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UN Concerned Over Bangladesh Election ‘Reprisals’

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The United Nations has voiced concern over the violence and alleged human rights violations in Bangladesh before, during and after recent elections held on December 30.

More than a dozen people were killed in election-related violence and the election campaign was dogged by allegations of the arrests and jailing of thousands of opponents of the newly elected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“There are worrying indications that reprisals have continued to take place, notably against the political opposition, including physical attacks and ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests, harassment, disappearances and filing of criminal cases,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Shamdasani called on authorities to carry out prompt, independent investigations and to take urgent measures to prevent further reprisals.

“Reports suggest that violent attacks and intimidation, including against minorities, have been disproportionately carried out by ruling party activists, at times with complicity or involvement of law enforcement officers,” Shamdasani said.

Hasina’s Awami League (AL) party won 96 percent of seats during Bangladesh’s parliamentary elections on Sunday.

An AL-led coalition won a massive 288 seats, while the main opposition alliance dominated by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secured just six.

Hasina is set to form her third consecutive government and fourth overall.

The most prominent jailed opposition figure is Hasina’s archrival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who was handed down a five-year sentence in February 2018, and deemed ineligible to run for office, for a corruption charge her supporters say was politically motivated.

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