DHAKA: Local and foreign dignitaries have urged Bangladesh government to be serious in protecting human rights and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Several human rights and humanist organizations including Center for Inquiry, Mukto-mona, Humanistisch Verbond, The Hague Peace Project, PEN, etc, leading a diverse and international coalition of distinguished scholars, intellectuals, human rights advocates, and human rights organizations of Bangladesh and around the world, rally in a joint statement to condemn Bangladesh government officials for callously blaming the victims of deadly attacks by Islamist extremists for expressing their opinions.
Michael De Dora from Center for Inquiry, Rafida Ahmed Bonya from Mukto-mona and Paulien Boogard from Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Association) issued a press release on Sunday (May 15) in this regards.
Signatories to the statement included Professor Ajoy Roy, retired Dhaka University Professor and father of assassinated blogger Dr. Avijit Roy, writer and Professor Anu Muhammad of Jahangirnagar University, economist Professor M. M. Akash of Dhaka University, Professor Ali Riaz of Illinois State University- USA, Rana Dasgupta - general Secretary, Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council, National Vice President (External Affairs & Public Relation) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, Bangladesh Ahmad Tabshir Choudhury, prominent feminist and human rights activist Khushi Kabir, Journalist, columnist, writer and former joint secretary general of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Shuvo Rahman, associate professor Dipen Bhattacharya, PhD, of Riverside College District California, USA, Dhaka University associate and assistant professors- Kaberi Gayen, Moshahida Sultana, Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, PhD, Samina Luthfa, PhD, photographer, writer and curator of Drik picture library-Shahidul Alam PhD, feminist and human rights activists, writers and poets- Audity Falguni, Supriti Dhar, Choity Ahmed, Muktasree Chakma Sathi, and supreme court advocate- Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua.
Signatories also included exiled poets Taslima Nasreen and Daud Haider, novelist Salman Rushdie, Emeritus Professor Richard Dawkins of University of Oxford, author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author and religious scholar Reza Aslan, Johnstone Professor of Psychology of Harvard University- Steven Pinker, spokesman of ex-Muslims -Maryam Namazie, writer and activist- Maajid Nawaz, author and neuroscientist Sam Harris, author Ibn Warraq filmmakers and activists Deeyah Khan and Nakul Singh Sawhney, philosopher and author professor P.B. Cliteur, PhD, Dr. Colin Gonsalves- senior advocate of supreme court of India and chairman of Human Rights Law Network; and many other writers, poets, artists, authors, journalists, translators, activists.
Professors, scholars and researchers of Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, University of Oxford, Harvard University, Illinois State University, University of Oklahoma, University of Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Leiden, Ohio University, University of Pennsylvania, University of South California, Syracuse University, Columbia University, University of Zurich, University of New York at Oswego, University of Western Ontario, Georgia State University, University of California, Arizona State University, Anglia Ruskin University- Cambridge, Sapienza University of Rome, University of Leeds, Texas A & M International University, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Oslo, Washington State University, University of Newcastle, NSW, University of East London, University of Chicago, Cornell University, University of Michigan, James Madison University, Shimin Gaikou Centre, Oslo and Akershus University College, Columbia College Chicago, City College of New York, NLA University college, Ithaca College- NY are also in the list.
The joint statement, endorsed by 45 human rights and humanist organizations including Freedom House, the PEN American Center, the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, American Humanist Association, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-Asia), Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Council of Australian Humanist Societies, Federation of Indian Rationalist Association (FIRA), European Humanist Federation, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Organizing Committee of Chittagong Hill Tracts Campaign, PEN American Center, PEN Nederland, Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom, Rationalist Society of Australia, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and Swedish Humanist Association, called upon Bangladesh to “stop citing religion as a justification to refuse the rights of certain Bangladeshis in public statements” and to categorically condemn violent attacks against all those who exercise their right to free expression.
Bangladesh is urged to bring the perpetrators to justice, and to protect the freedoms of religion, belief, and expression for all of its people, including atheists, secularists, religious and ethnic minorities.
BDST: 1951 HRS, May 15, 2016