US will condemn violence – from opposition or govt security forces in Bangladesh: Donald Lu

US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu has emphasised the government and the opposition “working together peacefully” to ensure the freedom of assembly as Bangladesh moves towards the next national election.

“We as Americans, we will condemn violence when we see it – if it is on the part of the opposition, or it is on the part of government security forces. At the same time, we are going to focus on whether there is any intimidation during the election… we will say this publicly,” he told Channel 24 in an interview before wrapping up his visit on Sunday (January 15, 2023).

Lu referred to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to a fair election and said US also wants a free and fair election without “violence and intimidation.”

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday conveyed to the United States that they, as a government, want a “free, fair, transparent and credible” election and there should be no doubt about that.

Civil society voices crucial to upholding people’s right to freedom, dignity in every country: US

Lu also expressed US’ commitment to upholding democracy and human rights. “We will speak when we see problems and when we can offer suggestions. We will stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of expression. And we look forward to working very closely with our partners here in Bangladesh,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Responding to a question, the US Assistant Secretary told Channel 24 that they did not designate more individuals from the Rab to face individual sanctions. “We did not do that because we recognize the progress being made by the government and by the Rab itself.”

Talking to reporters at MoFA, Lu said they had “quite a good discussion” about the Rab. “If you have seen the statement this week by the Human Rights Watch, they recognised and we recognised tremendous progress in the area of reducing extrajudicial killings by the Rab,” he said.

On the security of diplomats, Lu said they take the security of Bangladeshi diplomats in the US very seriously.

Lu pledges US administration's continuous support, cooperation for all future efforts

“We spend a lot of time making sure that they are safe. We expect the same treatment from Bangladesh,” he said, adding that he was given assurance from every meeting he attended during his Bangladesh visit.

The United States has also said civil society voices in every country are crucial to upholding people’s right to freedom and dignity.

Assistant Secretary Donald Lu and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas hosted a dinner on Sunday night and listened to the work of human rights advocates in Bangladesh.

Lu left Dhaka early Monday (2 am), wrapping up his quick visit with a series of meetings.

Source: United News Of Bangladesh