Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that Election Commission is completely “independent” and a system has been established through independent EC to hold “free and fair” elections in Bangladesh.
“Now the Election Commission is completely independent,” she told the Bangla service of Voice of America (VOA) in an interview aired on Tuesday.
The prime minister, now on a visit to the US, responded to a number of questions on democracy, human rights, Rohingya crisis, Digital Security Act and other issues.
She said Bangladesh has progressed much during her three consecutive tenures. “The country didn’t see a downtrend, rather it witnessed advancement.”
The premier said the rate of poverty has been decreased, people are getting food, education and healthcare. “We’re fulfilling all basic needs.”
Responding to a question, PM Hasina described how political parties like BNP and Jatiya Party were born under military dictators and how the dictators seized power illegally.
She said parties which are born under military dictators are not used to developing relationship with common people; rather they are used to rigging votes and take office by force. “They might not like the democratic trend.”
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, during her visit to Bangladesh, encouraged the government to create an “independent, specialised mechanism” that works closely with victims, families and civil society to investigate allegations of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
When asked about it, the PM said there is National Human Rights Commission in Bangladesh. “They look into these allegations.”
Hasina said wherever any injustice occurs, steps are taken immediately as per the law.
“We’re not abusing human rights, we are protecting human rights,” she said, adding that her government has made people aware of their rights and made sure that people can enjoy those rights.
The Prime Minister referred to killings and disappearances of hundreds of armed forces personnel, Awami League leaders and activists during military dictator Ziaur Rahman. Their families did not even get the bodies and had not been able to know their faults, she remarked.