January 10, 2024
DHAKA – The United States has said the January 7 national elections were not “free and fair”.
“The United States shares the view with other observers that these elections were not free or fair and we regret that not all parties participated,” said the State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller in a statement early today.
He said the US notes the Awami League party won a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections, but remains concerned by the arrests of thousands of political opposition members and by reports of irregularities on the election day.
Washington also condemned the violence that took place during the elections and in the months leading up to it.
“We encourage the Government of Bangladesh to credibly investigate reports of violence and to hold perpetrators accountable. We also urge all political parties to reject violence,” Miller said.
The US supports the people of Bangladesh and their aspirations for democracy, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of expression.
“Looking ahead, the United States remains committed to partnering with Bangladesh to advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, to supporting human rights and civil society in Bangladesh, and to deepening our people-to-people and economic ties,” Matthew Miller said.
The US had been calling for holding free, fair and peaceful elections. The Biden Administration also imposed sanctions against Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and seven of its members in December 2021, and then announced a visa policy for Bangladesh, saying that those undermining democratic elections will face visa restrictions.