bangladesh "were not free or fair".

"The United States shares the view with other observers that these elections were not free or fair, and we regret that not all parties participated," US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement issued on Monday (8 January).

Washington has been concerned by "the arrests of thousands of political opposition members and by reports of irregularities on election day," the statement added. 

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom (UK) said national elections in Bangladesh were not consistently credible, open, and fairly competitive.

"Democratic elections depend on credible, open, and fair competition. Respect for human rights, rule of law and due process are essential elements of the democratic process. These standards were not consistently met during the election period," UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said in a statement on Monday (8 January).

"We are concerned at the significant number of arrests of opposition party members before polling day," it added.

Canada has expressed disappointment, citing a lack of democratic principles in Bangladesh's 12th national elections, which took place on 7 January (Sunday).

In a statement issued on 9 January by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the country's foreign ministry, Canada also condemned the acts of intimidation and violence that took place before and during the elections.

"We extend our sympathy to all of those who have been affected by the violence that has occurred," reads the statement.

The Australian government has urged the Bangladesh government to "prioritise" the strengthening of its democratic institutions, which "underpin" the protection of human rights, rule of law, and the promotion of development.

"As a close partner, Australia remains committed to working with Bangladesh to achieve our shared vision for an open, stable, prosperous, and inclusive region," said the Australian government in a statement on Bangladesh elections.

Australia noted the results of the parliamentary election in Bangladesh on 7 January.

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