Norway condemns killing of activists in Bangladesh

‘I deeply deplore the killings in Bangladesh, and my thoughts are with the victims’ families and loved ones. Bangladesh has a long and proud tradition of being an open and diverse society, but these killings pose a threat to freedom of expression. It is the responsibility of the Bangladeshi authorities to defend fundamental rights and hold the murderers accountable,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

During the last year, at least ten people have been killed in Bangladesh because of their beliefs, sexual orientation or religion. Yesterday Xulhaz Mannan, a key spokesperson for the country’s sexual minority groups, was brutally killed in his home in Dhaka. His friend Mahbub Tonoy was also killed. On Saturday 23 April, Professor of English Rezaul Karim Siddique, accused by some of being an atheist, was killed on his way to work.

All the victims have been associated with religious minorities or non-religious, secular movements in Bangladesh, and the killings have all been motivated by religious extremism.

Xulhaz Mannan worked at the American Embassy in Dhaka. He was also the editor of the first LGBT magazine in Bangladesh. Norway was one of the supporters of the magazine.