Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013

UN chief calls for halt to violence

US also expresses concern

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: UN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: UN

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called on all parties in Bangladesh to put a stop to the violence following clashes in the capital, Dhaka, over the past two days.

“The Secretary-General has been following the recent wave of violence in Bangladesh with increasing concern and is saddened by the loss of life, including during the events that unfolded in Dhaka throughout Sunday and into Monday,” Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to stop the violence, to respect the law and to express their views peacefully.”

According to media reports, more than 30 people have died and 60 had been injured in clashes between police and protesters in the capital.

Ban also urged political and religious leaders to “engage in constructive dialogue and help defuse the tensions.”

The clashes come just over a week after a garment factory building collapsed in the outskirts of Dhaka, killing more than 650 people.

Meanwhile, the United States has expressed concern over the violence in Bangladesh over the weekend that caused deaths of several individuals and urged the government to ensure safety of all citizens.

“While engaging in peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right, we firmly believe violence is never the answer,” Acting Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department Patrick Ventrell told a press briefing in Washington DC on May 6.

Speaking at the daily briefing, Ventrell said the US look to the government of Bangladesh to ensure the safety of all its citizens and encourage all Bangladeshis to peacefully express their views.

About violence, the State Department official said “we are concerned by the violence in Bangladesh over the weekend, including the violent deaths of at least several individuals.”

He said the violence and deaths comes on the heels of a series of hartals, or general strikes, that have significantly disrupted daily life in Dhaka in recent weeks.

The Acting Spokesperson said the US Embassy in Dhaka is closely engaging with all parties to urge calm and encourage dialogue.