Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|17 Jul 2019, 2:50 p.m.||Bangladesh: Politics and Government||Ruth Jones|
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the political situation in Bangladesh.
Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) makes regular assessments of the political situation in Bangladesh, including through the British High Commission in Dhaka. Bangladesh is a close partner of the UK and a fellow Commonwealth member, and we welcome our joint reaffirmation of democratic values at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers' Meeting on 10 July.
A general election took place in December in which the Awami League won 96% of seats in Parliament. The Minister for Asia and the Pacific issued a statement on 1 January noting credible accounts of obstacles and irregularities in the conduct of elections, and deploring the acts of intimidation and violence that took place. The UK called for the full and transparent resolution of complaints about the conduct of the elections.
The Foreign Secretary also wrote to Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen in January to express our concerns and to encourage the Government of Bangladesh to maintain dialogue with opposition parties and civil society. In April 2019, Minister Field reiterated these concerns and the importance of engaging with opposition parties and freedom of expression when he met the Prime Minister and ministers during his visit to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh remains a human rights priority country for the FCO. Ministers, and our High Commission in Dhaka, carry out a wide range of activities to promote human rights and freedom of expression in Bangladesh, working with civil society and other like-minded partners. We frequently raise these concerns with the Government of Bangladesh.
The UK will continue to engage with the Government of Bangladesh to address these concerns and will support efforts towards a stable, prosperous and democratic Bangladesh.