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POST TIME: 11 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
free and fair polls in Bangladesh
New UN rights chief stresses freedom of expression
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT

New UN rights chief stresses freedom of expression

Michelle Bachelet, the new United Nations high commissioner for human rights, has placed great emphasis on ensuring freedom of expression, which she described as indispensible for free and fair elections in Bangladesh. She also urged the authorities to bring to justice those who are responsible for the attacks on students demanding safer roads and journalists.

“In Bangladesh – a country to be commended for hosting so many refugees and for its success in poverty reduction – student protestors and media professionals have in recent months been attacked, arrested, charged with defamation and, reportedly, ill-treated,” said the high commissioner while making her opening statement to the 39th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.

“The perpetrators of this violence must be held accountable to prevent recurrence,” she said.  “The Government should do more to ensure freedom of expression, which is indispensable for free and fair elections,” she added. “Troubling reports also indicate that an anti-narcotics drive has led to over 220 killings, and thousands of arrests, with allegations of extrajudicial executions,” said Bachelet, a national of South American country of Chile.

“Drug issues everywhere are best tackled through a focus on health, education and opportunities – not the death penalty, or death squads. The Office has submitted a report to this session on more effective, and human rights compliant, measures to address narcotics issues,” she said.