Bernicat: Brutal acts do not reflect characteristics of Bangladesh

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat yesterday said the brutal acts that are happening in Bangladesh do not reflect the characteristics of the country.

“What’s been happening here is not at all characteristic of Bangladesh,” she said at the US news channel CNN.

Bernicat said Bangladesh has a long tradition of tolerance, free speech, and diversified religion and culture that has been
cherished.

She said that these attackers are going after anyone who doesn’t believe in their violent ideology and it has created fear here among people.

About the expectation of the US government, she said her administration expects the government and others speak out forcefully to condemn this act of violence and violent extremism.

Lauding the government, she said: “This is the government that has a track record of successfully fighting terrorism.”

Bangladesh has been a very strong partner in fight against terrorism and it is led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and she said on numerous occasions that terrorists have no boundary, no religion and she has zero tolerance to that, Bernicat said.

The US administration is working with the government, civil society, and media to help strengthen Bangladesh to fight against terrorism and prevent violent extremism, she said.

Meanwhile, France has condemned the murders of Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique on April 23, Hindu priest Paramananda Roy April 24, and two LGBT rights defenders, Xulhaz Rahman and Mahbub Tonoy on April 25.

These outrageous killings come in addition to a series of murders, most of them claimed by Daesh, occurring in Bangladesh these last months against civil society members, rights defenders and representatives of religious minorities, said a press release issued by the French Embassy in Dhaka.

France conveys its condolences to the families and friends of the victims and stands aside Bangladesh in its fight against terrorism. The culprits must be brought to justice.

The Embassy of Switzerland through a statement condemned the recent killings of online, cultural and rights activists and members of religious minorities in Bangladesh.

The embassy conveyed deep condolences to the families of the victims, said an embassy press release.

Freedom of expression is deeply rooted in Bangladesh’s long traced tradition of tolerance, harmony and respect for human rights, the principles on which this country was built.

The recent killings constitute a serious threat to the freedom of expression and are grave violations of basic human rights.

The killings need to be investigated and those responsible must be brought to justice.

Protecting the lives of all citizens is critical in order to ensure and guarantee freedom of expression in Bangladesh also in the future, said the Swiss Embassy statement.

Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Greg Wilcock in a statement condemned the recent murders in Bangladesh.

“We trust these acts will be investigated swiftly and that those responsible will face justice.  The victims were respected citizens. We offer our condolences to their families, friends and communities.”

Australia stands with Bangladesh, as it stands with other international partners, in opposing intolerance and violent extremism.