Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – Austrian Foreign Minister Dr Karin Kneissl paid a courtesy call on President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban on Wednesday evening.
Welcoming the Austrian minister, the President recalled the moral support extended by the government and people of Austria to Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971.
He also mentioned that the then Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky was honoured by Bangladesh with the ‘Friends of Liberation War Honour Award’ in 2012.
Austria was one of the first countries in Europe as well as in the world which recognised Bangladesh on February 4, 1972.
Hamid stated that there is a huge scope for expansion of the trade and investment volume between Bangladesh and Austria.
He also put importance to strengthening the relations between the two countries for the best use of this opportunity.
Expressing sincere thanks to the Austrian government for its support to Bangladesh over the Rohingya issue, the President stressed the importance of keeping Myanmar under pressure to ensure safe, orderly and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to their homeland.
He also sought Austria’s moral support to raise the voice in the international forums for the safe Rohingyas repartition.
The Austrian minister lauded the socio-economic development of Bangladesh, especially describing the development in the agriculture sector as exemplary.
During the visit of Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister to Austria in May 2017, the negotiation on air service agreement between the two countries was concluded.
Underscoring the importance of bilateral relations, the President hoped that formal signing of the Air Services Agreement will help gain further momentum in bolstering trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contact through air connectivity between the countries.
Secretaries to the President were present during the meeting.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – Planning Minister MA Mannan on Wednesday said Bangladesh has always given top priority to equal rights of its citizens.
He also stressed government approach to preserve the needs and rights of labourers in different industries.
Mannan was speaking at a national dialogue session titled ‘UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights’ organised by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), supported by UNDP, at a city hotel.
The dialogue brought together thinkers, NGO and human rights activists from home and abroad to discuss the current situation of human rights preservation in different industries across the globe.
“As Bangladesh is rapidly advancing towards industrialisation, the number of workers is also growing. We are all in for preserving their rights regarding workplace alongside the fundamental rights of all citizens,” the minister said in his address as chief guest.
“We will take steps acknowledging the reality of our country and we are still on track in preserving rights of the labourers,” he added.
NHRC Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque complemented government actions to maintain rights of the working class.
He also emphasised following the UNGP in cases that are still hazardous for workers in several industries, especially the readymade garments sector.
“We want the state to take the lead (in securing labour rights). We will continue to support the government in all situations,” he added.
Livio Sarandrea, Team Leader of Business and Human Rights in Asia, Asia Pacific Regional HUB of UNDP, gave insights about UNGP.
“Violating people’s rights for profit leaves a negative impact,” he said.
He also lauded government’s efforts, saying Bangladesh is an example of good publicity of industries despite the aftermath of Rana Plaza tragedy.
Livio also mentioned that in order to implement the UNGP in workplaces across the country, a cohesive plan is necessary in collaboration with all stakeholders.
Additional Secretary of Ministry of Commerce Tapon Kanti Ghosh said rapid industrialisation has taken off recently in the country.
“After the Rana Plaza collapse, the issues and violation of labour rights have become more visible,” he added.
He also proposed legislations according UNGP codes securing the rights of the workers.
Sayeed Ahmed, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Labour, concurred. He said the government has taken necessary steps, including legal and administrative reform, after Rana Plaza incident.
The day-long dialogue saw panel discussions, keynote presentations and open discussion sessions – all of them highlighting the importance of UNGP and its proper implementation.
‘United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights’ is a set of 31 principles to implement UN framework ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ which connect the issue of human rights with transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday stressed the importance of protection and practice of own languages and cultures for making a healthy environment for the future generation.
“It’s our duty to protect, exercise and take forward our independence, language rights and culture as well as create a decent environment for the next generation,” she said while addressing a function marking the distribution of Ekushey Padak-2019 in the city.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs arranged the function at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Urging all to come forward to build the motherland she said, “We want the next generation to have a decent life and enjoy the fruits of what we’ve achieved through our struggles.”
Noting that Bangladesh is marching forward and will continue to do so, she said the people of the country will move at the global stage keeping their head high as the Ekushey (Language Movement) has taught them not to bow down.
“Ekushey has taught us how to protect our own existence, mother tongue, culture and tradition as well as show respect to all this,” Hasina said.
She said her government’s goal is to take Bangladesh to a dignified position. “We’ve been working to accomplish that goal,” she added.
Talking about the contributions of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the Language Movement, she said it is unfortunate that once his contributions had been removed from history.
She said if people read the ‘Unfinished Memoirs’, the autobiography of the Father of the Nation, they could know how the Language Movement had started.
Sheikh Hasina, Bangabandhu’s eldest daughter, said they are publishing a book in 14 volumes over the 23 years’ secret documents of Pakistani Intelligence Branch (IB). The first two volumes of the book have already been published over the secret documents of 1948-’50 and 1951-’52 respectively, she said.
The Prime Minister said people will know the contributions of Bangabandhu to the Language Movement reading the secret documents.
Bangabandhu Memorial Trust is funding the publication of the book. Hakkani Publishers will publish the book in 14 volumes.
Hasina said Bangabandhu had delivered his speech at the United Nations in Bengali after the Independence of the country. Following him, Hasina said, she is also delivering her speech as the head of the government in the United Nations in Bengali every year.
The Prime Minister said her government during its 1996-2001 regime started construction of the International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka, but the BNP-Jamaat government stopped the work coming to power in 2001.
Returning to power in 2009, the AL government completed the construction works on the Institute, she said.
Alongside taking measures for protecting the mother tongue, the institute is now continuing the process to study and collect the samples of languages of various small ethnic groups from home and abroad.
The Prime Minister distributed coveted Ekushey Padak-2019 among 21 eminent citizens for their contributions to their respective fields.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid presided over the function.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam read out the citations of the award recipients, while Acting Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal delivered the welcome speech.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – At least eight people suffered burn injuries as a bus caught fire from a leaked gas pipeline in the city’s Dhanmondi area on Wednesday afternoon.
Mizanur Rahman, duty officer at the Fire Service Central Control Room, said the bus went up in flames as soon as it stopped in front of Sunrise Plaza at Dhanmondi-27 around 3:35pm.
A private car also caught fire at that time, he said.
The incident left eight people, including several bus passengers, injured.
On information, two fire-fighting units from Mohammadpur Fire Station rushed in and doused the fire around 3:42pm.
Two of the injured were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Meanwhile, the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited has suspended the gas supply to Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Adabar, Shyamoli, Kalyanpur, Gabtali, Farmgate, Rajabazar, Sukrabad, Kalabagan and adjoining areas after the incident.
The supply is expected to return to normalcy within 10pm today following repairing the pipeline, said a Titas press release.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) - The nation is set to pay rich tributes to the martyrs of the 1952 historic Language Movement with the clock striking 00.01am on Thursday, marking 'Amar Ekushey', the Language Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day.
The great Language Movement, a significant event in the nation’s history, was aimed at establishing the right of the mother tongue as well as protecting self-entity, and culture and heritage.
The theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day is “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.
Walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with wreaths and flowers singing 'Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February', people will pay their respects to the heroes of the Language Movement who laid down their lives for achieving the recognition of Bangla as the state language of erstwhile Pakistan.
President Abdul Hamid will first pay tributes to the language martyrs by placing a wreath at the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar after zero hour, followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Prime Minister along with her Cabinet members, advisers, lawmakers and party leaders will place another wreath on behalf of her party.
Different political parties, their front organisations as well as sociocultural organisations have taken various programmes to pay their homage to the language martyrs all day long.
BNP leaders and activists will gather in front of Balaka Cinema Hall at Nilkhet at 6am wearing black badges the same day. Later, they will first offer fateha at the graves of Language Movement martyrs at Azimpur Graveyard and then go to the Central Shaheed Minar to pay tributes to the martyrs.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have taken all-out security measures in and round the Central Shaheed Minar to ensure smooth observance of Amar Ekushey.
On February 21, 1952, students and the common people in Dhaka took to the streets in protest against the then Pakistani government's denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firings on this day in 1952 when students came out in a procession from the Dhaka University campus breaching section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.
Being a source of ceaseless inspiration, Amar Ekushey inspired and encouraged the nation to a great extent to achieve the right to self-determination and struggle for freedom and the Liberation War.
With the bloodshed passage of Language Movement, the nation got the recognition of Bangla its mother tongue and attained its long-cherished independence under the charismatic leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion.
In his message, the President said, “I extend my warm congratulations and sincere felicitations to all multilingual people of the world along with Bangla-speaking people.”
He recalled with deep reverence the language martyrs namely Shaheed Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur and so many unknown and unsung language heroes who laid down their lives for the cause of mother tongue.
The President expressed the expectation that the spirit of Amar Ekushey would be the source of incessant inspiration for the protection of own languages and culture of people. “On the occasion, let the bond of friendship among multilingual people be strengthened, world’s almost defunct languages be revived and the globe be diversified in respective societies.”
The Prime Minister, in her message, said the greatest Ekushey is the symbol of grief, strength and glory in the life of every Bangali.
“I pay my deep homage to the memories of the martyrs. I also pay my deep respect to the greatest Bangali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who had led the language movement and all other language veterans,” she said.
“Let us build a hunger-poverty-free and happy-prosperous Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation being imbued with the spirit of the great Ekushey,” the Prime Minister added.