UN rights office alarmed at ‘deepening, disturbing’ political violence

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani. Photo: UN Multimedia

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani. Photo: UN Multimedia

The United Nations human rights office has expressed concern over the rising levels of political violence rippling across Bangladesh amid fears of a return to a state of destructive brinkmanship seen in the run up to the country’s 2014 elections.

“The deepening political violence in Bangladesh, resulting from the failure of the two major political parties to resolve their differences peacefully, is very disturbing,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said today at a press briefing in Geneva.

“We are concerned about the potential for the violence, which already led to deaths, injury and disruption, to spiral,” she added.

In late 2013, as Bangladesh prepared for its imminent elections, supporters of the country’s major parties clashed with each other and with security forces, leaving scores of people dead, hundreds injured, and causing extensive damage to property.

The incidents prompted former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to urge the country’s political leaders to set their differences aside, immediately halt the “destructive brinkmanship” and use their influence to ease the unrest.

According to a press release issued by OHCHR earlier this morning, the current the bout of unrest began on 5 January when the opposition Bangladesh National Party, otherwise known as the BNP, called on its supporters to launch a transport blockade to mark the anniversary of last year’s elections which the opposition had boycotted. The Government, for its part, imposed a ban on demonstrations and prevented senior members of the BNP from attending the protest. Since then, the UN agency explained, over a dozen people have reportedly been killed and hundreds injured in ongoing clashes between supporters of the two parties, as well as with security forces. A number of opposition leaders have also been arrested.

Amid the escalating violence, OHCHR said the “rampant use” of arson attacks on vehicles was “particularly disturbing,” citing a recent incident in which a crowded public bus was set on fire, resulting in the immolation deaths of four people including one child. The same day, a senior BNP advisor was shot at and his car set on fire.

“We urge all political parties to show restraint and to bring an immediate end to the violence,” Ms. Shamdasani continued. “We also call on the authorities to ensure the prompt, impartial and effective investigation of all killings committed – irrespective of whether they were committed by State or non-State actors.”

The OHCHR spokesperson also urged the Government to ensure that all arrests and detentions of key opposition leaders were “not arbitrary,” and that all measures taken to restore law and order are “conducted in line with the parameters set by international human rights law, including respect for the freedoms of peaceful assembly, movement and speech.”

Source: UN.org

2 Responses to UN rights office alarmed at ‘deepening, disturbing’ political violence

  1. Only because BNP led 20 Party Alliance has been able to cripple the whole country through this effective oborodh, pressure is mounting to this anti-people government from national and international players http://www.now-bd.com/2015/01/16/366606.htm http://www.now-bd.com/2015/01/16/366623.htm http://www.now-bd.com/2015/01/16/366474.htm

    Therefore, BNP led 20 Party Alliance must not relax the intensity of the current oborodh. Rather it should be further intensified until the finality regarding a credible election and inclusive election under a neutral administration is achieved.

    Being a patriotic people’s party, BNP must be feeling bad for the sufferings of the people. But the fact is, BNP led 20 Party opposition showed maximum restraint (for last 12 months) for a peaceful settlement of the current political deadlock by dialogue in order to hold an election that is acceptable to the people. Hasina’s regime will have to take all responsibilities from now on if anything goes wrong (all buses are burnt, all garments are set on fire, militancy or targeted killing start taking place etc.) and any inconvenience created to the citizens of this country.

  2. In the current crisis of Bangladesh, the recent statement of the UN Human Right’s Commission is significant. http://www.mzamin.com/details.php?mzamin=NTk2MDE=&sMg== http://www.amadershomoys.com/newsite/2015/01/17/191876.htm

    Navi Pillay’s UNCHR office also indicated that high officials of the current Bangladesh government may be indicted in the International Criminal Court in Hague for the loss of lives due to government’s oppressive and undemocratic stand. http://www.amadershomoys.com/newsite/2015/01/18/191937.htm#.VLrc-S6E7Nk http://www.thedailystar.net/theyre-talking-like-politicians-60426 http://www.amardeshonline.com/pages/details/2015/01/18/265869#.VLrg7C6E7Nk

    Shame of human rights, Bangladesh Human Rights Commissioner may also be indicted for this statement http://www.sheershanews.com/2015/01/17/65467 http://www.now-bd.com/2015/01/17/366948.htm http://www.amardeshonline.com/pages/details/2015/01/18/265774#.VLrhuC6E7Nk

    It seems that relevant parties are working hard to bring the actors of the current atrocities in Bangladesh to justice at the International Criminal Court (ICC) so that further bloodshed can be prevented and rule of law, democratic practices and human rights can prevail in Bangladesh. In the mean time all employees of the Republic must start working for the people’s interest and not carry out any illegal orders of the above-mentioned anti-people officials http://www.amardeshonline.com/pages/details/2015/01/18/265809#.VLrjvC6E7Nk http://www.sheershanews.com/2015/01/17/65437

    Once indicted, the person cannot take political asylum in any country. They will be handed over to the ICC.

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