A section of foreign diplomats of some influential countries in Dhaka is allegedly violating provisions of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations by making statements in public on the internal affairs of Bangladesh.
International affairs analysts said Bangladesh has been witnessing such tendency of diplomats for the last 15 years and the breach of the diplomatic norms becomes more evident particularly when country’s political situation turns violent.They term such activities of foreign diplomats a ‘gross violation’ of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Optional Protocols of 1961.
Former foreign secretary Waliur Rahman told the daily sun it is very unfortunate that some foreign diplomats make comments in public on the domestic affairs of Bangladesh.
“This is undue, unfriendly, unethical and an insult to the country,” said
Waliur, also a former diplomat, who is serving as an aide to the Prime Minister on International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh.
He said the Vienna Convention does not endorse such activities of diplomats.
In reply to a query, the former ambassador said the convention permits a diplomat expressing his/her opinions only through proper diplomatic channels.“They can’t make any such comments in public and these [comments] in no way are acceptable,” he noted.
Waliur Rahman also urged foreign diplomats to be friend, not to be a master and to behave like a friend of Bangladesh.
Responding to another question, he said a bad habit has been developed among some opposition politicians of the country to drag foreigners into domestic affairs.
There are some politicians who are used to complain to foreigners about internal affairs, but they must understand that they are tainting image of the country, nothing else, he said.
AKM Atiqur Rahman, former secretary of the foreign ministry, told the daily sun that the diplomats have been prohibited from interfering in domestic affairs of the country by the Vienna Convention.
The article sub-article (1) of the article 41 of the convention bars diplomats from interfering in the internal affairs of the receiving state, he said.
He referred to the article that reads, “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.”
Ambassador Atique said there is no such practice anywhere in the world except for Bangladesh as diplomats comply with the provisions of the Vienna Convention everywhere.
“It’s very much regrettable and shameful for us that foreign diplomats come up with their remarks in public whenever storm gathers in our political sky,” he added.
“For such a shameful condition, I will never blame foreign diplomats, rather I would like to hold our politicians irrespective of their party affiliations responsible,” he also said.
The politicians of Bangladesh must think about the image and prestige of the country before dragging foreign diplomats into the domestic affairs, he observed.
If they can understand that such kinds of activities of them mar the image of the country, the situation will change forever, he said.
The former career diplomat said the foreign diplomats in Dhaka who are engaged in such practices should realise that what they are doing is not only violation of the Vienna Convention, but also immoral.
He said foreign diplomats have rights to maintain good ties and develop intimacy with any citizen of their receiving country, but it’s their sacred duty to restrain from meddling in the domestic affairs.
As asked whether foreign diplomats can give advice on different issues as they are development partners of Bangladesh, he said why they are making comments on the internal politics.
They can give advice and share experiences about other matters, including development through diplomatic channel, but their opinions on the political affairs are not acceptable at all, he mentioned.
“I have long been writing about the issue so that both foreign diplomats and politicians can realise the gravity of the fact,” he added.