EP delegation calls for resolving political crisis

The visiting European parliamentary (EP) delegation has urged an immediate end to the increasing violence and called for resolving the political crisis in Bangladesh.

“The delegation, having met government and opposition violance BDrepresentatives, urged an immediate end to the increasing violence and echoed calls from the international community and Bangladeshi civil society to solve the political crisis,” the delegation said in a statement this evening.

MEP Cristian Dan Preda, the chair of the delegation, added during discussions, the members paid special attention to civil and political rights against the background of violence generated by the current political impasse.

“We were here because of our concerns regarding the human rights situation. We need Bangladesh as a strong partner. The respect for human rights and democracy will be an essential component for Bangladesh to realise its full potential in order to reach its declared goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2021,” said Preda.

The three-member delegation of the Sub-committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament led by Preda arrived in Dhaka on February 16 and due to leave the country tomorrow.

The statement said the purpose of the visit was to assess the current human rights situation in the country, focusing on the areas of labour rights, children and women and minority rights.

The European Parliament considers human rights and democracy an essential element of the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the EU, in accordance with article 1 of the 2001 bilateral Cooperation Agreement.

In follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of September 2014, the delegation raised Parliament’s continued concerns regarding enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, it added.

“Freedom of expression was also a matter of concern, discussed with multiple interlocutors. Peace and stability should not be restored at the expense of civil and political rights,” the EU also said.

Saying freedom of expression is a fundamental pillar of a pluralistic and vibrant democracy, the statement said, “Members underlined the need for consolidating democratic institutions and reiterated their expectations that the draft Foreign Donations Act should guarantee adequate space for civil society organisations to continue working for the betterment of the situation of vulnerable populations.”

“This is also critical for the smooth implementation of EU funded development projects,” it added.

The delegation met trade union and business leaders, environmental activists, representatives of local and international civil society, members of minority groups, senior political leaders, the speaker of parliament and members of the government.

– Star Online Report