Published:  04:43 PM, 15 June 2023 Last Update: 04:49 PM, 15 June 2023

Six US Congressmen write to Blinken seeking free, fair polls in Bangladesh

Six US Congressmen write to Blinken seeking free, fair polls in Bangladesh
Six US congress members have written to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for actions to ensure free and fair parliamentary elections in Bangladesh.

The congressmen are William R Keating, James P. McGovern, Barbara Lee, Jim Costa, Dina Titus, and Jamie Raskin.

All of them are members of the ruling Democratic Party. Congressman William R. Keating shared this in a tweet on Tuesday.

Signed on 8 June, the letter said, “We write to express our concern about the ongoing deterioration of the human rights situation in Bangladesh as elections approach in January 2024. We urge the State Department and other US agencies to continue to call for accountability for serious violations committed by law enforcement agencies… Clear and repeated statements and actions by US officials can help ensure that the Bangladeshi government complies with its human rights obligations.”

The United States imposed sanctions on the Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and its seven former and current officials on allegations of serious human rights violations.

Welcoming the decision, the congressmen reiterated, “Unfortunately, despite these actions, repression in Bangladesh has not ceased.”

The congressmen questioned, “What measures are the State Department implementing to protect civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and victims of human rights abuses from governmental reprisals since the imposition of the December 2021 sanctions?”

The letter also asked, “What indicators are the State Department using to evaluate whether conditions for a free and fair election are present, including freedom of expression, association, and assembly?”

Earlier, six other members of the US Congress criticized the human rights situation in Bangladesh in a letter written to President Joe Biden. Besides, they urged the President to "give the people of Bangladesh the best possible chance for free and fair parliamentary elections".

They requested to take necessary steps for this and also impose sanctions on the responsible persons. On 2 June, Virginia Congressman Bob Good published the letter to President Biden on his website.

The five other members of Congress who signed the letter are Scott Perry, Barry Moore, Warren Davidson, Tim Burchett and Keith Self. All of them are members of the US opposition party, the Republican Party.

Apart from this, six members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to the head of European Union's foreign policy, Josep Borrell, to take measures to ensure free, fair and impartial elections in Bangladesh on12 June. The letter also expressed concern about human rights violations in Bangladesh.

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