The United Nations (UN) on Sunday urgently called upon all parties in Bangladesh to keep everyone – including children and young people – safe on the roads and safe from any kind of violence.
“UN agencies are increasingly concerned for the safety of children and young people caught up in recent protests over road safety in Dhaka and other parts of the country,” the UN office in Dhaka said in a statement shared on its official Facebook page.
It said students and young people have a legitimate right to speak out on issues of concern to them including road safety issues and to have their opinion heard without the threat of violence.
The UN has long campaigned for better road safety across the world and traffic accidents in Bangladesh are one of the major killers of young people (according to a World Health Organization report there are more than 20,000 road fatalities every year in Bangladesh).
“We are deeply concerned about the reports of violence and call on all for calm. The concerns expressed by youth about road safety are legitimate and a solution is needed for a mega city like Dhaka,” said United Nations Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo.
She said a functioning public transport system should ensure the safety of all, including children, young girls and women.
The UN statement said it is a matter of deep concern that a number of young people taking part in demonstrations in the capital have been injured over the last few days.
Many schools have been closed as a result of the protests, depriving children of learning opportunities, it said.