News, September 2, 2023
Observing that for the last 13 years, the Bangladesh government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been persecuting Nobel peace laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, 177 global leaders including 106 Nobel laureates, elected officials, business & civil society leaders, etc urged the government in Dhaka to stop harassing the brilliant economist turned revolutionary banker to social thinker.
Highlighting on a current judicial proceeding against
Prof Yunus, they termed it
as a broader assault on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Bangladesh. Expressing solidarity with
34 courageous Bangladeshi leaders,
who issued a letter of support to the
creator of Grameen movement, they also appealed to the citizens around the world to support the campaign. The
global personalities issued the open letter on 28 August 2023.
Admiring the laudable progress made by Bangladesh since its independence in 1971, they however expressed deep concern over the threats to democracy and human rights in Bangladesh. One of the threats to human rights, that concerns the global leaders, was around Prof Yunus, who has been targeted by the government with judicial harassments. They also mentioned about an earlier appeal by 40 global personalities expressing concern about his safety and freedom.
“We respectfully ask that you immediately suspend the current judicial proceedings against Prof Yunus, followed by a review of the charges by a panel of impartial judges drawn from within your nation with some role for internationally recognized legal experts. We are confident that any thorough review of the anti-corruption and labor law cases against him will result in his acquittal,” said the open letter.
Appreciating Prof Yunus’ work as inspirational to all of them which focuses on how social business can be a force for international progress resulting in zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emissions, the letter added that Prof Yunus is a leading example of how Bangladesh and Bangladeshi nationals have contributed to global progress in recent decades.
“We sincerely wish that he (Prof Yunus) be able to continue
his path-breaking work free of
persecution or harassment,” stated the letter
adding that they expect PM Hasina to ensure the resolution of these legal issues in an expedient,
impartial, and just manner.
global citizens asserted that they would join with millions of concerned citizens around the world in closely
tracking how these matters are
resolved in the coming days.
The signatories include Nobel laureates namely Barack H.
Obama, José Ramos-Horta, Mairead
Corrigan-Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Albert Arnold Gore Jr., Tawakkol Karman, Denis Mukwege,
Nadia Murad, Maria Ressa, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Juan Manuel
Santos, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Jody Williams,
Peter Agre, Thomas R. Cech, Martin Chalfie, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, Walter
Gilbert, Alan Heeger, Richard
Henderson, Edmund Phelps, Vernon L. Smith, Joseph E. Stiglitz, J. M. Coetzee, Herta Muller, Orhan Pamuk, etc.
They did not forget to ask PM Hasina for ensuring a free,
fair, and participatory national
election in the coming months (probably January 2024). Stating that the previous two national elections in Bangladesh lacked legitimacy, the international citizens expressed hope
that the administration of the
election (for its 350-member Jatiya Sansad) be acceptable to all major parties in the south Asian country.
The letter was also signed by Ban Ki-moon (former UN
Secretary General), Hillary Rodham
Clinton (former U.S. Secretary of State),
Narayana Murthy (founder, Infosys), Ron Garan (former
NASA astronaut), Dumitru
Bragish (former Moldova Premier), Emil Constantinescu (former Romania President), Mirko Cvetkovic (former Serbia Premier),
Ameenah Gurib Fakim (former
Mauritius President), Yves Leterme (former Belgium Premier), Giorgi Margvelashvili (former Georgia
President), Mary Robinson (former
Ireland Premier), Viktor Yushchenko (former
Ukraine President), etc.