June 13, 2007

Democracy, Too, Slides in Bangladesh

Even as Bangladesh reels from lethal mudslides, the nation’s political establishment is in chaos following the suspension of the legislature, and the arrest of thousands by the military as part of an alleged anti-corruption campaign.

Now the European Union has expressed “deep concern” over rights violations and claims of the extra-judicial killing of almost 100 individuals, Agence France-Press reports.

Those arrested include leaders of two of Bangladesh’s main political parties, as well as the son of a former prime minister.

An editorialist writing under a pseudonym for United Press International says the crackdown follows two years of political discord, strikes and unrest that caused the most harm to average citizens through failing social services and economic decline.

Most of all, he says, Bangladeshis are confused. Local media are full of reports of bribery and political patronage, but offer no criticism of the military regime, leaving the question of a restoration of democracy unanswered.

Even as political and human rights fears deepen, China’s new ambassador to Bangladesh expressed great enthusiasm for the nation’s economic potential.

“Bangladesh has a large potential market with huge population and low-price skilled labour,” Zheng Qingdian said in a recent interview with the UNB news service in Dhaka.

Sources:

“EU demands probe into rights violations in Bangladesh”
Agence France-Presse, June 9, 2007

“China concerned over Bangladesh situation”
UNB (Dhaka), June 11, 2007

“Commentary: Abusive past, dramatic present and confusing future for Bangladesh”
UPA Asia, June 11, 2007

Comments are closed.