Since 2017, Asad Noor – a human rights activist and secular blogger – and his family have been facing intimidation, death threats, and harassment from State and non-state actors. The UN rights experts laid a detailed timeline of reports about the experiences of Noor in their letter to the Bangladesh government.
Noor is currently in hiding due to the threats on his life by Muslim fundamentalists, while his family remains a target for harassment by the authorities.“We express grave concern at the alleged persecution and prosecution of Mr. Noor,” the UN rights experts said, “for the exercise of his human rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, opinion and expression.”
They also reminded the Bangladesh government of its “obligation to protect life, to investigate abuses against individuals and if appropriate, to prosecute and punish those responsible.”
Notably, the experts pointed out that Noor’s case is not an isolated case, but is part of a “pattern of persistent harassment, intimidation and violence against journalists, bloggers, freethinkers, atheists, writers, defenders of rights of minority and LGBT persons, and critics of the government.”
This assessment of the situation in Bangladesh is in line with the findings of Humanists International’s Freedom of Thought Report entry on Bangladesh and End Blasphemy Law’s country profile on Bangladesh.
*The UN rights experts co-signed in the letter are Ahmed Shaheed (Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief), Luciano Hazan (Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances), Agnes Callamard (Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions), Irene Khan (Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression), Mary Lawlor (Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders), Fernand de Varennes (Special Rapporteur on minority issues), and Victor Madrigal-Borloz (Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity).
View the full letter sent by the UN rights experts here: https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=25501