18 June 2008
UK Minister calls for a return to democracy in Bangladesh
Minister for International Development, Shahid Malik, today met with senior
government officials in Bangladesh to discuss progress towards re-establishing a
Shahid Malik met with the Bangladesh Finance Minister at the beginning of a
two-day visit to the country, where the UK currently spends £114 million on
Shahid Malik said:
"Our interests and those of the Bangladesh people are best served by a
stable, prosperous, and democratic Bangladesh.
"Lasting democracy is the ultimate goal. All political sides need to
participate to achieve a smooth transition to a democratically elected
government and the consolidation of recent positive reforms."
Out of a total population of 144 million, 40% live on less
than a $1 dollar a day and 20 million live on less than 16p. Bangladesh is also
extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and by 2035 it is expected
that 40% of the country will be flooded during the monsoon season.
During his trip, Shahid Malik will visit a project in the remote riverine
islands, which are regularly affected by floods. The Minister will see how UK funding is helping
Bangladeshis cope with the effects of climate change.
He will also visit a school in a slum where UK funding means that poor
children can get an education, and will meet garment factory workers who have
achieved basic working rights.
Notes to editors
- In January 2007 rising violence and concerns over voting lists resulted in
a military backed Caretaker Government (CGT) assuming power with the aim of
delivering electoral and anti-corruption reforms. The CGT has said that
democratic elections will take place by December 2008.
- Programme details:
Wednesday 18 June:
- Meeting with Finance Minister Mr Ab Mirza Azizul Islam.
- Visit to a WaterAid project in the Kalshi Taker Bari slum to see how a UK-funded
project has led to better water and sanitation, and empowered local people to
demand these services.
- Launch of the £30 million Rights and Governance Challenge fund that will
support projects that empower people to exercise their human and legal
Thursday 19 June:
- Visit to garments factory in Dada and meet garment workers and the leaders
of a workers' rights group.
- Meeting with the Chief of the Army.
- Visit to a school in Mohakhali slum.
- Shahid Malik MP is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (PUSS)
at DFID. Mr Malik is responsible for
the UK Government development work in South Asia.
- The UK is a long standing partner and the largest bilateral grant donor to
Bangladesh. Total development spending has totalled £480 million over last four years.
- Interviews with Shahid Malik are available upon request. Please contact
Barbara Hewitt, Bangladesh mobile 01713 149937.
For further information, please contact Barbara Hewitt, DFID Press Office +44
207 023 0600, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or