UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on all stakeholders to ensure an environment free of violence, intimidation and coercion before, during and after Sunday's general election in Bangladesh.
In the run-up to the polls, he said an environment free from violence would help enable a peaceful, credible and inclusive election.
In a statement yesterday, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN secretary-general, said, “All Bangladeshi citizens, including minorities and women, must feel safe and confident in exercising their right to vote. Civil society and electoral observers should be fully supported to play their role in the process.”
Guterres also reiterates the continued commitment of the United Nations to support a peaceful and democratic Bangladesh, it added.
The call for a peaceful and free, fair and inclusive election comes at a time when violence continues across the country before the 11th parliamentary election.
Last week, the UN said it is closely following the situation ahead of the polls in Bangladesh.
On December 10, Dujarric said, “We believe, as a matter of principles, that elections should be held in a positive climate, free from any sort of intimidation.”
In another development, the US yesterday expressed concern by the high level of campaign violence over the last two weeks.
Talking to reporters after a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda at the Election Commission Secretariat, US Ambassador Earl Miller said he asked for this meeting because the US is concerned by the high level of campaign violence over the last two weeks, says an embassy statement.
All parties have been victims of violence, including minorities and female candidates. However, it appears opposition party candidates have borne the brunt of most violence, he said.
Miller added, “I appreciated the opportunity to consult with the Election Commission to see what plans it has to create a conducive atmosphere, so all Bangladeshis, no matter their political affiliation, feel safe to go to the polls on Sunday and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice.
“Bangladesh is rightfully proud of its democratic traditions, including elections where upwards of 70 percent of the electorate turns out to vote. In any democratic election there must be space for peaceful expression and assembly; for independent media to do its job covering electoral developments; for participants to have access to information; and for all individuals to be able to partake in the electoral process without harassment, intimidation, or violence.”
The US wishes all Bangladeshis a free, fair, tolerant and peaceful election day on Sunday, the envoy added.