The Mouse Squeaks in Bangladesh

Experts say the letter of adherence to the Geneva Conventions means the government does not want foreigners to interfere in the country's internal affairs. Therefore, foreign diplomats have been warned ahead of national elections.

5 mins read
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on September 6 to discuss deals on connectivity, energy, food security and trade. [ Photo © AP]

People in Bangladesh want the upcoming national elections to be held in a festive atmosphere and improve the atmosphere so that voters can vote for the candidate of their choice. And that will be sure as shooting.

But it is grossly offensive to decency or morality that foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka are all rabbiting on over the next general election in Bangladesh, whereas their own countries are at colossus faults in many affairs including the election processes. So, when they want to prescribe us in our national matters, we can take them as if rogues supplant justice.

The next parliamentary elections are still more than a year away. However, like every other time, foreign diplomats are becoming involved in Bangladesh’s election process. But they must cease their interference in the national matters of Bangladesh. The government also does not take kindly to their criticisms and opinions on the election process and the internal affairs of the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already informed the foreign diplomats working in Bangladesh to stop all these trumperies.

We remind them of the Geneva Conventions to observe etiquette. Besides, media representatives must not ask any question to the foreign diplomats about our election process.  

Last July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded foreign diplomats working in Bangladesh to comply with the Vienna Code of Conduct. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a letter in this regard to the United Nations office located in Dhaka, all international organizations and all foreign missions located in Dhaka on July 18. But the statements of the diplomats and their continuous close interaction with the opposition political camps have not yet decreased.

In addition, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. AK Abdul Momen and State Minister Shahriar Alam also urged the diplomats to speak according to etiquette. The foreign minister also expressed his anger at the behaviour of diplomats.

Experts say the letter of adherence to the Geneva Conventions means the government does not want foreigners to interfere in the country’s internal affairs. Therefore, foreign diplomats have been warned ahead of national elections.

Earlier on June 13, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was told in the meeting of the National Committee on Security at the initiative of the Cabinet Division that the diplomats of various foreign missions located in Bangladesh should be requested to comply with the Vienna Convention. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting.

And so, on July 18, the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes the United Nations Office in Dhaka, all international organizations and diplomats and representatives working in all foreign missions located in Dhaka to follow the relevant rules and etiquette in conducting diplomatic activities.

In view of the recent events, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to respectfully inform everyone that diplomats at the public and private levels shall conduct their diplomatic activities in accordance with the proper diplomatic protocol as stipulated in the Vienna Convention of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs of 1963.

In the letter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promises on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh that the Government will provide all the necessary support to all diplomatic missions, UN offices and all international organizations to work.

Several foreign diplomats working in Dhaka said that it is not their job to interfere in Bangladesh’s internal issues. They want everything in the country to go well and be peaceful. This is not true. They say one thing, but they do diametrically the opposite.

Investors from many countries have invested and are doing business in Bangladesh. For this, we want a stable environment and do not want any unstable situation to be created in Bangladesh.

German Ambassador Akhim Troster, Netherlands Ambassador Annie Von Leeuwen and European Union Ambassador Charles Whiteley held a meeting with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on July 24.

After the meeting, German ambassador Akhim Troster said in a tweet that it is the main responsibility of diplomats to keep in touch with the political parties and institutions of the host country. So, their temerity is irremissible under any setting.

A meeting was held with Awami League General Secretary, Roads and Communications Minister Obaidul Quader and his colleagues on July 24. The European Union and its member states are tested friends of Bangladesh. Ambassador of the Netherlands Anne Von Leeuwen said in a tweet that a diplomat always tries to communicate with all partners to understand the situation of the host country and to advance development. This abracadabra harangue is not worthy of acceptance or satisfactory.

On June 2, the US Ambassador to Dhaka invited five representatives of civil society to lunch at his residence on the issue of the upcoming national elections. Several representatives of the civil society who participated in the lunch at that time said that America and Europe have great interest in the upcoming national elections. Look at how much brazen-faced and insolent Uncle Sam is!

Former Additional Secretary and Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mahfuzur Rahman said, the last July letter is a warning. Basically, ahead of the national elections, the government is warning foreign diplomats in advance that the government does not want to see any foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Because, past experience has shown that foreign diplomats have also entered the country’s politics with their own evil agenda. If the government party and the opposition parties, i.e. all political parties, are responsible, there is no chance for foreigners to turn their noses up.

Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen said that the foreign diplomats posted in Bangladesh are mature. We believe they will follow diplomatic etiquette. When asked whether the government can make a statement or protest to prevent foreign diplomats from commenting on Bangladesh elections, the minister said, “We believe that the diplomats in our country are mature. They are honorable people. We trust that they will follow diplomatic etiquette.”

Regarding the recent comments of the US ambassador Peter Haas about the upcoming parliamentary elections, the foreign minister told the reporters that because the journalists asked questions to the ambassadors, they commented on the internal affairs of Bangladesh. He said, “You force him. The poor man was forced to answer. It is better if you don’t go up to foreign countries.”

Come to us. They dare to speak because some of our people go to them. The foreign minister said, due to the colonial mentality, we still prefer something foreign. We have to get out of this habit.

Abdul Momen said, democracy is different in different countries. Bangladesh is the leader of democracy. We gave blood for democracy in 1971, 3 million people gave their lives. Where else in the world? We have struggled in this country when people’s voices have been stifled. When people’s right to democracy is taken away.

He also said that when the genocide was happening in this country in 1971, they did not even come close to us. When the genocide was going on in Myanmar, no one gave shelter to those people. Who did it, Bangladesh did it. Sheikh Hasina has opened the border. Protected human rights.

The foreign minister also said that the current government is committed to conducting free, fair and transparent elections and is not in favour of the death of a single citizen of the country during the election process. We are trying so that not a single person dies.

He said, there are good and bad in every country’s democracy. It is not always accurate. It’s a process. Democracy matures through efforts. We also have weaknesses. We are trying to work out how to fix the vulnerability. This does not mean that they are the best. They also have weaknesses, problems…

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said that foreign diplomats should not talk about the internal politics of Bangladesh. They should speak according to etiquette. They should mind in their own business. An old but significant proverb reminds us, “Let not the shoe-maker go beyond his last.”

-The End-

Anwar A. Khan is an independent political analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh who writes on politics, political and human-centred figures, current and international affairs

1 Comment

  1. বাংলাদেশের অবস্থা হচ্ছে “গরীবের বউ সকলের ভাবীর মতো”!কোন ভাবেই বিদেশী রাষ্ট্রদূতদের হস্তক্ষেপ হতে রক্ষা পাওয়ার কোনো রক্ষাকবচ সরকারের হাতে নেই!

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