Own Correspondent: US reiterates hope for free and peaceful elections in Bangladesh. For that purpose, the spokesperson of the US State Department, Matthew Miller, said that the government of Bangladesh, the opposition party and the civil society will continue to communicate with those concerned. In response to the question of journalist Mushfiqul Fazal Ansari in the regular briefing of the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the spokesperson of the US, Matthew Miller, stated this position. In the first question, Mushfiq wants to know about the new labor rights policy of the United States.
He asked – Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken recently noted that sanctions could be imposed if necessary against those who violate workers’ rights, engage in threats or intimidate workers. Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken mentioned the struggle of Bangladeshi garment worker Kalpana Akhtar. Recently, 5 workers were killed during the salary hike agitation. In view of this, the United States is going to take any measures?
In response to this question, Matthew Miller said that last week the Secretary of State emphasized how we engage with governments, workers, labor rights organizations, trade unions, civil society and the private sector to protect and uphold internationally recognized labor rights around the world. We will continue to do that in Bangladesh and anywhere else in the world.
He further said that we condemn the recent violence against workers agitating for minimum wages. Similarly condemn the criminalization of legitimate workers and trade union activities. We are concerned about the ongoing repression of workers and trade unions. Our principle, as we have said before, is that the government must ensure that workers are able to freely assemble for their rights and bargain collectively without fear of violence, reprisal or intimidation. We are committed to advancing these fundamental human rights through our work in Bangladesh and globally.
In the second question, journalist Mushfiq wants to know from him that the ruling party of Bangladesh is moving towards another one-sided election. Opponents are being repressed. These include murders, mass arrests, abduction of opposition party leaders and their family members. As the United States does not support one party against another in Bangladesh, the ruling party has formally rejected the United States’ call for dialogue. So what steps are you taking to prevent one-party, authoritarian rule in Bangladesh?
In response to this question, Matthew Miller said, You are right. We do not take sides against one group. We want what Bangladeshi people want. It is a free and fair election in a peaceful environment. We will continue to engage with the government, opposition parties, civil society and other partners and urge them to work together to ensure free and fair elections in a peaceful environment for the benefit of the Bangladeshi people.