HASINA ASKS UN TO TAKE LEAD IN STOPPING WARS
Sumon Mahbub from New York,
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the UN to play the “central role” in stopping wars across the world as she vowed Bangladesh’s “steadfast” commitment to international peace, security and development.
She also appealed the world leaders to take “effective steps” to stop wars and conflicts in a speech at New York marking the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s membership to the UN.
“Let us reject war and work for peace,” she said on the sidelines of the ongoing UN General Assembly. “Bangladesh commits to working with all to make that a reality”.
UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon was present at the event.
Bangladesh became member of the UN family on Sep 17, 1974, nearly three years after it won independence from Pakistan.
Hasina gave the UN a “big thank you” for its strong support to Bangladesh in the last 40 years and rolled out a roadmap for her future engagement with the international organisation.
She urged the UN and its member states to be with her to realise her vision to make a “knowledge-driven” middle-income Bangladesh by 2021.
“Bangladesh and the UN have a common mission,” she said, “to empower people and make the world safer for succeeding generations”.
She said the collaboration with the UN had grown “strength to strength” over the years and gradually Bangladesh became a strategic partner particularly in the areas of UN peace-keeping and peace-building.
She said Bangladesh’s membership in the UN was a “great victory” for the people that time as the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was looking for international recognition and support for the nascent nation.
Hasina also recalled the contribution of India and Russia (then the Soviet Union) with gratitude for their support during and after the war.
She also recalled a number of European countries including the UK and Germany “for standing next to Bangladesh during those difficult days”.
The US backed Pakistan in the war, but Senator Edward Kennedy personally supported Bangladesh in 1971.
Hasina paid her personal tribute in the speech for the voice Kennedy raised at the US Senate against the atrocities and genocide committed against the Bengalis.
She also thanked all Asian and African countries of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) for their support during and after the war.
“I assure you that our friendship and cooperation will continue strength-to-strength within the UN and beyond to our mutual benefits.”
The prime minister recalled Bangabandhu’s first speech at the UN on Sep 24, 1974 which he delivered in Bangla and said the nation’s founding father had made an unequivocal commitment to uphold the UN Charter.
She said Bangabandhu also made commitment to promote peace, tolerance, democracy, human rights, social progress, justice, and the rule of law through international cooperation.
“Those ideals continue to inspire all subsequent diplomatic engagement and leadership of Bangladesh in the UN and its various fora,” she said.
Bangladesh, she said, had been at the “forefront” of UN’s efforts for global peace and development, listing various positions Bangladesh held in different UN agencies and meetings.
She said Bangladesh’s “peace-centric” foreign policy had prompted the country to emerge as a leader in UN peacekeeping operations.
More than 128,000 blue helmets from Bangladesh served in 54 UN peace missions in four continents so far, of them 119 died.
Hasina spoke of her future roadmap for engagement with the UN, mostly related to international peace, security and development and vowed to work together in enhancing UN’s capacity building to effectively respond to wars, conflicts and armed violence.
She said Bangladesh would continue to promote “people’s empowerment” for “all-inclusive” development.
And it would also remain “champion” in criminal justice that shatters the culture of impunity for crimes against humanity, sexual violence and genocide.
“We shall champion girl’s and women’s empowerment with special focus on tackling violence against women and child marriage and further expand our rights-based interventions for children, including those with special needs such as Autism,” she said about her future engagement plans with the UN.
Hasina said Bangladesh would also work on building consensus on setting goals for the post-2015 development agenda.
She said climate change, international migration, sustainable use of maritime resources and international trade dividends for LDCs would be the issues in which Bangladesh would raise voice.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2014