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UN usually doesn’t send poll observers

Secretary-General’s spokesman says

Published : 10 Dec 2023 01:40 AM | Updated : 10 Dec 2023 02:20 PM

The United Nations has clarified that it usually does not send poll observers to any country without a specific mandate.

It should be mentioned that some media in Bangladesh and a vested quarter are found to be busy spreading rumours that the UN is not willing to send its observers for 12th Jatiya Sangsad (JS) election in Bangladesh scheduled for January 7, 2024.  

Under the circumstances, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters during a regular briefing on December 8 that the UN does not send election observers without a specific mandate. The UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson clarified the UN’s position when a reporter asked him whether the UN would send poll observers to Bangladesh.  According to the UN officials, it has stopped sending poll observers to any country since 2015.  

But, the UN officials said, the UN sometimes sends poll observers where there is a specific mandate. Meanwhile, at the regular briefing the UN official reiterated the hope for a free, fair and credible election in Bangladesh. "I haven’t seen the letter, and I would just refer you to what I’ve already said extensively on the elections in Bangladesh and our hopes for a free, fair, and credible elections," said Stéphane Dujarric.Earlier in November, Bangladesh conveyed to the UN that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is ‘determined to hold a free and fair election’, but will not tolerate burning of public and private properties and human lives in the name of demonstration that the opposition frequently perpetrates.

“In the context of undue, unwarranted and vested political pressure that we are facing from different corners ahead of our upcoming National Parliamentary Election, we hope that United Nations system, including its Secretariat, agencies and country office, would play a constructive and collaborative role to assist Bangladesh to remain persistent in its development trajectory,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen wrote in his letter to the UN.

The letter was written on November 19 and the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN transmitted it to the UN on November 20.

At the briefing another questioner said the UN is yet to take action to recognise the genocidal action committed by Pakistani occupying force in Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971 and sought comments from the spokesman.

In reply, he said, “First of all, with all due respect to historical events and those who suffered during those historical events, I will not comment on things that happened that long ago. Second, as we’ve said here repeatedly over and over again, it is not for the Secretary-General to designate an event as genocide. It is up to competent judicial authorities.”

Every 9 December, the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide marks the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide – a crucial global commitment that was made at the founding of the United Nations, immediately preceding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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