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We want inclusive polls: Mark Field

UK to put pressure on Myanmar

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Staff Reporter :
The United Kingdom wants to see a free, fair and inclusive general election in Bangladesh with credible results.
 "Certainly the British government, like any democratic governments, is in favour of a fair election that delivers credible results," Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told the media at a press briefing in British High Commission in Dhaka on Friday.
"We hope that all political parties in Bangladesh will take part in the next general election.  I talked to the people of Bangladesh living in UK. They want also a free, fair and participatory election," Mark Field said.
"I also talked to the BNP leaders staying in London. They believe in an inclusive election. I think the next general election of Bangladesh will reflect the opinion of its people," he said.
Mark Field said they along with its international partners will continue to put 'maximum pressure' on Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation and ensuring justice.
"We want to see Rohingyas are allowed to return to Myanmar (from Bangladesh) in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner," Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told the media at a press briefing in British High Commission in Dhaka.
Following the World Refugee Day on June 20 and with the monsoon season just beginning, the UK called on the international community to step up support for the refugees and their host communities.
The UK is leading the way with £129 million of aid already given, he said.
UK Special Envoy for Gender Equality Joanna Roper was, among others, present.
The British Minister of State said they are working in an effective way and will continue to do what they can to hold perpetrators accountable.
Terming Rohingya crisis a major humanitarian crisis, Mark Field said he will be visiting Rohingya camps on Saturday. "I'll be happy to see how the UK and UN agencies are making the difference."
He highly appreciated Bangladesh's generous support to Rohingyas living in Bangladesh.  
"The international community is incredibly grateful to Bangladesh for welcoming over a million of Rohingyas," he said.
Mark Field said they are also incredibly grateful to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in this regard. "I'm looking forward to seeing how the UK aid is helping improve their lives."
He laid emphasis on stepping up support for Rohingyas during monsoon. "The UK is leading the way. We stand ready to do much more."
"The reports of human rights violation in Rakhine State of Myanmar are truly terrific," Mark Field said.
 The British Minister said the UK will continue to put pressure within the international community to ensure that justice is done.
Mark Field and Joanna Roper arrived here early Friday on a three-day visit to discuss the Rohingya crisis, girls' education in Bangladesh, trade and other important issues.
With the gender aspects of the humanitarian crisis often overlooked, Joanna Roper will visit women safe spaces in the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar and meet refugees, humanitarian workers, and civil society leaders to understand the needs of women and girls caught up in the crisis.
"Bangladesh is dealing with a major humanitarian crisis not of its making and it's vital the international community works with Bangladesh to step up support for the refugees and their host communities, especially during this monsoon season," Mark Field said.
Joanna Roper said the UK is determined to be a world leader in advocating for gender equality internationally and it is all too often women and girls who are the greatest victims in a humanitarian crisis like this - whether as a result of sexual violence, or loss of access to education, and they must not be ignored.
Mark Field, appointed on June 13 last year, will meet Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday afternoon.
He will also have a meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam.

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