US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas today noted that the number of extrajudicial killings has significantly gone down since the US sanctions imposed last December on RAB. He saw this “as a good sign”.
The US ambassador made the remarks at “Meet the Ambassador” event organised by Center for Governance Studies and German think tank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung at a Dhaka hotel.
Political parties, academics and former diplomats were present at the event.
Haas said the sanctions imposed by the US against RAB and seven of its former and current officials were not intended to punish them but to change the behaviour and hold them accountable.
Responding to a question, the US ambassador said there has been no change in their policy and the sanctions are still in place.
Sanctions will remain until there is accountability and reform, he said.
“We are looking for accountability for past incidents,” said the US ambassador.
Haas also said that peaceful and fair elections are not possible if there is violence.
He laid emphasis on free, fair and inclusive elections in Bangladesh and expressed concerns over the recent political violence.
Talking further on elections, he said, “I keep saying free, fair and transparent elections in accordance with international standards. I’m happy to add inclusive to it.”
The US ambassador touched upon various aspects of Bangladesh-US relations, including trade, labour rights, regional and global politics, and Indo-Pacific strategy.
Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in terms of workplace safety in the export-oriented industries, he said, adding that the US still has concerns in the area of labour rights.
Zillur Rahman, Executive Director of Centre for Governance Studies (CGS), moderated the session.