Why Foreign diplomats in Dhaka must stop meddling in Bangladesh’s internal affairs?
During elections or anti-government movements in Bangladesh, the rush of foreign diplomats increases. Sometimes it goes beyond the bounds of diplomatic etiquette. Elections are internal affairs of any country. The country will decide how the elections will be held. The ambassador of Bangladesh appointed in Washington will certainly not talk about who will participate in the American elections, which party will follow which policy. Even if he talks, it doesn’t seem to be news in any US media. Talking about a country’s internal affairs is sad and meddling. But in our country, it often happens. We invite foreigners and hold meetings with them to resolve our political disputes. The responsibility is definitely ours.
Some foreign ambassadors and heads of international organizations stationed in Bangladesh have started spreading false information against the Bangladeshi government or engaging in egregious interference in its internal affairs in various ways.
We oppose the politicization of human rights concerns, the application of two-tiered standards, and the interference in domestic matters of Bangladesh by those foreign nations and their allies under the guise of protecting human rights.
Article 41 paragraph 1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states in unequivocal terms: “Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that state.”
In addition, the International Court of Justice reaffirmed non-intervention as a norm of customary international law in its ruling in 1986. Some foreign dignitaries based in Dhaka still openly collaborate with anti-Bangladesh elements, destabilizing elements that seek to meddle in our nation’s affairs. Their actions have damaged the spirit of the rule of law and are against international law. Such heinous actions should be condemned by every community that values the rule of law, and it is even our duty to prevent them from occurring.
Some foreign nations and their powerful diplomats based in Dhaka have chosen to disregard the fact that Bangladesh’s democracy has grown and that the majority of the population wants peace and prosperity for the region. But when they criticize Bangladesh’s democratic elections, high level of development, and commitment to human rights and freedoms, they come across as “preachers of democracy,” which only serves to highlight their hypocrisy and attempt to destabilize our nation and halt Bangladesh’s progress toward achieving an honorable reputation on the global stage.
The people of Bangladesh have rights to talk about their own internal affairs as they own to the country. No external forces have the right to interfere with Bangladesh’s internal affairs, which include deciding what kind of electoral system to use and what kind of democratic development path to pursue.
They shouldn’t say things that are careless. Bangladesh will keep taking strong action and vehemently defending our national interests.
It appears that foreign ambassadors have been commenting on election management, election fairness and impartiality in view of the upcoming national parliament elections. Whenever the country’s politicians are out of government, they appear to foreigners with ‘complaints’. This is the political reality here. Interference in internal politics by ambassadors is unethical. But just as diplomats are responsible for conducting unethical activities, the lack of coexistence between the conflicting political parties in Bangladesh is equally responsible. Some political parties have practically embarrassed the government by seeking the cooperation of other countries for the upcoming elections. Foreigners are taking advantage of it. Apart from the resident representative of the United Nations, the ambassador of the twenty-seven-nation, European Union also met with the opposition parties. Their position is clear; Westerners want to see participatory and fair elections. US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas said at the ‘Meet the Ambassador’ event at a hotel in the capital on September 29, “The United States is not in favor of any particular political party. The United States wants inclusive, impartial and transparent elections in Bangladesh. He said, “The responsibility of conducting fair elections is not only the Election Commission, but it is the responsibility of the government, political parties, civil society and all related institutions.”
British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson, who recently visited the temple of Kumudini Homes in Tangail’s Mirzapur for Durga Puja, said that Britain is monitoring the situation around the national elections. They are not worried about the ongoing situation. However, there is no violence surrounding the upcoming elections in Bangladesh; Rather, they want to see a peaceful environment.
Is this very new? The people of our country do not want a peaceful electoral environment without violence? So why do we feel shocked when we hear these things from the mouth of foreign diplomats? All political parties and groups need to get out of the political system of defaming or complaining about the internal affairs of the country. So that foreigners cannot interfere in our internal affairs. Institutionalization of democratic system requires coexistence of government and opposition political parties. Our responsibility and responsibility for our own mistakes and misdeeds is ours as well as our responsibility to correct them.
But the truth is that the influential leaders of the government or the opposition sometimes openly and sometimes secretly maintain contact with the foreign embassies stationed in Dhaka. Their communication is with ambassadors, heads of missions and officials of embassies. Again, some politicians meet with diplomats often at their own request.
In these meetings there is certainly no gossip or laughter. What is said between each other? According to the news published in national dailies, due to the democratic and humane values practiced in their respective countries, most of the Western diplomats have become the topic of discussion of Bangladesh democracy and election turmoil and human rights issues. In this case, the embassies are divided into two categories. One side is the political situation in Bangladesh; Particularly interested in voting, there are other parties who are not interested at all.
For example, the ambassadors of United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia and European Union countries are openly talking about whether the upcoming parliamentary elections will be free or not, whether the voting will be fair or not, how should the polling station environment be.
Again, there are about 50 embassies in Dhaka, which have little interest in the local politics of Bangladesh and the upcoming elections. Among these countries are United Arab Emirates, Russia, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, South Korea, Algeria, Brazil, Bhutan, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Experts believe that diplomats can talk about politics. But that happens in private. There is a possibility that the result will be good. But in our country, nothing is done in secret anymore. Either by informing everyone. When he is in the opposition, he wants to embarrass the ruling party by discussing political issues with the ambassadors. It is believed that this happens because political parties do not have faith or confidence in their own ability to solve various problems including political issues by themselves.
American Ambassador Peter Haas clearly said, “The people of Bangladesh can freely choose their own government, this is what the United States wants.” He said this in an event at a restaurant in Dhaka on September 29.
Ambassadors of 10 European Union (EU) countries representing 28 countries sat in a meeting on October 2 with the Jatiya Party, a partner of the ruling grand coalition. After the meeting with party chairman GM Quader, EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley added a picture in a tweet, saying the mission chiefs were “continuing their regular meetings with political parties” to learn about various issues in Bangladesh.
Earlier, the ambassadors of several influential countries, including the United States and Germany, held a separate meeting with the Election Commission, leaders of some political parties. According to media reports, the diplomats were trying to understand how the upcoming 2023 elections could be, what the party’s strategy would be, under what minimum conditions the all oppositions can go to the elections during most of the meeting. However, after an hour-long meeting at the Election Commission on June 8, Peter Haas said, “The United States is not interested in worrying about which party won.”
According to diplomatic sources, most of the foreign ambassadors in Dhaka do not want to talk about local politics and upcoming elections in public meetings. But among other influential and active countries, the backroom political talk of diplomats in India and China can be heard. Pakistan also inquires, but it is behind the scenes.
When foreign diplomats speak in favor of the party, the party is happy about it, and when it goes against it, the party is upset. It is not certain where this situation will end.
Diplomats working in all international organizations and all foreign missions located in Dhaka, all representatives should be respectfully informed that they are requested to follow the relevant rules and etiquette in conducting diplomatic activities. In view of the recent events, the Ministry of External Affairs would like to respectfully inform everyone that diplomats at the public and private levels will conduct their diplomatic activities in accordance with proper diplomatic protocols. Which is stated in the 1961 Vienna Convention and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular.
The principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States also signifies that a State should not otherwise intervene in a dictatorial way in the internal affairs of other States. The ICJ in the Nicaragua Case referred to “the element of coercion, which defines, and indeed forms the very essence of, prohibited intervention” (ICJ Reports 1986, page 108, para 205).
People outside Bangladesh will find it hard to believe that the top political leaders of Bangladesh’s two major political parties have held meetings with the CDA of a particular country to discuss the country’s election roadmap in the glare of the print and electronic media. The political parties must stop this immediately, for their own sake and for the sake of the country’s pride. They can interact with these diplomats, but they should do so outside the glare of the media and be discreet about these interactions.
The diplomats who are violating the Vienna Convention have the ultimate responsibility of putting things in order here. Diplomats must realise that their more than frequent press and media appearances and meetings with host government officials and politicians on issues of the country’s internal affairs and politics give rise to beliefs and perceptions in the public mind that are incorrect, and could even adversely affect their bilateral relations with Bangladesh while in no way helping to improve our politics or governance. They should also realise that no other capital would allow such violation of the Vienna Convention.
The political parties have a bigger role to play. They know more than anyone else that by discussing the country’s internal affairs with foreign ambassadors and high commissioners, they are humiliating the country to take political advantage against their opponents, advantage that ultimately does not even materialise. It is not just that they are humiliating their own country; they are also humiliating themselves.