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Dec 30 parliamentary election was not free, fair: US

Staff Correspondent

15 March 2019,Friday, 17:43



The United States has said the December 30 national election of Bangladesh was "lopsided" and it was marred by reported irregularities, including ballot-box stuffing and intimidation of opposition polling agents and voters.

The US Department of State in its latest annual report titled ‘Bangladesh Human Rights Report -2018’ states, "Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League party won a third consecutive five-year term in an improbably lopsided December parliamentary election that was not considered free and fair, and was marred by reported irregularities, including ballot-box stuffing and intimidation of opposition polling agents and voters."

The report published on Mar 13 also mentions, “During the campaign leading up to the election, there were credible reports of harassment, intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and violence that made it difficult for many opposition candidates and their supporters to meet, hold rallies, and campaign freely.”

“With more than 80 percent of the vote, the AL and its electoral allies won 288 of 300 directly elected seats, while the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies won only seven.”

The report further says: “According to data assembled by the NGO Democracy International, there were 1,324 acts of violence against the opposition BNP and its political allies and 211 acts of violence against the ruling AL and its allies during the month prior to the election.”

Click here to read the full report

The US Department of State also criticised for not allowing credible international election monitoring groups to monitor the parliamentary election.

“International election monitors were not issued accreditation and visas within the timeframe necessary to conduct a credible international monitoring mission, and only seven of the 22 Election Working Group NGOs were approved to conduct domestic election observation.”

The report has also said unlawful or political killings, forced disappearances, life-threatening prison conditions, freedom of speech limitations, negative government pressure on and fear of reprisal by press and media, and impunity for security force abuses were the most significant human rights problems in Bangladesh last year.

"There were reports of widespread impunity for security force abuses last year, while the Bangladesh government took few measures to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse and killing by security forces," says the report.

 

 

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