Create situation for peaceful talk

UN, US, Canada, Japan, Australia, C'wealth disappointed over polls, violence

The United Nations, United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and Commonwealth also expressed their disappointment over the just-concluded parliamentary elections in the country as more than half of the parliamentarians were uncontested and the remaining ones showed little opposition.
Terming that political violence, attack on the people and destruction of properties is not at all acceptable Secretary General to the United Nations (UN) Ban Ki-moon urged the parties to start over talks in proper political way.
Expressing deep sorrows over the loss of lives and properties, Moon, in a statement, said, due to low turnout, an anomalous election has taken place.
Political parties failed to reach in a consensus which would have made a participatory and peaceful election possible, he added.
The UN Secretary General also urged the leaders to show patience to create a situation where peaceful talks can be arranged.
Besides, United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and Commonwealth said the results of Sunday’s elections had failed to reflect the will of the people, and called the new government and all political parties to immediately engage in dialogue to find a path for holding a free, fair, credible, peaceful and truly participatory general election.
The countries in separate statements also condemned violence in the strongest word possible and urged the political leadership in Bangladesh to do everything to halt violence and intimidation, especially against the minorities, immediately.
United Nations:
The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on January 6. “The Secretary-General is saddened by the loss of life and incidents of violence that marred yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, which were characterized by polarization and low participation. He regrets that the parties did not reach the kind of agreements which could have produced a peaceful, all-inclusive election outcome. He calls on all sides to exercise restraint and ensure first and foremost a peaceful and conducive environment, where people can maintain their right to assembly and expression. Violence and attacks on people and property can never be acceptable.
The Secretary-General calls on the political parties to resume meaningful dialogue and to urgently address the expectations of the people of Bangladesh for an inclusive political process. The United Nations will continue to support the country’s democratic processes in accordance with the principles of inclusiveness, non-violence, reconciliation and dialogue.”
United States:
Spokesperson of US State Department Marie Harf said: “The United States is disappointed by the recent Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. With more than half of the seats uncontested and most of the remainder offering only token opposition, the results of the just-concluded elections do not appear to credibly express the will of the Bangladeshi people.
While it remains to be seen what form the new government will take, United States commitment to supporting the people of Bangladesh remains undiminished. To that end, we encourage the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in immediate dialogue to find a way to hold as soon as possible elections that are free, fair, peaceful, and credible, reflecting the will of the Bangladeshi people.
We condemn in the strongest terms the violence from all quarters that continues to mark the prevailing political impasse. Violence is not an acceptable element of the political process; we call on all to stop committing further violence. Bangladesh’s political leadership – and those who aspire to lead – must do everything in their power to ensure law and order and refrain from supporting and fomenting violence, especially against minority communities, inflammatory rhetoric, and intimidation.
In the coming days, as Bangladesh seeks a way forward that is in keeping with its strong democratic traditions, we call upon the Government of Bangladesh to provide political space to all citizens to freely express their political views. We also call strongly on the opposition to use such space peacefully and responsibly, and for all sides to eschew violence, which is not part of democratic practice and must stop immediately.”
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma in a statement said: “The Commonwealth has been following closely the situation in Bangladesh relating to the parliamentary elections held on 5 January 2014.
The limited levels of participation and the low voter turnout are disappointing. The acts of violence are deeply troubling and indeed are unacceptable in response to any political situation.
In the Commonwealth Charter, it is a shared responsibility of governments, political parties and civil society to uphold and promote democratic culture, including the inalienable right of individuals to participate in free and fair elections. Therefore, it is critical that Bangladesh moves quickly to find a path forward through dialogue to a more inclusive and peaceful political process in which the will of the people can be fully expressed.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said, “Canada welcomes the major parties’ willingness to consider holding a new national election and urges all parties to reach an agreement soon that would allow the next election to be truly participatory, with results that all Bangladeshis will see as credible.”
Expressing sadness over the violence and controversy that marred the electoral period, the Canadian foreign minister said: “We condemn this violence in the strongest terms, particularly the senseless attacks on the most vulnerable citizens- children, women, and religious and ethnic minorities.”
He also said: “Violence as a political strategy is unacceptable. Canada calls on all parties to publicly renounce and condemn political violence.”
Political instability has bred economic instability, which has caused long-term damage to Bangladesh’s economy and may continue to do so, said John Baird.
Condemning all sorts of intimidation and violence against people, Japan on Tuesday urged Bangladesh political leaderships to immediately initiate ‘serious efforts’ to provide people with a voting opportunity for making their political choice. “Japan is aware that the people of Bangladesh have a strong aspiration for making political choice based on their own free will without fear of violence,” said Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Shiro Sadoshima in a statement on Bangladesh’s 10th parliamentary elections.
In a statement, the Japanese diplomat said the political leaderships in Bangladesh, regardless of their positions, should immediately initiate serious efforts to provide its people with a voting opportunity for making political choice in a manner that responds to their aspiration.
The envoy said Japan is deeply concerned with the political violence which resulted in deaths and injuries of so many people over the last several months in Bangladesh.
Sadoshima also expressed his displeasure over attacks on minorities. “We strongly condemn all sorts of violence and intimidation toward people of Bangladesh, including attacks on peaceful political activities, assaults on minority communities, arbitrary arrests and obstruction of electioneering.”
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has expressed deep concern at the ongoing violence and political discord which marred the election in Bangladesh held on 5 January.
It has been reported that both the Awami League government and the opposition coalition led by the Bangladesh National party contributed to the unstable political conditions.
While the elections were constitutionally valid, less than half the parliamentary seats were contested and voter turnout was low.
The Australian Government condemns the attacks against minorities, and calls on all sides to end the political violence.
It is vital that the people of the Bangladesh are able to express their democratic will and exercise real choice.
The government and the opposition must take up their shared responsibility to hold a new, fully contested and transparent election as soon as possible.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Travel Advice for Bangladesh has been raised to ‘reconsider your need to travel’ given the prospect of further violence.