Jan 26, 2006

Chittagong Hill Tracts: EU Troika Expresses Concern over Violence against Minority Groups

'Peaceful, free and fair elections in 2007 would be a milestone for Bangladeshs democracy and send an important signal to the international community that a durable democracy is being cultivated,' said the chief of the delegation from the EU donors
The visiting EU Troika delegation today expressed serious concern over human right violations of the minorities and Bangladesh apprehended that it might intensify in the pre-election period.

The EU Troika in a statement said the prospect that ''violence against them may intensify in the pre-election periods''.

The delegation called for establishing an independent National Human Rights Commission within this year in line with agreed UN standards.

The Troika delegation led by Mr Nikolaus Scherk held series of meetings with government and opposition leaders on the country’s next general elections, terrorism and governance.

On terrorism, it said Bangladesh faced with a formidable challenge of terrorism and urged the government to try and punish the terrorists for their crimes.

The EU also called for full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace accord and ensuring media freedom by protecting the safety of journalists.

On the issue of governance, Mr Scherk said ''the EU attaches great importance to the fight against corruption and efforts to improve governance.'' On upcoming parliamentary polls scheduled in early next year, the Troika urged major political parties to start active dialogue on electoral reform issues to ensure cross-party confidence in caretaker government and appoint independent election commission which they think ''principal guarantors for free and fair elections'' in Bangladesh.

''It is vital that there is cross-party confidence in both institutions and that an active dialogue between the parties is pursued on electoral reform issues to ensure this,'' Mr Scherk said capping their hectic parleys with government, opposition and civil-society leaders in Dhaka.
He said holding the election on schedule with full participation is essential to the stability and prospect of Bangladesh. Mr Scherk reiterated that an independent election commission, independent personalities that make the commission and independent funding are sine qua non for ensuring credible polls.

''Peaceful, free and fair elections in 2007 would not only be a milestone for Bangladesh’s democracy but would also send an important signal to the international community that a durable democracy is being cultivated,'' said the chief of the delegation from the European donor nations, apparently worried over political deadlock.

Expressing grave concern over the confrontational politics, the Troika called for an urgent change in this state of standoff. It suggested a political system based on debate and dialogue between the main parties with parliament as its natural focus.

Source: WebIndia