Extrajudicial killings cannot be tolerated: UK minister of state

Extrajudicial killings cannot be tolerated: UK minister of state

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Visiting UK Minister of State for International Development Desmond Swayne on Tuesday said extrajudicial killings cannot be tolerated in any democratic country and called for bringing the ‘perpetrators’ to justice.
“Bangladesh is a democracy, and it’s essential that democratic values should be preserved and maintained. That means you can’t tolerate extrajudicial killings,” he told a press conference while responding to a UNB question.Swayne also said it is essential that those crimes are investigated and the perpetrators are brought to justice. “So, it’s for the government and police to ensure those crimes are investigated.”
The UK Minister came up with the observation when asked whether the government is taking adequate steps to investigate the allegations of extrajudicial killings.
Swayne, however, said he is not in a position to make a judgment on the basis of his three-day visit.
The press conference was held at British High Commission Staff Club in the city. British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert W Gibson and DFID Country head Sarah Cooke were present.
Earlier, he announced up to 3 million pounds to help Bangladesh’s flood victims.
Swayne highly appreciated Bangladesh’s achievements in terms of implementing MDGs and hoped that the country will equally be able to achieve the newly set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing all the issues, including the governance one.
He described Bangladesh’s MDGs success as stunning one, and explained that he laid emphasis on governance issue because it is new in the new set of 17 goals — SDGs.
On the commitment by the Bangladesh Prime Minister made at the Girls Summit, Swayne said it would very unwelcoming and very unfortunate if any changes in the law gives any wrong signal (marriage below 18 for girls). “You have to be very, very careful in defining the exceptions you have.”
Responding to a question on the ICT Act, the UK state minister said freedom of press, freedom of speech and space for civil society – these are very important issues. “As I said it is not for me as a foreign politician to come and tell you how to run your country. That is a solution that Bangladesh itself can find. If any foreign politician comes to me in London and tells me, “You do it, I should be quite rude to him.”
Asked how Bangladesh can address the governance issues as described in the new set of goals SDGs, he reiterated the same thing saying, “It’s not for me to lecture and tell you how to achieve that. This is your country, your democracy and your politicians. You may solve it and sort it out.”
On the arrest of a British national here, he said he has no knowledge about detailed police investigation. “I don’t know anything about the case. It’s a police and judicial matter.”
Asked about the role of the international community to increase the prices of Bangladesh readymade garments, Swayne said it is, in his experience, rare that anyone volunteers to pay high prices.
But, he said, certainly people are ready to pay higher prices for quality goods and suggested Bangladesh to take control of its supply chain.
He hoped that Bangladesh will be successful in implementing SDGs addressing the issues of peaceful society, strong institutions, and healthy civil society under the rule of law. “It’s my ambition; Bangladesh should be equally successful in SDGs.
“We want peaceful societies with strong civil society, strong institutions including press which are able to hold government accountable,” he added.
The UK minister, meanwhile, met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhit, Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, and the Founder and Chairman of BRAC, Sir Fazle Hosan Abed.
Swayne said: “Over the past few days, I’ve seen firsthand how UK aid is making a difference to the lives of so many people across Bangladesh by providing access to health, clean water and sanitation facilities. This is a fundamental part of our development support, but there is also a more powerful story here.”
He also met young women who, following training, have secured jobs including in the garment industry. Empowering girls and women is at the heart of everything DFID does and, while Bangladesh has made a significant progress, there is still more to be done.
“Young Bangladeshi girls need life skills, education, training and access to healthcare so that they can positively contribute to the country’s economy and their own future. This means tackling child marriage and early motherhood,” he added.
“As we approach the United Nations General Assembly meeting next month Bangladesh deserves to have its voice heard,” he added.
The new global goals present a vital opportunity for Bangladesh to lead its own development towards middle income status and ensure that no one is left behind.
Announcing up to £3 million of humanitarian support he said: “I’m pleased to be announcing today up to £3 million of funding to help those most affected by the recent floods in Bangladesh. UK support to the World Food Programme and other trusted partners will bring much needed relief to more than 100,000 people in the southeast affected by cyclone Komen and monsoon flooding.
“This region of the country, one of the poorest and most disaster prone in Bangladesh, faces very significant development challenges. Komen and monsoon flooding have exacerbated the situation there for already vulnerable people. UK support will play a vital role in assisting communities affected by these crises.”- UNB

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