UN resident coordinator summoned 

Diplomatic Correspondent | Updated at 12:14am on October 14, 2019

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Mia Seppo

The government summoned UN resident coordinator in Dhaka Mia Seppo on Sunday and expressed annoyance over a statement made by her office involving freedom of expression in Bangladesh.

Mia was asked to see foreign ministry director general Nahida Sobhan who conveyed the annoyance of the government in a meeting with the UN official at the ministry.

The resident coordinator’s office in Dhaka had issued a statement on October 9 describing the killing of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology student Abrar Fahad allegedly for exercising his freedom of expression. ‘Freedom of speech is a human right, and nobody should be harassed, tortured or killed for exercising it,’ it said.

The statement of that the UNRC’s office made linking Abrar killing and freedom of expression in Bangladesh was unwarranted and annoying and the ministry conveyed it to Mia, a foreign ministry official said adding that the statement was made after the government had taken substantive measures on arresting the people involved in the murder.  

Mia was told that the government did not curtail freedom of expression in the country, according to foreign ministry officials.

Mia declined to comment when reporters approached on Sunday at the ministry.

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 in the early hours of October 7 for a Facebook post criticising the signing of instruments during the visit of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to India.

The UNRC’s office said campus violence in Bangladesh claimed too many lives with apparent impunity for those bearing responsibility.

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.

Earlier on October 10, the foreign ministry conveyed the government’s annoyance over a similar incident to a senior British diplomat in Dhaka.