US Senate for political dialogue in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Jan 10 (IANS) The US Senate has adopted a resolution on Bangladesh stressing the “critical need” for a political dialogue.

The first session of the 113th Congress Jan 7 adopted the resolution, the details of which have been published Jan 9, reported Friday.
On Dec 18, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations discussed the resolution submitted a week earlier by Senators Richard Durbin, Michael B. Enzi, Christopher S. Murphy, John Boozman and Barbara Boxer.
The resolution dwelt on the situation in Bangladesh prior to the Jan 5 parliamentary polls as the upper house of the US Congress has accepted the resolution more or less as it was forwarded by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Senator Robert Menendez had expressed grave concern over the political deadlock in Bangladesh in a committee meeting held Dec 18.
The resolution said the Bangladeshi government eliminated the constitutional provision according to which the governing party has to cede power to make way for a neutral caretaker government three months before an election.
It also said that hundreds of people have been killed in recent clashes, which erupted as a result of political violence and unrest.
The International Crimes Tribunals, which held the trials of those charged with war crimes in the 1971 Liberation War in the country, have fallen short of international standards, according to the resolution.
In the backdrop of such incidents, the resolution forwarded six specific recommendations.
The Senate condemned the political violence in Bangladesh and urged political leaders to engage directly and substantively in a dialogue towards free, fair, and credible elections.
Secondly, it urged political leaders in Bangladesh to take immediate steps to rein in and condemn the violence, as well as to provide space for peaceful political protests.
Thirdly, it expressed concern about the continued political deadlock in Bangladesh that distracts from the country’s important challenges.
The fourth recommendation urged leaders in Bangladesh to ensure the safety and access of observers in the elections that needed to be held again.
Fifthly, it supported the ongoing efforts by UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez Taranco to foster political dialogue between political parties in Bangladesh.
Finally, it urged the Bangladesh government to ensure judicial independence, end harassment of human rights activists, and restore the independence of the Grameen Bank.