UK government ‘raises LGBT rights concerns’ with Bangladesh
The UK government has raised concerns with Bangladesh after a gay journalist was murdered by terror-affiliated groups.
Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine Roopban, was hacked to death alongside friend Mahbub Tonoy last month, in the latest of a string of killings.
An affiliate of terrorist group Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the murder and posted a gory video appearing to show the man’s body.
One militant has been arrested in connection with the attack.
However, Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina has attracted criticism for her lacklustre response – allegedly comparing Mr Mannan to a pornographer and refusing to take any responsibility for the problem – attempting to shift blame to the country’s opposition party.
A UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister confirmed in in Parliament last week that the government had again raised concerns about Bangladesh’s LGBT rights record.
FCO minister Hugo Swire confirmed: “I raised my concerns about human rights and violence against LGBT people again this morning with the Bangladeshi high commissioner”, adding that it had been raised with PM Hasina herself on a previous occasion.
It comes after the US Secretary of State warned Bangladesh to take the issue seriously. Mr Mannan had previously worked at the US embassy.
The US State Department said: “Secretary Kerry called Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina on April 28 to offer U.S. support for the investigation into the attack that killed human rights advocate and U.S. Embassy employee Xulhas Mannan, along with Tonmoi Mahbub, earlier this week.
“The Secretary also condemned other incidents in a recent spate of violence.
“The Secretary urged Prime Minister Hasina to ensure a thorough investigation of all of these incidents, and to redouble law enforcement efforts to prevent future attacks and protect those who are at risk.”