Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Questions (122)

Tony McLoughlin


122. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the efforts being made to highlight at EU level the imprisonment of former Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, and the need for international assistance to return democracy to Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42044/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The EU is fully aware of the case of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and is monitoring the process of appeals closely. After the general elections in Bangladesh in December 2018, the EU noted that there was strong mobilisation of voters and participation of the opposition in the elections, but stated that the national authorities should properly examine allegations of irregularities and commit to transparency in their resolution. 

In June of this year, Eamon Gilmore, in his capacity as EU Special Representative for Human Rights, visited Bangladesh and engaged with representatives about the need for the Government of Bangladesh to address issues including inclusiveness of the political process, the rule of law, and space for civil society. 

The EU is currently in the process of funding projects in Bangladesh that work to strengthen and promote democracy through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. In addition, the EU has raised human rights issues and respect for the rule of law with the Government of Bangladesh within the framework of the EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission. 

The Embassy of Ireland in New Delhi (which is accredited to Bangladesh), in close partnership with the EU Delegation to Bangladesh, will continue to monitor the political situation.