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27 October, 2021 07:29:32 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 28 October, 2021 11:44:45 AM

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Election should be Bangladesh-led process: Dickson

It’s not for foreigners to say how it should be carried out, he says
UNB, Dhaka
Election should be Bangladesh-led process: Dickson

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson on Wednesday said anything related to election should be a Bangladesh-driven and Bangladesh-led process, noting that it is not foreigners to say how the election should be held here.

“It’s not for the foreigners to say how the election should be carried out,” he said, adding that it is a matter for the Bangladeshi people to decide.

The High Commissioner said there is plenty of expertise and talent in Bangladesh to make the election a Bangladesh-driven process reflecting the values of the country’s constitution.

The British envoy made the remarks while responding to a question at “DCAB Talk” held at Jatiya Press Club.

Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) hosted the event. DCAB President Pantho Rahaman and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event.

High Commissioner Dickson said it would be good to have an election that is transparent and openly contested.

He thinks it is important that all the voices and all political parties are able to participate in the elections and are able to have confidence in the electoral process.

The High Commissioner referred to the Bangladesh constitution and laid emphasis on fulfilling the constitutional ambition.

Competitive Elections

The High Commissioner said the UK’s strong view was that stability and economic growth – which he hoped would continue in Bangladesh – flourish best for the long term in open and democratic societies with strong institutions, public accountability and “competitive elections”.

He said the UK would continue to support plural and democratic practice in Bangladesh as was set out so admirably in the Constitution, and support as far as possible, as external friends, a fair electoral process with protections for voters and participants when the next general election is held.

The British envoy said the UK would watch with interest as preparations were made for institutions like the Election Commission and looked forward to that sending a strong commitment on a free and fair process for the elections when they were next held.

The High Commissioner said he had watched recent events around communities in Bangladesh with concern.

He had made clear in public and in conversations with senior people that the UK stood with those who supported tolerance and religious freedom, as set out most admirably in the Bangladeshi Constitution, which enshrined freedom of expression and religion.

Security of MPs

Asked what steps were taken after Labour MP Tulip Siddiq’s car was vandalised in a targeted attack outside her family home, the High Commissioner said he cannot comment on the investigation process but said it has been taken very seriously making sure that MPs are given safety and security.

Tulip is the granddaughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and niece of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

More MPs have opened up about their own personal safety following the death of their colleague, Sir David Amess, who was stabbed multiple times during a meeting with his constituents in Essex on Friday.

“We’ve seen a tragic and appalling incident in the UK,” said the British envoy.

Former Labour MP Jo Cox was also murdered in 2016.

“It’s really an appalling trend,” said the envoy, adding that the whole issue of MPs' security is taken extremely seriously.

Media Role

The High Commissioner said free media played an important role. “The UK was leading with the Canadians a global campaign on free media.”

He said it was a great pleasure to see so many journalists today because the ability of the press to ask important questions and hold the powerful to account is a crucial role in a free society.

“One could see from the global rankings this was not always an easy task in Bangladesh,” Dickson said.

The High Commissioner admired the courage, persistence and commitment of the media community in Bangladesh in continuing to carry out the role and duties of a media in a free society, even though there were sometimes challenges in doing so.

Returning to trade, the High Commissioner said he was pleased to hold the first bilateral UK-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Dialogue in February, which addressed market access barriers and improvements that could be made to the business environment in Bangladesh, to realise the potential of Bangladesh’s impressive growth.

The UK hoped the market could be opened up more than in the past, to the sort of high-value services that British companies excelled in globally, including in finance, education and health services in which the UK led the world.

MH

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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