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Bangladesh
30.09.21
Urgent Interventions

Bangladesh: Killing of prominent Rohingya leader and rights defender Muhib Ullah

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

BGD 003 / 0921 / OBS 100
Killing
Bangladesh
September 30, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bangladesh.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the killing of Muhib Ullah, a prominent Rohingya leader and human rights defender in Bangladesh, chair of the Rohingya organisation Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPHR)[1]. He had fled to Bangladesh with his family members in September 2017, days after Myanmar security forces unleashed a wave of deadly attacks against Rohingya civilians in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in August 2017.

On the evening of September 29, 2021, Muhib Ullah was fatally shot by unknown assailants in his office in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh. He was then rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 8.30pm.

The Observatory recalls that Muhib Ullah worked incessantly to document atrocities committed against Rohingya in Rakhine State, and to establish justice and accountability for these crimes. He also advocated for the rights of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and consistently urged the Myanmar government to recognise and guarantee the rights of Rohingya as a condition for their safe, voluntary, and dignified return to Rakhine State, Myanmar. Because of his activism in the camps, Muhib Ullah was taken into custody and questioned by Bangladeshi authorities several times, and received numerous death threats.

The Observatory further recalls that Muhib Ullah often briefed members of international non-governmental organisations, United Nations mechanisms, and foreign officials during field visits to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. FIDH and OMCT facilitated his participation in the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2019, where he was the first Rohingya refugee ever to make a public speech to the UN body regarding the plight of Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Observatory strongly condemns the killing of Muhib Ullah and urges the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately launch a swift, thorough, and effective investigation into the killing of Muhib Ullah and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The Observatory also urges the Bangladeshi authorities to take all necessary measures to protect all Rohingya refugees and human rights defenders in the country.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Bangladesh, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all the human rights defenders in Bangladesh, and to protect all the Rohingya refugees in the country;

ii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation into the killing of Muhib Ullah in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

iii. Ensure an enabling legal, institutional and administrative environment that effectively guarantees the right to defend human rights and protects human rights defenders in Bangladesh.

Addresses:

  • Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Email: pm@pmo.gov.bd
  • Professor Dr.Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Prime Minister (International Affairs), Bangladesh. Email: advinternational@pmo.gov.bd
  • Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan, State Minister for Home Affairs of Bangladesh. Email: stateminister@mha.gov.bd
  • Mr. Anisul Huq, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of Bangladesh, Email: minoflaw@law.com
  • Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. Email: fm@mofa.gov.bd
  • Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, E-mail: chief@bdcom.com or supremec@bdcom.com
  • Mr. Amin Uddin, Attorney General for Bangladesh, Email: aminuddin1971@gmail.com
  • H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, E-mail: mission.bangladesh@ties.itu.int
  • Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, Belgium, Email: bdootbrussels@skynet.be


Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Bangladesh in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Bangladesh.

***

Paris-Geneva, September 30, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
  • Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39

[1] Founded in 2017 in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh, ARSPHR works peacefully to promote and protect the rights of Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh and to foster accountability for atrocities committed against Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

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