IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE

What the UN human rights chief said about the new government

Taslima Jamal

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called on the “newly elected government” of Bangladesh to take steps to renew the country’s commitment to democracy and human rights. A statement containing his call was published on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Monday.

In the statement, he also expressed regret that the atmosphere of Sunday’s election was marred by violence and suppression of opposition candidates and supporters. “Thousands of opposition supporters were arbitrarily detained or intimidated in the months before the vote,” said Volker Turk. Such tactics are not really conducive to the actual process.”

He said, I request the government to fully consider the human rights of all Bangladeshis and take necessary steps to strengthen the foundations of a truly inclusive democracy in the country.

“All methods of mass arrests, threats, enforced disappearances, blackmailing and surveillance were used by law enforcement officials before the ballot,” the OHCHR statement said. And this vote has been boycotted by the main opposition party Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal (BNP).

The OHCHR said in a statement that political violence, including incidents of arson committed by opposition parties, has also been reported.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said that around 25,000 opposition supporters have been arrested in Bangladesh since October 28; Among them are the leaders of the main opposition parties. At least 10 opposition supporters have reportedly died or been killed in custody in the past two months. This has led to serious concerns about possible torture or harsh conditions after detention.

“Many human rights activists have been forced into hiding and some have fled the country,” the statement said. In addition, dozens of suspected enforced disappearances have been reported; Most of which happened last November.”

Volker Turk said, “These incidents must be investigated independently and those responsible must be brought to justice in a fair and transparent way.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that democracy was won in Bangladesh through hard-fought and should not be turned into a game. Bangladesh has been a role model for development and I sincerely hope that will be reflected in the political and institutional spheres as well. The future of all Bangladeshis is under threat.

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