The United Nations has clarified that it still maintains its previous stance on Bangladesh and that the congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a regular practice.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary general, made the clarification at a regular press briefing at the UN in New York on Monday.
Referring to the recent letter to the prime minister, a journalist asked if the secretary general disregarded human rights violations and sham elections in Bangladesh while congratulating Sheikh Hasina for renewing state power.
He also sought to know if it is a contradiction with the UN’s previous stance and the statements from its human rights high commissioner on the non-democratic nature of the elections.
The spokesperson responded in the negative and said, “He (secretary general) sent a letter to the Bangladesh prime minister as he does to heads of governments or states when they’re re-elected.”
Regarding the UN’s stance on Bangladesh, he said, “What we have said in the past from this podium, what the human rights high commissioner has said remains unchanged.”
Earlier, another journalist asked the spokesperson about the UN secretary general’s plan on repatriation of the Rohingyas staying in Bangladesh, citing shrinking aids and rising criminal offenses in the area.
Stéphane Dujarric laid emphasis on voluntary and dignified repatriation, saying, “First of all, no one should ever be repatriated. No refugee should be repatriated against their will. It needs to be done voluntarily in a manner that preserves their dignity and their safety.”
He noted the unconducive environment in Myanmar and said, “It is clear for us that the situation in Myanmar currently does not meet the necessary requirements. What we do need is increased global solidarity for those communities that are generously hosting Rohingya refugees, like the community in CoxÕs Bazar, which the secretary general has visited. Because the refugees need our solidarity and the host communities need our solidarity and we need increased funding for all of that.”