Canada has urged the main political parties of Bangladesh to start genuine and constructive dialogue to reach a consensus on a process for making the next set of elections credible.
"We continue to urge all parties to start negotiations and reach an agreement soon on a process, for the next set of elections and beyond, that Bangladeshis will consider credible," Canadian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Heather Cruden said in a statement issued yesterday.
Canada is hopeful that Bangladesh will move beyond the current political climate so that all parties can focus on fighting corruption and on Bangladesh’s continued socio-economic progress and development, the high commissioner said.
She further said Canada remains concerned that many Bangladeshis did not have the opportunity to vote and that more than half the seats in Parliament were filled by acclamation.
"Nevertheless, although we do not consider the election to have been fully participatory, we will continue to support the people of Bangladesh by working with the government, opposition parties, civil society and the private sector," the high commissioner said.
She said her country is encouraged by the moratorium on hartals announced by BNP and hope that this gesture will encourage genuine and constructive dialogue between the main political parties, she said.
"Canada considers fully participatory elections, in addition to allowing space for legitimate political dissent, as fundamental to a vibrant democracy," she added.
The high commissioner said Canada is concerned by the allegations of forced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and ongoing detention of members of the BNP.
"We call on the Government of Bangladesh to respect its international human rights obligations, including the protection of religious freedom," she said.