UN, US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway, CPJ condemn Xulhaz killing
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Robert D Watkins, US Secretary of State John Kerry, UK Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Chargé d'affaires of the Danish Embassy in Dhaka and Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende have condemned the murders of USAID staff Xulhaz Mannan and his friend in Dhaka’s Kalabagan area.
Assailants hacked to death Xulhaz, a local staff member of the USAID and his friend Mahbub Tonoy, 26, a private university student, in a flat yesterday.
The United Nations (UN) has sought effective and prompt investigations by law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of the recent killings in Bangladesh to justice.
“Impunity will only contribute to a climate of intolerance and lead to further incidents of this kind,” said UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Robert D Watkins.
In a statement today on the recent killing of rights activists, he said violent and brutal acts such as they have witnessed over the last few days need to be condemned by all political and religious leaders.
Watkins said the UN in Bangladesh is once again shocked by another series of brutal murders against people expressing alternative views. “There seems to be no end to these premeditated acts against an increasingly wide array of social activists.”
In the most recent incident, he mentioned, Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy fell victims to violent and extremist acts. Both of them were hacked to death at an apartment in Dhaka on Monday.
Intolerance-related violence is increasing in Bangladesh and targeting a growing range of people whose views may not conform with those of the majority, said the UN Resident Coordinator.
“This was also manifested just two days ago by the horrific killing of Prof Rezaul Karim Siddiquee from the University of Rajshahi,” the statement read.
He said the principles of the United Nations stipulate that all individuals have an equal right to live free from violence, persecution, and discrimination.
US SECRETARY OF STATE
Terming the murders as “barbaric”, Kerry has offered his country’s full support to the Bangladesh government as they investigate these murders and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We are profoundly saddened by the loss of one of our own in such a senseless act of violence, and we extend our deepest condolences to Xulhaz’s family and loved ones,” Kerry said in a statement issued yesterday.
Kerry said Xulhaz, who worked for the United States Agency for International Development, was a trusted colleague, a beloved friend, and advocate for human rights and dignity in Bangladesh.
“In many ways, he embodied the spirit of the people of Bangladesh and the pride with which they guard their traditions of tolerance, peace, and diversity,” he added.
Kerry further said: “We remain committed to the principles that were so important to Xulhaz, and we promise to support all those who work on behalf of tolerance and human rights in Bangladesh and around the world,” he added.
Terming the recent killings in Bangladesh as senseless murders, UK Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire, in his tweet, said, “The killers must be brought to justice.”
In a statement, Dr Thomas Prinz, German ambassador to Bangladesh, said, “This is not only an attack on two brave individuals, but also an attack on the freedom of expression in this country.”
He called upon the government to take all necessary steps to ensure a swift and thorough investigation.
“We have seen far too many incidents like this in the past months. Now is the time for the whole society to stand up and defend the fundamental right of freedom of expression. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the deceased,” he added.
In a statement issued yesterday, CPJ's Asia Programme Coordinator Bob Dietz said, "Authorities must immediately investigate the murder of Xulhaz Mannan, and bring the perpetrators to justice."
"Journalists and intellectuals are under attack in Bangladesh and the government has done little to end the murderous mayhem or to ensure the safety of at-risk groups," the statement read.
Denmark has expressed condemnation at the recent murders and increase in violent attacks on individuals and minority groups in Bangladesh.
“We condemn these brutalities strongly and urge the Government of Bangladesh to take a strong position to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Chargé d'affaires of the Danish Embassy in Dhaka said in a statement today
“We also call on the Government to make a serious effort to safeguard freedom of expression and freedom of religion in Bangladesh. We will continue to support efforts to ensure that all citizens of Bangladesh are able to express their views freely and without fear,’’ he said.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende has said all victims represented religious minorities or non-religious, secular trends in Bangladesh and the killings were motivated by religious extremism.
In a statement available in the facebook of Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka, he said “Bangladesh has long and proud traditions as an open and versatile society but these killings threat the freedom of expression.”
It is the responsibility of the Bangladeshi authorities to defend basic rights and to bring the killers to justice, said the Norway's foreign minister.
AIN O SALISH KENDRA
Meanwhile, Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) expressed its condemnation and grave concern at the murders of USAID staff Xulhaz Mannan and his friend.
In a statement sent to the media, it said, “We urge the government to investigate the heinous killings and inform the people of the country the real fact as well to take stern action against the killers.”