Information minister Hasanul Haq Inu on Tuesday came down hard on the United Nations and the United States for their statements on the student protests for road safety terming those ‘unfortunate’ and ‘unwarranted’.
‘The statement that the US embassy [in Dhaka] issued is very unfortunate. As the United States statement mentioned, no such incidents of brutal attacks took place on protests of children,’ he told reporters at his office in the secretariat.
‘There is no such report in mass media. Children were in the streets in many areas, there was no brutal attack on them. The US statement does not reflect the real situation,’ Inu observed.
The minister said issuance of such statement was very unfortunate.
‘Issuing this statement, US embassy made an ill attempt to poke its nose in Bangladesh’s internal politics, going beyond norm. We condemn this,’ he said.
Terming the UN’s statement unwarranted, the information minister he urged the UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh to withdraw it and refrain from making such statement in future.
In separate statements on July 5, the UN and the USA expressed concern for the safety of children and young people during protests over road safety and subsequent violence in different parts of the country.
The UN also urgently called upon all parties to keep everyone, including children and young people, safe on the roads and safe from any kind of violence.
‘We are deeply concerned about the reports of violence and call on all for calm,’ United Nations resident coordinator in Dhaka Mia Seppo said in a statement posted in Facebook.
The concerns expressed by youth about road safety ‘are legitimate’ and a solution ‘is needed’ for a mega city like Dhaka, she said, adding that it was a matter of deep concern that a number of young people taking part in demonstrations in the capital were injured over the last few days.
The UN official said students and young people had legitimate right to speak out on issues of concern to them including road safety issues and to have their opinion heard without the threat of violence.
Expressing concern in a separate statement, the US embassy in Dhaka said peaceful demonstrations of the past week in favour of better vehicle and road safety, led by students and school children across Bangladesh, ‘have united and captured the imagination of the whole country’.
While ‘we do not condone’ the actions of a few who have engaged in senseless property destruction, including of buses and other vehicles, the US said nothing ‘can justify the brutal attacks and violence’ over the weekend against the thousands of young people who have been peacefully exercising their democratic rights in supporting a safer Bangladesh.
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