Dhaka, Dec 27 (UNB) - Foreign observers and journalists will “widely” observe the December 30 national election, said the International Election Observer Coordination Cell of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.
The Coordination Cell has been set up under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with representations from the relevant ministries and departments, including the Ministries of Home Affairs and of Information.
Nine international organisations and groups and a dozen of foreign missions in Bangladesh are set to observe and watch the upcoming election with their 188 observers, said the Foreign Ministry here.
The European Union (EU), the Commonwealth, the OIC, Forum of Election Commission Management of South Asia (FEMBOSA), International Republican Institute (IRl), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Democracy International (Dl), Dipendra Kandel Initiative (DKI) and SAARC Human Rights Foundation are the organisations.
The Foreign Missions accredited to observe election include Embassies/High Commissions of the USA, the UK, Greece, Ireland, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, and more.
The foreign observers are coming from a range of countries such as Australia, Bhutan, Canada, India, the USA, Samoa, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nigeria, Nepal, Palestine, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Along with the foreign observers so far 56 foreign journalists and media personnel are also set to visit Bangladesh to cover the election, some of them are already in Bangladesh.
They will be representing different international media groups like BBC, Cable News Int. INC, Deutsche Welle, NHK, The Yomiuri Shimbun, AFP, AP, Al-Jazeera, German TV, TV Today Network, New York Times, Le Monde, The Economist, Zee News, Kyodo News, Times of India, The Hindu, National Public Radio (USA), Strategic News, Frontline, The Week and more.
The stringers of foreign media are also at work during the election times, said the Foreign Ministry here.
Some 118 local organisations with their more than 25,000 observers are observing the upcoming election.
Another unit of the Cell started operation at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon while a helpdesk is already in operation at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) to welcome and assist the foreign observers/media personnel.
Constant liaison is being maintained between these units among the relevant ministries and especially with the Bangladesh Election Commission for smooth coordination required for the foreign observers/media personnel.
All the Bangladesh Missions have been advised to assist them with visa facilities.
Arrangements have also been made for according visa on arrival to those observers and journalists who would not be in a position to obtain visa from Bangladesh Missions abroad, the MoFA said.
The foreign observers and journalists are being issued accreditation and pass cards to enable them to observe or watch the polling.
In addition to the accreditation, the Election Commission is issuing stickers for vehicles to be used by the foreign observers, media people and those foreign missions in Bangladesh that have requested for registration to observe the election.
Security support, when requested, will also be given to the foreign observers, the MoFA added.
Dhaka, Dec 27 (UNB) - Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury on Thursday said the Armed Forces will act only when police, Rab and BGB members fail to control any untoward situation during the election.
"Members of the Police, Rab and BGB are out there in the field to maintain the law and order. The Armed Forces will go to intervene in those places where police, Rab and BGB members will fail. The Armed Forces are our last resort," he said replying to a question from a reporter that the Armed Forces do not play any role in curbing election violence.
The Election Commissioner said this while visiting the control room set up at Nirbachan Bhaban to monitor the countrywide election slated for December 30.
He said the Armed Forces have not been deployed on election duty as a striking force. “They’ll act if other law enforcement agencies fail to bring the situation under control.”
Shahadat said the Armed Forces will work in line with articles 127-132 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898.
The situation is fully under the control of the Election Commission, he said adding that more than five lakh law enforcers have been deployed across the country.
About the writ petition filed with the High Court challenging the candidatures of 22 Jamaat men running with BNP electoral symbol 'Paddy Sheaf', the Commissioner said the EC will have to follow the court order.
About the control room, he said the Commission will monitor the electoral situation of 299 constituencies from the room and issue directives in case of any untoward situation.
Shahadat Hossain said the Commission has already sent all the required electronic voting machines (EVMs) to the relevant six constituencies for arranging the balloting through the machines instead of the traditional ballot papers.
Dhaka, Dec 27 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday vowed to build such a Bangladesh where there will be no disparity between the poor and the rich if her party is voted power again.
"We want to reduce the income disparity in such a way where everybody will be able to lead a better life… we want to ensure that system," she said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a programme on the last day of her office ahead of the next general election which is scheduled to be held on December 30.
The employees of all sections of the PMO attended the programme.
Terming herself as 'father's daughter' Sheikh Hasina said she never thought of enjoying the post of the Prime Minister, rather it was her prime duty to find out the way how she would devote herself to the welfare of the common people.
"The prime-ministership is a responsibility for me. I find a way to do my work for the people of this country. I got a scope to serve people and that’s the big thing for me," she said.
She asked the PMO officials to perform their duties properly as they are the employees of the republic and their salaries and wages come from the tax money of the mass people. "It’s your duty to serve the common people and do the welfare of them."
Putting emphasis on continuation of the government, the Prime Minister said the government has been able to do a lot of works in the last 10 years and there are many works to do.
"It depends on the people of the country, if they vote us to power in the coming December 30 election, we’ll be able to finish those. Otherwise, the people of the country will choose their fate… I have no resentment or regret because I have no desire in my life," she said.
In the last 10 years, Hasina said, the government has been able to change the scenario of rural Bangladesh through providing them with urban-like facilities.
She briefly described various development programmes for the government employees, including salary hike, accommodations and others.
Principal secretary M Nojibur Rahman moderated the programme where SDG affairs chief coordinator M Abul Kalam Azad, PM's military secretary Major Gen Mia Md Jainul Abedin, PMO secretary Sajjadul Hsassan, PMO director general Begum Nasrin Afroze and PM's press secretary Ihsanul Karim also spoke at the programme.
Dhaka, Dec 27 (UNB) – The US embassy in Dhaka has encouraged all US citizens to obtain a visa before traveling to Bangladesh.
“If friends or family members intend to visit you in Bangladesh, we strongly recommend they obtain a visa before arrival,” said the embassy in a message shared on its website.
Recently, the US embassy said, some US citizens, particularly ones born outside the United States, have been “denied entry” into Bangladesh despite believing they had fulfilled the requirements for a visa on arrival.
The embassy, on Wednesday, reminded that the authority to permit or deny entry to Bangladesh rests solely with Bangladeshi officials, and there is little to no assistance the Consular Section can offer to these travelers.
Dhaka, Dec 27 (UNB) - Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) has opened a Facebook page titled ‘Rab Cyber News Verification Centre’ to aware people over false news and rumours spread during the 11th parliamentary election.
Director General (DG) of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Benazir Ahmed revealed it at a press conference arranged to brief journalists regarding the elite force’s preparation for the upcoming general election at its Media Center in city’s Karwan Bazar on Thursday.
If anyone becomes confused about any news, he/she will have to share it on the Facebook page and the Rab team will instantly reply it after verifying the truth, said Rab DG.
Rab officials will work round the clock, he added.
The Rab DG also said the Facebook page has been opened to counter all lies, rumours and false news centring the national election slated for December 30.
A total of 10,000 Rab members have been deployed across the country ahead of the general election, said the Rab DG.
“If anyone dares to carry out violence in any place of the country, we will obstruct them and the elite force is ready to resist them,” he added.
Two Army helicopters will remain standby on the election day, he said adding, “A special force will be kept standby for travelling to any part in the country if needed.”
Benazir also requested all to inform them any kind of violent incidents as they can take instant action.