Campus killing, violence matters of grave concern: UN

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 14:33, Oct 09,2019 | Updated: 00:22, Oct 10,2019


UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo addresses a meeting organised by Diplomatic Correspondents Association at BIISS auditorium in Dhaka on Wednesday. — New Age photo

The United Nations on Wednesday deplored campus violence in Bangladesh and said killing in educational institutions was a matter of grave concern.

Replying to a question on the murder of a student at BUET, UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo said the pattern of violence in university campuses was ‘worrisome and horrible’.

She called for prompt and independent investigations into the killing of BUET student Abrar Fahad and an end to the culture of impunity.

Mia was speaking at a function organised by Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh in Dhaka.  

Abrar, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, was cruelly beaten to death in the dormitory he used to reside by several students who were leaders of BUET unit of ruling Awami League’s student front Bangladesh Chhatra League on Monday night. 

‘As a parent two university going children, thinking that this could happen to them on the campus, it is obviously a horrific nightmare,’ she said on a personal note.

I think the parents need to be able to trust that there children are safe in universities, just as there is a need to believe that the people are safe in public spaces, she said. 

The resident coordinator’s office in Dhaka had issued a statement earlier on Wednesday deploring the killing of Abrar, allegedly for freely expressing his views.

‘Freedom of speech is a human right, and nobody should be harassed, tortured or killed for exercising it,’ it said.

Campus violence in Bangladesh claimed too many lives with apparent impunity for those bearing responsibility, it said.

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

But it stressed the need for independent investigations that should lead to justice being served in a fair process, and measures to ensure prevention of further incidents.

Mia said the new human rights commission should take up the case of Abrar killing and added, ‘This would be a chance for the commission to show its capacity to tackle issues of grave public concern.’

On other issues involving engagements of Bangladesh, she hoped that Bangladesh would strengthen civil and political human rights protection through actions in some critical areas.

‘There has been concern about shrinking civic spaces, and the ability of the people, whether they are academics, students or a person in the street, to express freely their opinions on political and other matters of public interest,’ he said.

Emphasising on the need of independence and effectiveness of the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh the UNRC hoped that the government would amend the law and the selection procedure of the in such a way that more independence would be ensure in future.  

She also stressed that Bangladesh would require to change its offer to peacekeeping to remain relevant in the changing scenario of peacekeeping globally.

On resolving the Rohingya crisis, Mia said the root causes of this crisis ‘lie in Myanmar’ and the failure in starting the repatriation is also theirs.

The Myanmar authorities required to take steps for creating conducive environment for building trust and confidence among Rohingya people to go back home in Rakhine, she added.

DCAB president Raheed Ejaz and general secretary Nurul Islam Hasib also spoke on the occasion.

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