Bangladesh has sent assistance to Mauritius consisting of PPEs, head caps, shoe covers, surgical face masks and food products.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Mauritius Rezina Ahmed handed over the materials to Kavydass Ramano, the Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change on Thursday.
The government of Mauritius declared “the State of Environmental Emergency” and solicited cooperation from friendly countries after a vessel offshore began leaking oil into the ocean on July 25.
Bangladesh has stood by the government of Mauritius in this difficult time, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Thursday expressed Dhaka’s frustration at the UN’s failure to ensure the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
“We’re deeply frustrated," he said at an international webinar on Thursday.
The Foreign Secretary said the government would raise this issue and also focus on post-COVID assistance for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas, most of them fled here following a military crackdown in their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The diplomat who was also posted at the UN headquarters acknowledged that the increasing involvement of the CSOs in the UN system is irreversible.
He said Covid-19 had exposed the UN system’s loopholes alongside national inadequacies.
Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Bangladesh Mia Seppo expressed her views that the civil society voice would be accommodated at the UN only if civic space is there within the member states.
Also Read- No end in sight to Rohingya crisis
Asia’s rising nations, including Bangladesh, need to be in focus in democratising the United Nations, a forum of academics, development practitioners and diplomats recommended at the webinar.
They insisted that civil society organisations (CSOs) and the corporate sector should be incorporated into the process of the ongoing transformation of the UN to make sure that communities, rather than mere nation-states, are served.
The two-day webinar on “The UN in Time of People’s Needs: Rethinking Multilateralism” was organised by North South University’s Center for Peace Studies and the United Nations Bangladesh.
Dr Samir Saran, President of Observer Research Foundation (ORF), emphasised new champions in ‘young’ Asia to bear the ‘old’ UN and ensure democratisation, saying that apart from China and India, Bangladesh has a strong role to play.
“Future of the UN will be resolved in Asia,” he observed adding that Asian nations could come up with ideas and hopes for future multilateralism. “The UN has to serve the communities instead of serving the nation-states.”
Bangladesh already a model
Professor of International Relations at Dhaka University Dr Imtiaz Ahmed observed that the geopolitics that led to the creation of the UN after 1945 is no longer there.
He also regretted that democracy, which was also functioning across the world, is on the decline.
The analyst, however, pointed out that emphasis should be on accommodating persons, instead of an approach to replacing Europe and America with Asia.
Referring to the recognition of Bangladesh’s development performance, Ambassador and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink said the country is already a model.
Maintaining that the EU supports multilateralism, she said the EU countries are going to organise a global health summit soon.
NSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Atiqul Islam also underlined the importance of the democratisation of the UN, saying that the authority to take decision should be vested with the UN General Assembly.
Stressing the need for the UN to put emphasis on common people's interests, Shahidul Haque, senior fellow of South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) at the North South University, said no longer the UN should serve member-states only.
Moderated by Shahidul Haque, the session titled ‘Colloquium on Civil Society Perspective on the Future of United Nations ‘was also addressed by Chairman at Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Policy Advisor to Access to Information (a2i) at the PMO Anir Chowdhury, Lead of the Asia Pacific Center for Geopolitics and Regional Affairs at World Economic Forum, Geneva, Sheikh Tanjeb Islam and President of the United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh Shammy Wadud.
In another session on “United Nations in Humanitarian Agenda for a Subtle and Self-Reinforcing Humanitarian Development Nexus” held on Wednesday evening, chaired by Dr Rizwan Khair and moderated by CPS member Dr Ishrat Zakia Sultana, the speakers were Special Envoy of Climate Vulnerable Forum of Bangladesh Abul Kalam Azad, Secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Md Mohsin, Country Director of World Food Programme Richard Ragan, Professor of Urban Planning at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Dr Ishrat Islam and Hong Kong Baptist University’s Dr Kwun-Sun Lau.
Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Rabab Fatima has said the Rohingya crisis requires a political solution, which lies in the return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar by addressing root causes, creating right conditions and holding the wrongdoers accountable.
She made the remarks while speaking at a discussion on the Rohingya crisis held virtually on Wednesday.
The discussion, titled “Rohingya Crisis in its Fourth Year: Challenges in Securing a Sustainable Solution” was organised jointly by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, said the Bangladesh Mission on Thursday.
The virtual discussion featured presentations, remarks, and suggestions from a wide range of stakeholders from the member States, UN, civil society and diaspora.
Nicholas Koumjian, the Head of Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM) presented the keynote speech and Ambassador Bob Rae, the Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN moderated the discussion.
The list of speakers included the Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Justice of Gambia, SRSG -SVC Pramila Patten, Ruven Menik diwela, Director, UNHCR, New York, Dr. Payam Akhavan, Legal Counsel for The Gambia in the ICJ Case, Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director, Global Centre for R2P, Akila Radha krishnan, President, Global Justice Center and Dr. Wakar Uddin, Director General of Arakan Rohingya Union.
Permanent Representatives and delegates of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the EU, the USA, the Netherlands and Indonesia delivered remarks.
Ambassador Rabab Fatima said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showed tremendous courage and compassion, when she decided to open the borders and provide the persecuted Rohingyas with shelter and protection.
She highlighted the current stalemate with the repatriation of the Rohingyas due to Myanmar’s failure to create a conducive environment in Rakhine and expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in the Rakhine State.
Ambassador Fatima urged the International community to fully comprehend the multidimensional repercussions of this protracted crisis and step up their efforts in securing a permanent political solution to the longstanding humanitarian crisis.
Referring to the progress made in the accountability front, Ambassador Fatima called upon Myanmar to fully cooperate with the international investigative and judicial mechanisms, including the IIMM.
She called for a greater role by regional countries, including the ASEAN member States, in addressing the root causes of the Rohingya crisis.
The IIMM head described his efforts to reach out to all stakeholders including the Myanmar authorities for collection of information and evidence related to the human rights violations that have been committed in Myanmar since 2011.
He called upon the member States that are sheltering forcibly displaced Rohingyas to share information in their possession, and help IIMM fulfill its mandate.
Ambassador Bob Rae, reiterated his government’s consistent prioritization of the Rohingya issue and support to the accountability processes, including with the proceedings at the International Court of Justice.
He also called for greater international support for humanitarian and political solutions to this crisis.
The Ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and Turkey commended Bangladesh for bearing the burden of hosting such a large number of Rohingya in its territory and assured full humanitarian and political support towards its early resolution.
The Ambassador of the United Kingdom recognised the importance of accountability for grave crimes, including crimes of sexual violence against Rohingya women.
The EU Ambassador emphasised implementation of the recommendations of Rakhine Advisory Commission.
The other speakers expressed commendation for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her strong and courageous leadership in dealing with this longstanding humanitarian crisis.
They expressed their continued concern at the lack of progress in Myanmar, resulting in increased frustration among the Rohingya people living in Bangladesh camps.
They also opined that the success in accountability tracks would contribute in building confidence among the displaced Rohingyas and secure their peaceful and dignified future.
They called upon member States to extend cooperation in the ongoing investigation and other legal processes in respect of crime against humanity and other international crimes committed against the Rohingya.
There was an urgent appeal from Diaspora representatives to recognize the root causes including gradual disenfranchisement of the Rohingyas in Myanmar through citizenship law and other statutory provisions.
Some speakers expressed further concerns at the ongoing conflicts in Rakhine which reportedly could end up in further human rights violations of the remaining Rohingyas.
The speakers called for immediate attention of the Security Council and other responsible international entities of the UN to this matter, before it becomes a serious regional or global security threat.
Participants included delegates of various member states to the UN, the members of the relevant UN agencies, civil society, academia and media personnel.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das paid a courtesy visit to the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Thursday and held talks with its President Sheikh Fazle Fahim.
During the meeting, Das and Fahim discussed the progress of efforts to develop bilateral trade relations between Bangladesh and India to overcome the effects of the pandemic.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh Bishwadeep Dey, India's Commercial Representative Pramesh Basal and FBCCI Vice-President Rezaul Karim Rejnu and Director Munir Hossain were also present, said a press release.
The Embassy of Switzerland in Dhaka and Swisscontact have jointly launched the second phase of their programme ‘Building Skills for Unemployed and Underemployed Labour (B-SkillFUL)’.
Since 2015, the B-SkillFUL programme has been supporting skills training, with job placements, in 19 occupations by partnering with local private training service providers in six districts, across Bangladesh.
The second four-year phase of the programme, launched on September 1, will focus on skills building and strengthening of businesses, as a contribution to economic recovery at the local level, in the current COVID-19 context, said the Embassy on Thursday.
It will offer customised solutions to SMEs to improve technical and management functions, diversify products and services, expand into new markets and ensure safe and decent working conditions for workers.
Suzanne Mueller, the Chargée d’affaires of the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, said having a more skilled workforce is only part of the solution for SMEs.
"Currently, survival and recovery are their top priorities. Through programmes, like B-SkillFUL, Switzerland will support the domestic economy, as it tackles the challenges, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The total Swiss contribution to the B-SkillFUL programme currently stands at around CHF 13.5 million."
Through its agency for international cooperation, SDC, Switzerland’s overall goal in Bangladesh is to bring about a more equitable society that enjoys inclusive and sustainable growth, aligned with the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.
Within the framework of its international cooperation for the period 2018-21, Switzerland focuses on its engagement on economic development, more efficient local government and better protection for migrant workers.
Swisscontact is a Swiss NGO working globally to implement international development programmes to promote inclusive economic, social and ecological development to make an effective contribution towards sustainable and widespread prosperity in developing and emerging economies.