Bangladesh: Elections:Written question - 190837

Asked by Mrs Anne Main
(St Albans)
Asked on: 13 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Elections
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure (a) international oversight by observers and (b) the accuracy of the voter registration database in relation to parliamentary elections in Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement.
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 21 November 2018

​The British Government has been clear that we want to see a free, fair and pluralistic election in Bangladesh and I have repeatedly encouraged the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in an effective dialogue to this end. Through our High Commission in Dhaka we have been clear that the Election Commission should be allowed to continue its important work, including the registration of voters, without interference. We have consistently made the case for international oversight of the election and the EU has agreed to send an Election Expert Mission. Through the Department for International Development funding, the UK will also support local observation of the general election.

The Foreign Secretary raised his concerns regarding the next election in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they met at the UN General Assembly in New York on 24 September. In a call on 1 November with State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, I again made the case for a free, fair and participatory election. Allowing freedom of expression and freedom of assembly is an integral aspect of this, and through our High Commission in Dhaka the UK continues to make its concerns heard regarding freedom of expression in Bangladesh.

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