Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz described the reactions of the Western countries toward the Bangladeshi parliamentary election held December 30 as “baffling.”

Talking to the German international broadcaster DW, Riaz said muted reaction of Western countries is surprising. The election was marred by widespread irregularities; international media and Bangladeshi opposition have alleged that there were vote rigging and voter intimidation.

The ruling AL alliance won 288 seats out of 300 parliamentary constituencies across the country; the main opposition alliance, led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), secured only eight seats.

“After insisting on a ‘credible election,’ these countries’ reactions are somewhat baffling to me,” Riaz said. “Unlike India, China, and Russia, these countries have refrained from sending congratulatory messages.” The European Union called the electoral campaign and the vote “tainted,” and the U.S. State Department’s statement mentioned various irregularities and noted that these “undermined faith in the electoral process.”

“It’s incumbent on the international community to act and ensure that the democratic aspirations of the citizens of Bangladesh are not trampled,” Riaz said. “They can’t forget that they have a responsibility to uphold the letter and spirit of Article 21 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration.”