The European Union has welcomed the "openness" of the Bangladesh government regarding an international election observation mission for the next general elections.Bangladesh and the EU held their 10th Joint Commission meeting in Brussels on May 20, in a very "constructive and open" atmosphere, covering a wide range of issues of common interest, UNB reports.
The Joint Commission reviewed political developments on both sides and discussed the state of democracy, rule of law and governance, including the importance of holding free and fair elections, according to a message received from the Bangladesh mission in Brussels.
The EU stressed that a vibrant civil society is an important component of democracy, raised concerns on human rights in Bangladesh, in particular reports of alleged violation of human rights and emphasized the need to ensure accountability for such violations.
Bangladesh and the EU exchanged views on respective approaches to the advancement of the rights of minorities, the rights of women and children and to engagement on human rights in multilateral fora.
The EU also raised concerns regarding the issues of civic space and freedom of expression offline and online, notably in the framework of the Digital Security Act (DSA), noting the importance for legislation and its implementation in this area not to go beyond the stated purpose of fighting digital crime and to be in line with international Human Rights obligations.
The EU emphasized that promoting and protecting human rights for all, regardless of ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation, disability or socio-economic background is crucial for stability, economic growth and development.
The European Union stands ready to provide increased cooperation in view of Bangladesh's next Universal Periodic Review in 2023.The Bangladesh side stated that the government is committed to guaranteeing human rights for all as enshrined in its constitution.The government has a 'zero tolerance' policy against terrorism and violent extremism and highlighted the remarkable success of the security apparatus in this regard.
The Bangladesh side also said that it values the nearly five-decade-long partnership with the European Union and appreciates objective and constructive observations.The EU and Bangladesh discussed governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights, the Rohingya crisis, economic and trade cooperation, migration, climate change, education, development cooperation and regional cooperation.In this context, they looked forward to the first EU-Bangladesh Political Dialogue in Dhaka in June this year.