UN condemns attacks on bloggers, publishers
The UN today strongly condemned the continuing violent attacks against bloggers and publishers in Bangladesh and urged the government to take urgent measures to protect the ones being threatened by extremists.
“At least five Bangladeshi writers and publishers as well as two foreign aid workers have been violently murdered this year in Dhaka and many more are attacked and threatened, apparently by groups that believes they have the right to impose their views on others through wanton violence,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.
“There is an urgent need for a concerted response to prevent more killings by promptly bringing the perpetrators to justice. The State must not allow extremist groups to take matters into their own hands.” the High Commissioner said, according to a statement issued from UN in Geneva.
Last Saturday, publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan was hacked to death in his office in Dhaka while in a separate incident on the same day, another publisher and two other bloggers were attacked.
Dipan had published the work of the prominent blogger, Avjit Roy, who was hacked to death in February this year. Three other bloggers have been murdered this year, all of whom had written about sensitive social, political and religious issues.
Many others have received threats on social media and have come up on hit-lists published on Facebook. Some of the people who have been threatened have gone into hiding or fled the country.
“I urge political and religious leaders to consistently and unequivocally condemn this spate of vicious killings and threats against writers and publishers and anyone else who may be targeted by these takfiri groups,” Zeid said.
Zeid stressed that the State must ensure that journalists, civil society actors and human rights defenders are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and opinion without fear for their safety.
“When people have been explicitly threatened with violence or murder, it is the duty of the State to provide them with effective protection,” the High Commissioner said.