Friday, September 7, 2007

Bangladesh Denied Invitation

Freedom House Press Release
September 6, 2007

The Community of Democracies, a global club for the world's old and new democracies, has decided which governments merit invitation to its meeting of foreign ministers scheduled for November in Bamako, Mali. The end result, after months of deliberations, is “largely credible,” according to a consortium of groups monitoring the process.

The final list of 126 participating and 20 observer states, issued by the Government of Mali as chair of the body’s steering committee, follows recommendations made in February by an independent panel of high-level experts, with some notable exceptions.

The diverse group of 16 governments that make up the Community of Democracies Convening Group, which is responsible for issuing invitations to the club’s fourth ministerial meeting, decided not to invite Thailand, Fiji, Singapore, Qatar, Venezuela, Bangladesh and Tunisia, all of whom had participated in or observed the last meeting held in Santiago in 2005. Their exclusion is consistent with the recommendations of the experts panel and underscores the Convening Group’s determination to keep out those governments which have failed to uphold the democracy and human rights commitments of the group...

To read the International Advisory Committee’s recommendations, click here.

Bangladesh Watchlist status provides the following assessment:
"...Currently, the political system has collapsed as the army used its influence to stop elections which, according to international observers, were likely to have been rigged by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to secure itself another term. Even if the army were to support a return to democratic procedures and the reform intentions of the current administration materialized, it will take time to correct the voter list, issue voter-identity cards, set up a new independent election commission, and purge the bureaucracy. This is widely regarded as not being achievable before the July monsoon, which pushes polls back to the final quarter of 2007. Until then, political rights remain seriously infringed and democratic procedures suspended".

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