Dhaka, May 25 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi have pledged to continue to raise the relationship between the two countries to an “unprecedented new height.”
They recognised the importance of rapidly completing ongoing plans for deepening the partnership in security trade, transportation, energy and people-to-people ties.
Doing so within the next three years will have specific significance in view of the centenary of the birth of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2020 and the 50thanniversary of Bangladesh’s Liberation in 2021, according to a media release issued by the Indian Prime Minister’s Office.
The leaders also agreed to identify dates for a meeting at the earliest to resume work in service of the bilateral relationship.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina became one of the first foreign leaders to congratulate the Indian Prime Minister, thus reflecting the “extraordinarily close and cordial ties” between India and Bangladesh, and the excellent rapport that the two leaders enjoy, the release added.
Prime Minister Hasina spoke to Modi on Thursday to extend her congratulations on the clear mandate given by the people of India to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Dhaka, May 25 (UNB) - UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has urged the Myanmar government to take action to enable the Rohingyas in Bangladesh and those displaced inside the country to return home safely.
Grandi who concluded his five-day visit to Myanmar on Friday, had "constructive and substantive" meetings on Thursday with State Counsellor Daw Aung San SuuKyi and other senior officials, and conveyed UNHCR call.
He noted the positive efforts of the government to develop a national strategy on closure of IDP camps, and stressed the need for sustainable, safe and voluntary solutions to their plight in full consultation with the communities concerned.
On Thursday, Grandi also signed a separate Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Disaster Management of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement covering UNHCR’s broader activities throughout the country.
The High Commissioner indicated his satisfaction that the Tripartite MoU will soon be extended for a further year and appreciated the commitment of the government to improve conditions.
Small projects are carried out by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNDP teams, under the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the government of Myanmar in June 2018 and have the potential to help foster positive relations between communities, according to UNHCR.
Grandi welcomed the initiatives to find solutions to the displacement in Kachin State and elsewhere, according to UNHCR.
He conveyed the key concerns that he heard both from both the Rakhine and Rohingya communities and from the Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
Grandi committed continued UNHCR engagement to help build the confidence that Rohingyas from Myanmar currently in Bangladesh require for their voluntary and safe return.
He also pledged continued support displaced people and other affected communities.
He also renewed the strong engagement and readiness of his organization to support the Government in finding solutions for displaced and stateless people.
In Maungdaw township, in the northern part of Rakhine State, Grandi traveled to a number of villages to listen to Rakhine, Rohingya and other communities speak of their challenges, needs and hopes.
They conveyed to him that projects in their villages, such as water reservoirs, school rehabilitation, road improvements, provision of bicycles and skills training are already making a difference in their lives.
While driving in northern Rakhine, Grandi saw stretches of empty land once occupied by Rohingya villages now covered by overgrown vegetation.
Few signs remain of the houses and markets that once dotted the landscape.
This was a stark reminder of the violence of 2017 that caused over 740,000 Rohingyas to flee the country.
The High Commissioner noted that for the Rohingya population to return, local development is just one factor in building their confidence.
He emphasized that the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission remain essential, citing his recent visit to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where Rohingyas told him that freedom of movement, access to schools and jobs, and, most critically, pathways to citizenship are the most important issues for their return.
The Rohingya villagers he met with who remain in Rakhine echoed these demands, noting their inability to travel for livelihoods, to access higher education and to gain the rights that citizenship affords.
In Buthidaung, at a Buddhist monastery hosting Rakhine people recently displaced as a result of the current insecurity, representatives of the group told Grandi of their wish to return to their homes as soon as possible.
They asked for security to be reestablished, unexploded ordinances cleared and strongly appealed for peace.
The Rakhine State government currently estimates that around 29,000 people, mostly from the Rakhine community, are displaced in seven townships in Rakhine state due to this conflict.
Grandi also met with a group of Rakhine villagers in Maungdaw township, once a cluster of five villages surrounded by farms and fish ponds with a large Rohingya population who are now refugees in Bangladesh.
They expressed concerns about the impact on the local economy and labor shortages following the departure of their Muslim neighbours.
The High Commissioner also visited Rohingya IDP camps on the outskirts of Sittwe, in the central part of Rakhine State.
The camps are segregated from other communities, and restrictions are in place limiting their movement, with severe consequences for their ability to earn a living.
Representatives of the displaced, who have been enduring these conditions for seven years, told Grandi of their wish to return to their places of origin.
They expressed their wish to work, farm or fish in order not to continue living in a state of dependency on humanitarian aid.
But fundamentally, they told him that they yearn for citizenship documentation and equal treatment.
Some 128,000 people are still displaced in central Rakhine since 2012.
From both the long-term and the newly displaced communities, Grandi heard a recurrent desire to return to their original homes as soon as possible.
In his discussions, Grandi also encouraged the Myanmar government to accelerate the verification of some 98,000 refugees remaining in Thailand to allow expanded solutions for this group, through repatriation or legal access to the labour market in Thailand.
Some 729 refugees have returned from Thailand since October 2016, and action is now needed to accelerate solutions for the remainder.
Dhaka, May 25 (UNB) - The United Nations (UN) has honoured 12 fallen peacekeepers from Bangladesh who lost their lives on duty in 2018 in various parts of the world to ensure global peace under the aegis of the UN peace operations.
The UN awarded ‘Dag Hammarskjold Medal' to 119 fallen peacekeepers from 27 member states to honour their supreme sacrifice, among those fallen heroes, 12 were from Bangladesh.
The medals were awarded by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and received by the respective Permanent Representatives of the 27 countries at the event held in New York on Friday marking the ‘International Day of the UN Peacekeepers’.
Permanent Representative (PR) of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Masud Bin Momen received the medals on behalf of Bangladesh.
Defense Advisor of this Mission Brigadier-General Khan Firoz Ahmed, relevant other officers from the Mission and officers from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Police working at the UN Headquarters were also present.
The Permanent Mission will make special arrangements to send the medals to the family members of the 12 fallen peacekeepers of Bangladesh, said a media release on Saturday.
The fallen peacekeepers of Bangladesh who posthumously received the 'Dag Hammarskjold Medals' are: Sainik Arzan Howlader, Sainik Md Ripul Miah, Sainik Mohammad Jamal Uddin, Warrant officer Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, Sainik Mohammad Rayhan Ali, Lance Corporal Mohammad Akter Hossain, Sainik Mohammad Rasheduzzaman, Sainik Md Zane Alam, Sainik Md Motiar Rahman, Sainik Md Monjur Ali, Lance Corporal Md Mizanur Rahaman and Lieutenant Commander Md Ashraf Siddiqui.
Bangladesh is the second largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping.
It currently deploys more than 6,600 military and police personnel in nine peacekeeping missions in Abyei, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
So far, 146 peacekeepers from Bangladesh have lost their lives on duty while serving UN Peace Operations in various parts of the world.
The UN chief laid floral wreath in honour of all fallen peacekeepers at the Peacekeepers Memorial Site in the North Lawn of the UNHQs.
He said: “Today, we honour 119 brave men and women who lost their lives while serving the United Nations. Hailing from different backgrounds, our fallen heroes were united in their efforts to help the UN attain its most important objective – to save future generations from the scourge of war."
The medals bears the name of Secretary-General Hammarskjold.
"It is inscribed with his name as well their own – forever linking them in our hearts and in our memories," he said.
The Secretary-General offered his highest tributes to the fallen peacekeeper and put his sincere condolence to their loved ones left behind.
The UN Under-Secretary-General of Department of Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Under Secretary-General of Department of Operational Support Atul Khare also spoke at the event.
The congregation paid respect to the departed souls by observing one minute silence.
Permanent Representatives, senior diplomats, officials of the Arms Forces and Police from several member states and high level UN officials participated the solemn ceremony.
The global theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace’.
While the day was marked at UNHQ on Friday, UN missions and offices around the world will commemorate the Day on May 29.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
The General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.
Dhaka, May 24 (UNB) - Libyan police on Friday arrested four Bangladesh nationals from Tajoura district of Libyan capital of Tripoli for their alleged involvement in abducting five Bangladeshi migrants, says an official.
Talking to UNB, ASM Ashraful Islam, labour counsellor of Bangladesh Embassy to Libya, said the arrestees demanded a ransom of $32,500 for their release.
"We're still trying to know their identities," he said adding that they are in touch with the Libyan police.
Ashraful said a fierce fight was going on in Tripoli and arround, and they are not sure when they will be able to get the victims in their possession.
He hoped that they will soon meet the victims and find out ways to help them over their possible return to home or hand over them to the places of their work.
Such incidents of abduction happen frequently in Libya amid the civil war, he said.
Dhaka, May 24 (UNB) - The US Embassy in Dhaka, including its consular section, will remain closed on Sunday on the occasion of Memorial Day, an American national holiday.
The American Center with the Archer K Blood American Center Library and the EducationUSA Student Advising Center, will also remain closed on the day, said a media release.
However, emergency services for American citizens will be available, it said.