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Foreign Ministry summons UN resident coordinator over Abrar statement

  • Published at 04:20 pm October 13th, 2019
Mia Seppo, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh
UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Earlier, the ministry summoned British High Commissioner to Bangladesh over a Facebook post regarding the murder

The Foreign Ministry has summoned United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo and expressed the government’s dissatisfaction over the statement issued by the UN over the death of Buet student Abrar Fahad.

Nahida Sobhan, director general of the UN wing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, summoned Seppo at her office on Sunday and made the government position over the issue clear to her.

The UN envoy arrived at the foreign ministry office at 11:00am in Dhaka.

“Yes, I did have a meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo and discussed various issues, including the Abrar killing,” Nahida Sobhan told Dhaka Tribune, however, refusing to agree that the meet was anything other than a regular meeting.

However, a senior official of the ministry said the government found it inappropriate for the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator to issue a statement over the issue.

“Mia Seppo has been told the murder had no links with freedom of expression and of the government action that followed after the killing. It was also made clear that the government considers such statement as an interference with the country’s internal affairs,” the senior official added.

In the early hours of October 7, Abrar, a second-year student of Buet’s EEE department, was beaten to death allegedly by leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League inside the university’s Sher-e-Bangla Hall.

On October 9, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh issued a statement over Abrar’s murder, saying: “Freedom of speech is a human right, and nobody should be harassed, tortured or killed for exercising it.”

The UN Bangladesh noted steps taken by the authorities to apprehend alleged perpetrators, the statement read.

It “encourages independent investigations that should lead to justice being served in a fair process, and measures to ensure prevention of further incidents,” according to the statement.

It also mentioned that campus violence in Bangladesh has over the years affected and claimed too many lives, with apparent impunity for those bearing responsibility.

Earlier on October 10, the ministry summoned British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Chatterton Dickson over a Facebook post regarding the killing.

The British High Commission in Dhaka, in a Facebook post on its verified page, said they are shocked and saddened at the events at Buet.

“Shocked and saddened by events at BUET. The UK stands unconditionally for free speech, media freedom, human rights and the rule of law,” the message read.