Dhaka, Sept 17 (UNB) – Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi on Tuesday hoped that Bangladesh will become a developed and prosperous country as the centre of the “greater Bengal economy” and the two countries will enjoy stronger ties of friendship.
“I have the dream,” said Ambassador Izumi, who spent two years in Bangladesh, adding that it is time for Bangladesh to “bravely tackle with drastic structural reforms”.
“It is very much possible to realise the dream of Sonar Bangla,” he said.
The Japanese envoy was addressing his farewell reception at his residence in the evening. Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi also spoke at the programme.
“It’s very much possible (to achieve goals) if only Bangladesh can henceforth follow the path of sound development,” he said adding that Bangladesh can do it under the “strong and stable” leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Veteran Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed, Prime Minister’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, her Energy Affairs Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Energy Nasrul Hamid Bipu, ambassadors and high commissioners stationed in Dhaka, business leaders and opposition leaders, cultural personalities, senior journalists and Japanese societies were also present.
Ambassador Izumi said Bangladesh is now on a historical stage of opportunity for development. “It’s recently reported that its GDP growth rate in the past 10 years marked as one of the highest in the world surpassing that of India and China,” he added.
He said Bangladesh must pursue both economic development and political democratisation hand in hand to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Talking about Bangladesh-Japan growing relations, the Ambassador said, “I see the Bangladesh-Japan relationship as a cherry tree. You, me and all are the blossoms. And when we come together and work together, it is a glorious sight.”
He said the bilateral relations, during his tenure, has grown larger and become more significant. “Big infrastructure projects are now ongoing. A number of Japanese companies have become interested in investing in this country,” he noted.
“It was a great pleasure and a badge of honour for me to serve as an ambassador to Bangladesh,” said the Ambassador, adding that diplomatic ties between the two countries have further strengthened after reciprocal visits conducted by foreign ministers of Japan and Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Hasina’s visit to Japan has set an important milestone in our bilateral relations, he noted.
“I’d also like to thank the government of Bangladesh for providing substantial security for Japanese nationals and companies,” the outgoing ambassador said.
He hoped that amicable bilateral relations will reach new heights as he looks forward to the 50th anniversary of Japan-Bangladesh diplomatic relations in 2022.
Dr Gowher Rizvi said Japan stood by Bangladesh since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and has been a tested friend of Bangladesh.
He said the friendship between the two countries has been “extraordinarily deep, strong” under the short tenure of the outgoing Japanese Ambassador.
“You’ve become such a part of our family, our country and people,” Dr Gowher said, adding that the bilateral relationship has now been “deepened and diversified”.
The Adviser said in the two years of Japanese ambassador’s tenure in Dhaka he pushed them really hard.
“Normally we run after our development partners. In your case, you came forward and pushed us,” he said mentioning progress of some mega projects making Bangladesh a part of Japan’s BIG B (Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt) initiative.
Famous singer Farida Parveen, Ustad Abdul Hakim and two Japanese singers also performed at the reception. The ambassador himself sang a Bangla song.
Dhaka, Sept 17 (UNB) - UN human rights experts have called for an end to society’s addiction to fossil fuels ahead of the Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23.
“Burning coal, oil, and gas produce the vast majority of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in the global climate emergency that endangers human rights in every region of the planet,” said the experts in a joint statement issued from Geneva on Tuesday.
They said a safe climate is a vital element of the right to a healthy environment and is absolutely essential to human life and wellbeing.
“In today’s global climate emergency, meeting the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill human rights could help spur the transformative changes that are so urgently required,” the statement said.
The UN experts are David R Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment; Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food; Léo Heller, Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation; Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples; Elżbieta Karska (Chairperson), Githu Muigai (Vice-Chairperson), Surya Deva, Dante Pesce, and Anita Ramasastry, Members of the UN Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises; Saad Alfarargi, Special Rapporteur on the right to development; Dainius Pῡras, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health; Philip ALSTON, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; and Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Twenty-seven years after all States committed to tackling the challenge of climate change through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the share of the world’s energy provided by fossil fuels remains unchanged at 81 percent.
Since 1990, global energy consumption has grown 57 percent, with coal consumption up 68 percent, oil use up 36 percent and natural gas use up 82 percent.
They said climate change is already causing increased frequency, intensity and duration of extreme weather events, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea levels, storm surges, saltwater intrusion, ocean acidification, changes in precipitation, flooding, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, increased air pollution, desertification, water shortages, the destruction of ecosystems, biodiversity loss and the spread of water-borne and vector-borne disease.
“Among the human rights being threatened and violated by climate change are the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation, a healthy environment, an adequate standard of living, housing, property, self-determination, development and culture,” the statement added.
They said to empower and protect vulnerable populations requires mobilizing at least $100 billion in annual adaptation funding to assist low-income countries, and establishing a new fund, financed by an air passenger travel levy, to support small island developing States and least developed countries in addressing loss and damage caused by climate change.
Wealthy countries and other large emitters must lead these efforts and provide the majority of the requisite financing, the UN experts said.
Dhaka, Sept 17 (UNB) - The United Nations Global Compact has announced 10 new SDG Pioneers - young business leaders including one from Bangladesh who are doing an exceptional job to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The young business leader selected from Bangladesh is Mashook Mujib Chowdhury, Sustainability Manager of DBL Group.
The 2019 SDG Pioneers will attend the UN Global Compact Leaders Week to be organized on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly from 23 to 26 September at the UN Headquarters in New York.
They will be speaking in the SDG Media Zone on September 25 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. (EDT). The session will be broadcast live.
The 2019 search for SDG Pioneers focused on professionals aged 35 and under, working at any level in a company participating in the UN Global Compact, according to UN Information Centre in Dhaka.
“These exceptional young professionals are demonstrating how breakthrough innovation can create the profitable business solutions needed to address today’s global challenges,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
“The 2019 SDG Pioneers are setting a clear example of the kind of personal leadership that is needed to make the Global Goals a reality by 2030 — and inspiring many others to join the movement towards a more sustainable future for all.”
The SDG Pioneers were judged by an expert panel comprised of representatives of Government, business and civil society.
The selection criteria included the individuals' commitment to embedding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into their companies' core strategies, their efforts to advance the SDGs, as well as their engagement with the UN Global Compact and its Local Networks.
The SDG Pioneers programme is part of the UN Global Compact’s Making Global Goals Local Business campaign — a multi-year strategy to drive business awareness and action in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The other UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers are Regan Leahy, Assistant Citizenship Manager, Hogan Lovells, UK, Murtaza Ahmed, Managing Director, Artistic Milliners, Pakistan, Dylan McNeill, Director of Supplier Sustainability, Royal Philips, Netherlands, Muchtazar, Environment Sustainability Programme Officer, Unilever, Indonesia, SeoJia Han Alvin, Group Sustainability Manager, Singapore Telecommunications Limited, Singapore, Dr Joyce Sitonik, Head of Clinic Business Operations, AAR Health Care, Kenya, Lindsey Verhaeghe, Sustainability Initiatives and Reporting Manager, Nutrien, Canada, Meg Parker Young, Director of Impact Strategy and Development, Thomson Reuters, USA, Zaw Ye Naung, Founder, ShweTaungNyoGyi Co., Myanmar.
Dhaka, Sept 17 (UNB) - Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has requested non-resident High Commissioner of New Zealand to Bangladesh Joanna Mary Kempkers for its support to put pressure on Myanmar so that Myanmar takes back their nationals who are currently staying in Bangladesh.
The High Commissioner expressed high respect for the government of Bangladesh for generously accepting and protecting the displaced people and said New Zealand has provided 18 million dollar for humanitarian assistance to the displaced people and solution to their crisis lies in their early repatriation.
New Zealand is ranked top among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, and therefore Wellington likes to share its experience with Dhaka to improve business climate in Bangladesh to attract more foreign investment, said Joanna.
The issues came up for discussion when she paid farewell courtesy call on Foreign Minister Momen at his office on Tuesday.
High Commissioner Joanna highly praised the socio economic development of Bangladesh in recent years with significant reduction of maternal and child mortality rates, poverty alleviation, and sustained high economic growth.
She expressed keen interest of New Zealand to engage more with Bangladesh economically, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen requested the High Commissioner to help reduce the trade gap between Bangladesh and New Zealand, which remains in favour of New Zealand.
High Commissioner Joanna said New Zealand is expecting business delegation from Bangladesh to New Zealand in November this year where trade and investment opportunities between the two countries will be further explored.
Dhaka, Sept 16 (UNB) - UN-appointed independent investigators on Monday said hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingyas who remain in Myanmar may face a greater threat of genocide than ever, amid government attempts to “erase their identity and remove them from the country”.
In a report detailing alleged violations in Myanmar over the last year, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission insists that many of the conditions that led to “killings, rapes and gang rapes, torture, forced displacement and other grave rights violations” by the country’s military prompted, that some 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh in 2017, are still present.
Citing the lack of accountability for the perpetrators of these alleged crimes, as well as the failure by Myanmar “to investigate genocide and to enact effective legislation criminalising and punishing genocide”, the UN-appointed independent panel concludes “that the evidence that infers genocidal intent on the part of the State…has strengthened, that there is a serious risk that genocidal actions may occur or recur”.
Echoing those findings, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee told the Human Rights Council earlier on Monday that Myanmar had “done nothing to dismantle the system of violence and persecution” against the Rohingya who live in the “same dire circumstances that they did, prior to the events of August 2017”.
Citing satellite imagery of destroyed Rohingya villages, Lee questioned Myanmar’s assertion that it rebuilt areas affected by the violence, given that there were “six military bases that have been built on the site of destroyed Rohingya villages”.
Of nearly 400 Rohingya villages apparently destroyed, “there has been no attempt to reconstruct 320 of them”, the Special Rapporteur noted, and four in 10 villages had been “completely razed to the ground”.
Some of that demolition occurred in 2018 and some even in 2019 “and all of this is completely antithetical to the claim that Myanmar is ready to receive the refugees (back from Bangladesh)”, Lee insisted.
According to the International Fact-Finding Mission’s near 200-page report, the abuses it found were not on the same scale as the “clearance operations” conducted against Rohingya communities in the summer of 2017.
Nonetheless, the 600,000 mainly-Muslim Rohingya still in Myanmar “remain the target” of government efforts to remove them from the country, the expert panel insisted, according to UN News.
The threats the Rohingya minority face include a “continuation of hate speech” and discrimination that affects their ability to work, attend school, seek medical care “or even pray and congregate”, the report notes.
Ongoing gross rights violations still occurring, says rights investigator
Echoing those comments, Lee insisted that Myanmar “continues to be a State that commits ongoing gross violations of international law”.
Humanitarian access remains severely restricted by the State, she went on, and all those involved in the violence – among them, the Tatmadaw State military and the Arakan separatist army – have been responsible for “indiscriminate…heavy artillery fire, gunfire and landmines in civilian areas” linked to the displacement of some 65,000 people across northern Rakhine and southern Chin states since January.
Highlighting information about “reprisals, surveillance and harassment” of people in Myanmar and outside the country who have cooperated with international human rights mechanisms, Lee urged the international community to continue to scrutinize events in Myanmar.
“The parties to the conflict must end their hostilities – the people of Rakhine have suffered enough,” she insisted.
In addition to reports of up to six villages being burned deliberately since the end of June, the Special Rapporteur also noted with concern that the Government-imposed internet blackout has been in place for nearly three months in Kyauktaw, Minbya, Ponnagyun and Mrauk-U, “where the worst fighting is happening”.
Conflict escalated on 15 August when separatists launched attacks in northern Shan and Mandalay, Lee explained, “killing and injuring soldiers, police officers, and civilians”.
This sparked intense fighting between the Tatmadaw State military and the ethnic armed organizations in northern Shan which led to the death of a farmer killed when Tatmadaw “reportedly fired mortars into his village as people were fleeing military helicopters conducting air strikes nearby”.
While welcoming the separatists’ unilateral ceasefire declared last week ahead of peace talks with the Government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Commission scheduled for Tuesday, Lee questioned whether the Tatmadaw were serious about bringing about peace after launching operations against Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) separatists – despite also saying that they were laying down their weapons.