Political activists should not be jailed: UN

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Staff Reporter :
The United Nations has reaffirmed its commitment to the protection of individuals, including political activists, emphasising that imprisonment for expressing dissenting opinions is unacceptable.

It has further underscored the importance of upholding international human rights laws.

During a briefing on Monday, Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, addressed a journalist’s inquiry regarding the Secretary-General’s stance on the UN Human Rights Commission’s call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political activists in Bangladesh.

In response, Dujarric expressed the UN’s unwavering commitment to the principle that individuals should never face imprisonment solely for expressing their political opinions.

He emphasised that releasing individuals, particularly when they have not been charged, is essential to align with international human rights norms.

“As a matter of principle, we believe that people should never be jailed for expressing their political opinions, and they should be released, especially if not charged,” stated the UN Spokesperson.

Regarding the freedom of expression and the human rights, the UN always advocates the protection of individuals’ right to voice their opinions without fear of unwarranted detention or persecution.

The UN’s stance serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding fundamental rights and freedoms as outlined in international human rights law.

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On October 28 last year, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) organised a grand rally in front of its party headquarters in Nayapaltan as part of their political movement demanding for the dissolution of the parliament and the formation of a caretaker government to conduct 12th parliamentary election.

But the rally faced disruption due to violent incidents spreading in and around the Naya Paltan and adjoining areas.

On the other hand, thousands of leaders and workers of Awami League swarmed at Bangabandhu Avenue situated at Gulistan, just the southern side of Naya Paltan.

Subsequently, BNP rally was foiled and law enforcement initiated a nationwide crackdown, reportedly apprehending 25,000 BNP leaders and members.

During the aftermath, BNP asserted that they were not responsible for the violence.

Instead, they alleged that the ruling party and law enforcement disrupted the rally, citing the false pretext that the residence of the Chief Justice was under attack.

However, the mass arrest of BNP activists and leaders drew international attention and faced criticism.

Various international entities, including the United Nations, at that time called upon the government to release the detained BNP leaders and workers, urging the authorities to uphold their right to express political opinions.