Dhaka, June 20 (UNB) -Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said the international community must take strong resolve to ensure that Myanmar is held accountable for this gross violation of human rights.
"Otherwise the spirit and value of the Geneva conventions would continue to be undermined," he said while addressing a seminar at BIISS auditorium in the city as the chief guest.
The daylong seminar helped shape the debate and discussions around the Geneva Conventions which celebrate their 70th anniversary on the 12th of August this year.
The event titled "70th Anniversary of Geneva Conventions” was jointly organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) and the ICRC in Dhaka.
Head of the ICRC delegation in Bangladesh Ikhtiyar Aslanov, DCAB President Raheed Ejaz and general secretary Nurul Islam Hasib, among others, spoke.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh, having suffered the worst forms of war crimes and crimes against humanity, has remained deeply committed to international humanitarian laws (IHL).
"Our commitment is reflected in our hosting of the Rohingyas and ensuing basic services in Bangladesh," he said.
The Foreign Minister mentioned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken such a bold decision due to her own pledge to humanitarian principles.
"We have also provided unfettered access to all humanitarian actors so that the victims are provided with their necessities and comfort," he added.
Prime Minister’s proposal to establish safe zone within Rakhine is also premised upon her respect for humanitarian principles of safety, security and dignity, he said.
DrMomen said the most glaring example of Bangladesh’s contribution to humanitarian law is its participation in the UN peacekeeping operations.
Bangladeshi peacekeepers for the last three decades have not only been saving loves of millions to civilians in conflict torn areas, they have been praised for their proactive interventions in protecting civilians and providing them with humanitarian support.
To promote humanitarian law in general and the Geneva conventions in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a national committee on International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
The Committee is working on the implementation of the Geneva conventions in Bangladesh including drafting legislations pursuant to those conventions.
He said they are painfully aware that respect for humanitarian law has been descending causing further humanitarian crisis. "Take the example of Myanmar. They have claimed that the Combing operation in Rakhine States was intended counter terrorist threats posed by so called ARSA."
And that resulted into forced displacement of over a million innocent civilians, DrMomen mentioned.
"Not only that the international reports including those from the UN suggest the Rohingyas were subjected to mass atrocity crimes and worst form of human rights violations in Myanmar. They have laid mines to prevent return of the displaced Rohingyas," he said.
Even today, Dr Momen said the Rohingyas continue to flee their homes to save themselves from forced starvation and deprivation of livelihood. It is not only Muslims both Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other Rohingyas are being forced out of their traditional homes and jobs.
Dhaka, June 20 (UNB) - The European Union (EU) has announced €18 million in funding to help improve resilience among Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities in Cox’s Bazar.
Over 288,000 children and families will benefit as part of a three-year EU-supported UNICEF programme, building synergies across four key areas of nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; education; and child protection.
“The support from the European Union allows us to address the issue of resilience in a holistic manner, integrating and harmonizing services for the delivery of better results for Rohingya and Bangladeshi children, adolescents and families,” says TomooHozumi, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh on Thursday.
“We have substantially scaled up our humanitarian response over the past year and a half thanks to strong support from partners like the European Union. At the same time, the situation remains critical with 1.2 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in one of Bangladesh’s poorest and most vulnerable districts.”
Cox’s Bazar is home to 2.3 million people. Around 33 percent live below the poverty line.
Education indicators are among the lowest in the country with the primary school completion rate standing at 55 percent.
Over half of girls marry before the age of 18 years and close to 50,000 children are engaged in child labour.
The district records very high rates of malnutrition. One in two children suffer from stunting due to poor maternal nutrition and the lack of adequate infant feeding and care practices.
Cox’s Bazar is one of the most vulnerable districts to natural disasters in the country including cyclones, flooding and landslides caused by monsoon rains, and the impact of climate change.
“We need to act decisively to secure a better future for all those affected by the refugee crisis. With this strategic support, we aim to ensure continuity between humanitarian and development actions for Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities,” highlights Rensje Teerink, EU Ambassador to Bangladesh.
“We shall tackle the underlying issues to improve access to water, education, child protection and food and nutrition security in Cox’s Bazar. Our aim is to strengthen local development efforts and reduce the need for humanitarian assistance in the future.”
To date, the European Union has contributed €24.8 million to UNICEF to support the Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh.
“The EU has been a key partner for UNICEF throughout the Rohingya humanitarian response.
We look forward to continuing this important partnership to improve the quality of life for Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi host community,” says TomooHozumi, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.
Dhaka, June 20 (UNB) - The birth anniversaries of Kobiguru Rabindranath Tagore and National Poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam were recently celebrated in South Korea.
The celebration took place at Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, the birthplace of the May 18 Democratization Movement and a hub of cultural activities in the Republic of Korea.
It was jointly organised by the Embassy of Bangladesh in Seoul and Bangladesh Community in Gwangju, said the Bangladesh Embassy in Seoul on Thursday.
Vice Mayor of Gwangju City Lee Byung Hoon and President of the Asia Culture Institute Lee Gi Pyo attended the programme as guests of honour.
More than 200 guests including Korean and foreign nationals and expatriate Bangladeshis were present at the event.
The celebration started with the signing of the national anthems of both countries.
Then the ‘Lamp of the East’, a short poem written by Rabindranath Tagore on the Republic of Korea, was recited by a Korean national.
Bangladesh Ambassador Abida Islam, in her welcome address, paid rich tribute to these two stalwarts of Bengali literature and culture.
Comparing the democratic movements in Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea, she said that ‘May 18th Uprising of Gwangju’ inspired Koreans to bring democracy to their country.
Similarly, the works of Tagore and Nazrul were sources of constant inspirations for freedom fighters during Bangladesh’s War of Independence, she said. The national eventually won its freedom under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Abida said that Tagore and Nazrul’s works are still relevant in today’s world and will continue to guide us in the years to come.
Lee Byung Hoon highlighted the similarities between Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea in their struggle for democracy.
He also underlined that the writings of Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam had a profound impact in achieving independence and expressed his optimism of enhanced cultural exchanges between the two friendly nations.
Lee Gi Pyo said this celebration will help Koreans understand the Bengali culture. He said that such events contribute to strengthening the people to people contact and build cultural bridge between the two friendly countries.
Two documentaries on the lives and works of Tagore and Nazrul were screened along with the one the ‘May 18thUprising’.
A representative of the ‘May 18th Memorial’ Kim Hyang Son, Professor Na Kyung Soo of Chonnam National University, discussed the ‘May 18th Uprising’. Dr Narayan Chandra Paul of the same University focused on the contributions of Tagore and Nazrul in their respective remarks.
The cultural segment included songs, dances, and poems of the two legendary poets.
Renowned singer Biswajit Roy captivated the guests with his rendition of Nazrul songs whereas the expatriate Bangladeshi community rendered the Tagore as well as Nazrul songs.
Korean traditional Pansori performance and colorful Chinese dances added a multicultural dimension to this event.
Dhaka, June 20 (UNB) - The Indian High Commission will organise an event at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Friday to commemorate the International Day of Yoga.
The programme will include yoga demonstrations and a mass yoga session from 6am to 8am. Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das will participate in the event.
Thousands of people from all walks of life wearing blue and yellow T-shirts joined last year’s programme.
June 21 was proclaimed as the International Yoga Day on December 11, 2014, by the UN. The resolution was proposed by India and co-sponsored by a record 175 member states.
Since 2015, the day has been celebrated on a large scale in Bangladesh.
Entry to the event in Dhaka is free. All participants will receive, on first-come-first-served basis, free yoga mats, t-shirts and water bottles, according to Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’, deriving from Sanskrit, means to join or to unite, symbolising the union of body and consciousness.
The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
This year’s theme is ‘Climate Action’.
Dhaka, June 20 (UNB) - Force Commanders of the UN Peacekeeping Missions have applauded Bangladesh as the “most reliable, supportive, generous” troops and police contributing country.
They highly appreciated the discipline and professionalism of Bangladesh’s troops in the face of most challenging circumstances.
The Force Commanders of the UN Peacekeeping Missions led by Lt Gen Carlos Loitey, Military Advisor of the UN visited the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN on the sidelines of ‘17th Head of Military Components Conference (HOMC) -2019’ being held at the UN Headquarters on June 17-21.
The delegation composed of 35 members including 12 Force Commanders, said the Bangladesh Mission on Thursday.
The UN’s Military Advisor Lt Gen Loitey highly appreciated Bangladesh’s Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS).
The delegates praised the Mission for the useful exchange of information and the excellent arrangements and warm hospitality.
The delegation visited Bangladesh Mission to learn about their experiences and good practices, particularly in the field of peace operations.
The UN Headquarters chose Bangladesh Mission for Bangladesh’s indomitable success towards development, remarkable contribution to peace operations as well as the reputation and professionalism of Bangladeshi peacekeepers.
Permanent Representative (PR) of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Masud Bin Momen focused on Bangladesh’s enormous contribution to UN peacekeeping operations as one of the top troops and police contributing countries over the years.
In this regard, he mentioned Bangladesh's increasing deployment of female peacekeepers as well as providing modern equipment and training.
He highlighted Bangladesh’s deep engagements in maintaining international peace, security, sustaining peace and peacebuilding discourses at the UN in particular, the peacekeeping ministerial meeting, discussion of the Special Committee on the Peacekeeping Operations (C-34), role in the adoption of the UN Women Peace and Security resolution, Responsibility to Protect (R2P) agenda and the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative of the UN Secretary-General.
The PR also reiterated Bangladesh’s zero tolerance policy in Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in peacekeeping operations.
He highlighted the tremendous socio-economic developments of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The PR said that Bangladesh has fulfilled the graduation criteria from LDC last year and has set a goal to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed and industrialised country by 2041.
Ambassador Masud raised some challenges of Bangladesh such as the Rohingya crisis and climate change, global warming.
Defense Adviser of Bangladesh Permanent Mission Brigadier General Khan Firoz Ahmed briefed the delegation about Bangladesh’s engagement in the UN peacekeeping operations and the dedicated role of Bangladeshi peacekeepers.
He said Bangladesh was always at the forefront in the peacekeeping operations.
“So far, 1,63,181 Bangladeshi peacekeepers participated in 54 UN peacekeeping missions, of whom 1,616 are female. Currently, there are 6,500 Bangladeshi peacekeepers deployed in 10 missions. As many as 146 peacekeepers lost their lives on duty while 227 have been injured,” he added.
He also portrayed Bangladesh’s success stories in bringing peace at various war ravaged parts of the world during the past 30 years.
Two videos were also screened before the delegations on the enormous success of Bangladesh and on peacekeeping operations.