STOP WARS WITH UN AT FOREFRONT
PM tells programme marking 40 years of Bangladesh’s UN membership; Ban Ki-moon, Nisha Desai praise Hasina..
Highlighting a 15-point roadmap for Bangladesh’s future engagements in the United Nations, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appealed to world leaders to take effective steps to stop wars and conflicts, with the UN playing the central role.
“Let’s reject wars and work for peace. Bangladesh commits to working with all to make that a reality,” she said in her speech at a programme marking 40 years of Bangladesh’s UN membership.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other member state representatives were present at the programme in the UN headquarters on Friday.
Hasina said both Bangladesh and the UN aim to empower people and make the world safer for succeeding generations. “We wish to have the UN and member states on our side in realising our Vision 2021 towards a knowledge-driven middle-income economy before our 50th anniversary at the UN.”
The 15 points are: remaining steadfast to international peace, security and development; staying as UN’s leading peacekeeper prioritising civilian safety; working with member states to enhance UN’s capacity to effectively respond to wars, conflicts and armed violence; sharing nation-building experiences at the UN’s Peacebuilding Commission; remaining at the forefront of the UN’s disarmament agenda, including nuclear, maritime, space and cyber security; pro-actively contributing to the global combat against terrorism and violent extremism, fighting human, narcotics and wildlife trafficking; championing a culture of peace and promoting “people’s empowerment” for all-inclusive development; championing criminal justice to end the culture of impunity for crimes against humanity, sexual violence and genocide; making constructive contributions to norm setting in the global human rights agenda; strengthening its national human rights, governance and anti-corruption regime working with the UN, championing girl and women empowerment with special focus on tackling violence against women and child marriage; and expanding its rights-based interventions for children, including those with special needs such as autism.
Hasina said Bangladesh’s peace-centric foreign policy made it the leading peacekeeping nation with over 128,000 personnel having served in 54 missions in four continents.
She recalled with gratitude the support of India and Russia in the 1971 Liberation War.
Hasina said Bangladesh’s journey at the UN began with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s speech at the General Assembly on September 24, 1974.
Ban Ki-moon said the UN and he himself look forward to deepening this relationship in shared pursuit of peace, development and human rights for all.
As a foreign service officer posted in New Delhi, Ban Ki-moon said, he was part of the team responsible for establishing South Korea’s diplomatic ties with Bangladesh.
“When I visited for the first time, I was deeply humbled by what I saw, because your country reminded me so much of mine at the end of the Korean War. There were so many shortages I had to tear small strips of paper for my counterpart at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for him to be able to write me a memo!”
He said despite the poverty, destruction and human misery there was a burning determination to build a new country. “I have made many visits since. Each time, I’ve been struck by the enormous progress that has been made.”
He said Bangladesh built a thriving economy and made important gains towards the Millennium Development Goals, especially in disaster risk reduction at a time of climate change.
“I’m pleased that the dream of Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had for his country is steadily becoming a reality,” he said.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal said, “Bangladesh has been turned into a food-surplus country from a food-deficit one under your (Hasina’s) leadership.”
Biswal said in the past Bangladesh used to seek help from other countries. “But now other countries seek help from Bangladesh,” she said.
Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gennadiy M Gatilov said Russia highly values Hasina’s uncompromising constructive role in establishing world peace and security and it has been widely recognised.
He said her firm stance against terrorism and militancy has also been acclaimed worldwide. “We’re happy that Bangladesh-Russia tie is on the right track,” he added.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark recalled a visit to the remote Char Kukri Mukri village of southern Bangladesh during inauguration of union information service centres.
Unesco Director General Irina Bokova greeted the audience saying “Shubho Aporahnno”.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2014