Bangladesh need legitimate and democratic elections

Today Abigail spoke in Parliament about the harrowing situation in Bangladesh - where there hasn't been a democratic election in over 15 years. Australia must stand with Bangladesh in their plight for justice. 

Abigail gave notice of the following motion:

(1) That this House notes that:

(a) it has been over 15 years since Bangladesh has had an election that was legitimate, according to the United States Institute of Peace,

(b) Sheikh Hasina presided over two rigged and controversial elections in Bangladesh in 2014 and 2018 and failed to ‘advocate’ for free and fair elections,

(c) the European Union found that the national election held in Bangladesh in 2018 was marred by violence,

(d) Capital Punishment Justice Project, R. Kennedy Human Rights and other human rights groups are gravely concerned over the number of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh and the denial of access to justice for the victims,

(e) Human Rights Watch has found that the Bangladeshi government continues to be linked to enforced disappearances,

(f) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has noted that the United States is adopting a policy to restrict visas for Bangladeshis who undermine the democratic election process in their home country,

(g) in 2021 the Biden administration levied sanctions against the Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion, and

(h) the British Parliament has discussed the politically biased imprisonment of Bangladeshi leader Khaleda Zia and expressed its concern about how the 2018 general election was conducted.

(2) That this House calls on the Australian Government to:

(a) appeal to the Bangladeshi Government to accept independent oversight of the coming national election in order to ensure that the election is fair and free of unlawful practices and interference,

(b) advocate for all political prisoners, including the opposition leader Khaleda Zia, to be immediately released,

(c) support the introduction of a judicial system that is accessible and fair for all Bangladeshis, and

(d) impose Magnitsky style sanctions against Sheikh Hasina, members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the Detective Branch (DB) of police for their ongoing failure to uphold human and democratic rights in Bangladesh.

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