Judicial harassment of Yunus, Tarique and arrest of Tanzilur’s mother raise at UN briefing

UN very much wants to see free and fair elections in Bangladesh: Dujarric

UN very much wants to see free and fair elections in Bangladesh: Dujarric

M Mushfiqul Fazal, UN correspondent

The United Nations very much wants to see free and fair elections in Bangladesh, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said.

He said this at a briefing at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday while replying to a query on Bangladesh’s ongoing situation including judicial harassment against Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus and main opposition party BNP leader Tarique Rahman.

Addressing about more than 160 world leaders’ open letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, UN correspondent M Mushfiqul Fazal asked, “Expressing concern about safety and freedom of Prof Muhammad Yunus, 160 world leaders, including former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former US President Barack Obama and 100 Nobel laureates wrote an open letter to Bangladesh ruling Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In the letter, the world leaders said that Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has recently been targeted by judicial harassment. They also urge for ensuring a free, fair and participatory national election in the coming months and respect for human rights. What is the UN Secretary-General position in this critical situation of Prof Muhammad Yunus as he is engaged with the UN in various capacities?”

In reply, Stéphane Dujarric said, “Well, as we’ve said before, we very much want to see, and I think everyone wants to see free, fair elections coming up in Bangladesh. And I will check on Professor Yunus. I was not aware of the case.”

In another question, this correspondent asked, “Bangladesh government using the country’s court to block the opposition leader’s voices in all types of media. Today, one court has ordered the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to remove all speeches of the main opposition party BNP’s leader Tarique Rahman, from social media platforms. And a woman was arrested in Bangladesh after her son Tanzilur Rahman, a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering at Michigan State University in the United States, made a Facebook post. What is your reaction about it as the incidents are happening in a member state of the UN?”

In reply, spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric, said, “I’m not aware of this particular case. I can tell you that we very much again, hope to see free and fair elections in Bangladesh.”