Six Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have urged High Representative/Vice-President of the European Union (EU) Josep Borrell Fontelles to ensure free, fair, and impartial general election – possi-bly under a polls-time neutral, caretaker government – in Bangladesh.
The MEPs are Ivan ŠTEFANEC (EPP, Slovak Republic), Michaela ŠOJDROVÁ (EPP, Czech Repub-lic), Andrey KOVATCHEV (EPP, Bulgaria), Karen MELCHIOR (Renew, Denmark), Javier NART (Renew, Spain) and Heidi HAUTALA (Greens/EFA, Finland).
In a letter to the EU High Representative, the six MEPs also called for ending what they say “violation of human rights, release of Begum Khaleda Zia, and engagement of the government with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and other major political parties to find out a sustainable and democratic solu-tion to the ongoing crises.”
The Embassy of the European Union in Dhaka, however, sees this letter as the views of the six MEPs who signed the letter.
“I would just note that this letter reflects the views of the 6 MEPs who signed it,” EU Ambassador to Bangladesh, Charles Whiteley, told .
EU has strong reasons to stand with the people of Bangladesh as a long-time partner in trade and devel-opment cooperation, the signatory MEPs believe.
“Thus, the EU needs not only to remain in constant dialogue with Bangladesh’s authorities on human rights agenda, but also to produce tangible outcomes,” the letter reads.
They mentioned potential measures such as restriction of entry into the EEA zone for those responsible for and complicit in human rights abuses, or regular reminding of the conditions for the GSP+ incentive to which Bangladesh is a bidder may be evaluated.
“In this regard, we would appreciate to know more about the results of the EU-Bangladesh Joint Com-mission and Subgroup on Good Governance and Human Rights and the plans to work on the Bangla-deshi authorities on these (and possibly other),” the letter reads.