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Embarrassment for Bangladesh PM Hasina as 177 global leaders stand behind Prof Yunus

by IT Desk
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By: Nava Thakuria
Guwahati, Sept 3:

Arguing that the Bangladesh government has been persecuting the country’s lone Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus for the last 13 years, 177 global leaders including 106 Nobel laureates, elected officials, business & civil society leaders, etc urged the Sheikh Hasina led government  in Dhaka to stop harassing the Octogenarian economist turned revolutionary banker to an acclaimed social thinker.
Pointing out over 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 nationals, who earlier issued a letter of support to the creator of Grameen movement, the global leaders appealed to the citizens across the globe to support the campaign in favour of Prof  Yunus.
Commanding on 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 the country. 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. The lauded  global citizens also  mentioned about an earlier appeal by 40 global personalities expressing concern about his safety and freedom.
“We respectfully ask that you (Prime Minister Hasina) 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, issued on 28 August.
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. The influential 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 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 nation. The ruling AL won over 250 Parliamentarians in December 2018 elections and PM Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is respected as Bangla’s Father of the Nation, still enjoys the reputation and electoral advantages over the opposition parties.
However, there are wild speculations that the combined opposition parties may project Prof Yunus as their leader in the 2024 Parliamentary elections. Needless to mention that Prof Yunus tried to form a political party in 2007 and named it as Nagarik Shakti (people’s power). However, he abandoned the idea citing reasons of non-cooperation by the common Bangladeshi nationals. Observers believe that PM Hasina had grown the political rivalry against Prof Yunus since then. The world’s longest-serving female government head apprehends that Prof Yunus can influence the voters against AL candidates in the forthcoming polls.
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.

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