• EN - English
Motion for a resolution - B7-0036/2014Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on recent elections in Bangladesh

14.1.2014 - (2014/2516(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Paweł Robert Kowal on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0034/2014

Procedure : 2014/2516(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on recent elections in Bangladesh


The European Parliament,

- Having regard to its previous resolutions on Bangladesh, notably of 20 November 2014,


- Having regard to the statement of 30 November 2013 of the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the preparation for general elections in Bangladesh, the Statement of 20 December 2013 by the Spokesperson of EU High Representative on an EU Election Observation Mission in Bangladesh and the declaration of 9 January 2014 by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the Legislative Elections in Bangladesh,

- Having regard to the statement of 1 December 2013 of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay “Political brinkmanship driving Bangladesh to the edge”,


- Having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),


- Having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. Whereas on 5 January 2014 Bangladesh held general elections which took place amidst political tensions and months of violent street protests and general strikes (“hartals”) organized by opposition activists and militants;

B.  Whereas as more than 300 people have been killed in political violence since the beginning of 2013, including at least 18 on election day, much of it carried out by opposition activists; whereas the Election Commission said that nearly 500 voting centers had to be closed because of the violence, including arson; whereas Awami League activists have also engaged in attacks on opposition supporters;


C. Whereas the EU has good, long-standing relations with Bangladesh, including through the Cooperation Agreement on partnership and development; whereas the EU had offered to send an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to the Bangladesh general elections;


D. Whereas the EU, by way of its Parliament, the HR/VP, the local delegation and otherwise had repeatedly called on all parties to create favourable conditions for transparent, inclusive and credible elections; whereas the European Parliament in its previous resolution on Bangladesh called on all parties not to boycott the elections;


E. Whereas, however, such conditions did not materialise and a boycott by Bangladesh’s main opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) did take place; whereas as a result more than half the constituencies went unopposed to the Awami League;


F. Whereas due to the boycott and other irregularities surrounding the elections the EU, the US, the Commonwealth and others decided not to send Election Observation Missions;

G. Whereas Bangladesh has made significant progress in recent years, notably on human rights, but also in its economic performance; whereas Bangladesh and the EU and its Member States had increased their cooperation, including with regards to the follow-up of recent industrial disasters; whereas the current situation of political stalemate and violent chaos could present a major setback for Bangladesh and its people;


H. Whereas on 12 December 2013 Abdul Quader Mollah, a leader in the islamist opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami, was executed for crimes against humanity perpetrated during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence;


I. Whereas Mr Mollah was initially sentenced to life imprisonment, but whereas following an amendment to the International Crimes (Tribunal) Law, this sentence was increased to death on appeal from the government, leaving him with no chance to appeal, as is required under international law;


J. Whereas more death sentences have been handed out by the International Crimes Tribunal and whereas the violence surrounding the ICT’s proceedings has affected the whole country, in particular Hindu communities, as many of the prosecution witnesses are Hindus;


K. Whereas at least one ICT witness, Mustafa Howlader, was killed in his home on 10 December 2013;


L. Whereas the ICT proceedings and the elections have firmly pitted the two main political camps against each other with ordinary people bearing the brunt of events in what has been the most violent year since Bangladesh’s independence;


1. Takes note of the preliminary results and of reports of low turnout for the 10th Parliamentary elections held in Bangladesh on 5 January;


2. Strongly condemns the acts of violence which occurred in the run-up to and during the elections and particularly the attacks against the most vulnerable populations, including women and children as well as religious and ethnic minorities; regrets the loss of life and extends its condolences to the families of the victims;


3. Urges all parties to refrain from violence or incitement of violence and to engage in genuine dialogue on a way out of the political crisis;


4. Calls upon all parties to agree on a mutually acceptable way forward to strengthen democratic accountability and to hold transparent, inclusive and credible elections, putting the interests of the people of Bangladesh first;


5. Expresses its concern about the on-going arrest and detention of key opposition leaders by the law enforcement agencies; acknowledges and condemns the fact that some opposition supporters have been involved in serious acts of violence, however, insists that the rule of law, including adherence to internationally agreed standards, is upheld;


6. Calls upon the Bangladesh authorities to end arbitrary arrests and to allow peaceful protest and full rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement;


7. Calls upon the Bangladesh authorities to provide increased protection to ethnic and religious minorities at risk, in particular Hindu communities;


8. Calls furthermore upon the Bangladesh authorities to urgently set up an effective mechanism to protect witnesses in cases before the ICT;


9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the UN Human Rights Council and the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh.