EU intends to visit CHT and keep watch before the election

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Hill Voice, 11 July 2023, International Desk:  The delegation of European Union (EU) visiting in Bangladesh said that it wants to visit the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) to talk to various administrations, political parties and people of various professions and to keep the hilly area under observation for 6 weeks before the upcoming National parliamentary election.

The Additional Secretary to the CHT Affairs Ministry Md. Aminul Islam said that today 10 July, 2023, around 1:30 PM in Dhaka, the European Union delegation said it in a meeting held with the officials of the Ministry.

After the meeting Md. Aminul Islam, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of CHT Affairs said that the six-member delegation of the EU wants to visit to the three hill districts and have discussion with the administration and the law enforcement agencies. Besides, the delegation wants to talk to different political parties and people of different classes and professions in the hill region. In this regard, they have sought assistance from the Ministry of CHT Affairs.

Additional Secretary Md. Aminul Islam added that they want to monitor the CHT for 6 weeks before the election. They will come during election time. We have said that the Election Commission is the authority to look into it. Additionally, we requested from our part that as these are three special districts, there are some security issues. Although comparatively the overall situation is now much better than before.

Regarding to talk to people from different political parties and classes there, we have said that since it is election-centric, the Election Commission will look into the matter. It is not our concern.

Additional Secretary added about going to three districts of CHT, the matter deals with the Ministry of Home Affairs as we do. I have said about giving all out cooperation from our side. This ministry is the Ministry of Administration and Development. We have nothing to do with election. So we will provide all kind of assistance for staying, visiting or movement. If they go there, the ministry will give them all kinds of administrative support.

He added that they have come on the invitation of the government. They came as election observers and that is their purpose. We said, since it is their election-centric visit, it will be decided by Election Commission. It is not our part. They did not say when they would visit. We have said that they are our guests and we will provide all kinds of administrative help. The Election Commission will see the matter what they will do there. We informed them about the situation that there are local administrations, local law enforcement agencies and army. So we told them to keep the security issue in mind.

It is worthmentiong that according to the constitution, the term of the running government expires at the end of this year. Therefore, yesterday 9 July 2023, a 6-member electoral investigation delegation of the European Union came to Dhaka to assess the overall situation of the upcoming national parliament election. The delegation is scheduled to conduct dialogue with Bangladesh government, political parties, civil society, media and various stakeholders for two weeks till July 23. As a part of that, today the visiting EU delegation sat in a meeting with the officials of the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs.