Urgent Appeal

Bangladesh: Killing of Rohingya leader Muhib Ullah


The Observatory has been informed about the killing of Muhib Ullah, a prominent Rohingya leader and human rights defender in Bangladesh, chair of the Rohingya organisation Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPHR) [1]. He had fled to Bangladesh with his family members in September 2017, days after Myanmar security forces unleashed a wave of deadly attacks against Rohingya civilians in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in August 2017.

On the evening of September 29, 2021, Muhib Ullah was fatally shot by unknown assailants in his office in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh. He was then rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 8.30pm.

The Observatory recalls that Muhib Ullah worked incessantly to document atrocities committed against Rohingya in Rakhine State, and to establish justice and accountability for these crimes. He also advocated for the rights of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and consistently urged the Myanmar government to recognise and guarantee the rights of Rohingya as a condition for their safe, voluntary, and dignified return to Rakhine State, Myanmar. Because of his activism in the camps, Muhib Ullah was taken into custody and questioned by Bangladeshi authorities several times, and received numerous death threats.

The Observatory further recalls that Muhib Ullah often briefed members of international non-governmental organisations, United Nations mechanisms, and foreign officials during field visits to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. FIDH and OMCT facilitated his participation in the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2019, where he was the first Rohingya refugee ever to make a public speech to the UN body regarding the plight of Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Observatory strongly condemns the killing of Muhib Ullah and urges the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately launch a swift, thorough, and effective investigation into the killing of Muhib Ullah and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The Observatory also urges the Bangladeshi authorities to take all necessary measures to protect all Rohingya refugees and human rights defenders in the country.

Actions requested: 

Please write to the authorities in Bangladesh, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all the human rights defenders in Bangladesh, and to protect all the Rohingya refugees in the country;

ii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation into the killing of Muhib Ullah in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

iii. Ensure an enabling legal, institutional and administrative environment that effectively guarantees the right to defend human rights and protects human rights defenders in Bangladesh.

How You Can Help

• Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Email: pm@pmo.gov.bd
• Professor Dr.Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to the Prime Minister (International Affairs), Bangladesh. Email: advinternational@pmo.gov.bd
• Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan, State Minister for Home Affairs of Bangladesh. Email: stateminister@mha.gov.bd
• Mr. Anisul Huq, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of Bangladesh, Email: minoflaw@law.com
• Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. Email: fm@mofa.gov.bd
• Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, E-mail: chief@bdcom.com or supremec@bdcom.com
• Mr. Amin Uddin, Attorney General for Bangladesh, Email: aminuddin1971@gmail.com
• H.E. Mr. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, E-mail: mission.bangladesh@ties.itu.int
• Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Brussels, Belgium, Email: bdootbrussels@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Bangladesh in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Bangladesh.

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