UN Calls for Protection of Writers in Bangladesh

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/Pierre Albouy
High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/Pierre Albouy

In the wake of recent violence against publishers, writers, bloggers and civil society groups by extremists in Bangladesh, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned Wednesday the acts and urged the Government to take “urgent, concerted measures to ensure the protection of all those who are being threatened by extremists operating in the country.”

“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 attacked and threatened, apparently by groups that believe they have the right to impose their views on others through wanton violence,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement.

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According to the High Commissioner’s Office (OHCHR), last Saturday, publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan was hacked to death in his office in Dhaka, and in a separate incident, three people at another publishing house in the city were reportedly wounded.

The UN rights office said that Mr Dipan had published the work of a prominent blogger, Avjit Roy, who himself was hacked to death in February this year.

OHCHR reports that three other bloggers were also murdered this year for writing about sensitive social, political and religious issues and added that many others have received threats on social media, where hit-lists targeting writers are being circulated.

According to OHCHR, this has prompted some of those threatened to flee the country or go into hiding.

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