UN Envoy’s visit to Dhaka: Persuaded the two parties for dialogue only

by Barrister Harun ur Rashid | December 11, 2013 5:27 pm

UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco on December 11 said both the ruling Awami League and opposition BNP have agreed to continue the dialogue to end the ongoing political deadlock. “ He should be credited to persuade both the parties to sit for a dialogue.

Senior representatives of Awami League and BNP met and exchanged in a dialogue today and yesterday,” Taranco said at his pre-departure press conference at Hotel Sonargaon this evening. “

A third meeting was agreed between the parties and everyone is praying that dialogue comes to successful end

He expressed his hope that solution to the crisis is still possible if political will is there. The visiting UN official expressed his strong concern about the rising political violence in the recent time across the country saying: “The majority of the victims of the violence are innocent civilians, including women and children.”

The Secretary General sent Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to Dhaka for a four -day trip on 6th December late evening. But he extended it another day. The visit was described as “to broker a political deal” ahead of Bangladesh’s parliamentary elections on 5th January. This is his second trip to Bangladesh as he came in May this year.

This UN has the responsibility to ensure that elections take place peacefully and political power is transferred smoothly without any violence and bloodshed.

Bangladesh has been a responsible member of the UN and plays an active role in all UN agencies. Bangladesh is the 8th most populous country in the country in the world and is located in a strategic region close to India, Myanmar and China. Its political stability is of great interest to all regional countries because countries are closely interconnected than before. Any thing occurs in one country has an impact on other countries.

Because of the political stalemate between the ruling and opposition parties on the nature of poll-time government, blockade include hartal has continued in phases in the country and during the period of 30th November to 5th December, 22 people reportedly died and many are burnt.

Meanwhile the Hong Kong – based Asian Human Rights called upon the UN to intervene in Bangladesh to hold credible and transparent elections. It also said the UN must play in Bangladesh similar to the one it played in Kenya. Bangladesh is a party to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 and has an obligation under Article 2 to take administrative, legislative and judicial initiatives to guarantee the rights of the people

During the visit, to create a conducive environment, Taranco encouraged all electoral stakeholders, in particular political parties, to work together and engage in constructive dialogue in order to achieve inclusive and successful parliamentary polls.

Taranco left Dhaka on December 11 and will report back to the UN chief on the outcome of his Bangladesh visit ahead of the election.

Meanwhile on December 11 the UN Secretary General and US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned PM Hasina expressing their concern and hope for peaceful solution of the political problem.

Brief Profile of Taranco:

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco (born in 1957) is a national of Argentina. Fernandez-Taranco has studied economics and urban-regional economic planning at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of the USA.

With over 25 years of experience with the United Nations, he was appointed as Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs on 1 July 2009. Before his appointment as ASG for Political Affairs, he was Resident Coordinator in the United Republic of Tanzania. Between 1998 and 2001, he served as Resident Representative, UN Resident Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti

From 1994 to 1998, he was Deputy Special Representative of the Administrator of the West Bank and Gaza Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian people. For five years, he also served as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director in the Regional Bureau of Arab States in the United Nations Development Programme.

He joined the UN as a volunteer in Benin in Africa. He is married and has two children.

By Barrister Harun ur Rashid

Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

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