Dhaka, Jan 23 (UNB) – Newly appointed Afghanistan’s ambassador in Dhaka Abdul Qayoom Malikzad on Wednesday requested Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to reopen Bangladesh’s diplomatic mission in Kabul saying that Afghanistan is keen to promote trade and business relations with Bangladesh.
He made the request while paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the latter’s official residence Ganobhaban in the city.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
The Afghan ambassador said Afghanistan has a long history and close relations with Bangladesh and Afghanistan was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh.
He also stressed strengthening the ties with chambers of commerce of the two countries.
He said they are keen to import pharmaceuticals items from Bangladesh as it produces good quality medicine.
Welcoming the new Afghan envoy to Bangladesh, the Prime Minister put emphasis on strengthening trade relations between Dhaka and Kabul. Bangladesh gives value its relation with neighbours, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh imports huge dry food items from Afghanistan and Afghanistan can import high quality medicines from Bangladesh.
The Afghan envoy appreciated Bangladesh's graduation from the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
He also congratulated Sheikh Hasina for her party's victory in the last general election.
In reply, Sheikh Hasina said people voted for Awami League as they get benefitted when Awami League comes to power. Sheikh Hasina said her government's commitment is to make Bangladesh a poverty- and hunger-free country and fulfill the basic needs of people as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Prime Minister focused on her government's social safety net programmes for marginalised people saying that the government is providing incentives for promotion of education of poor families, and for distressed people particularly women.
The Afghan ambassador informed the Prime Minister that the two countries are waiting for signing of five memorandums of understanding (MoU).
Abdul Qayoom Malikzad informed the Prime Minister that democracy in his country is progressing.
PM's Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman and PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan were present.
Cox's Bazar, Jan 23 (UNB) - More than 145,000 Rohingya children living in Bangladesh camps are now attending UNICEF-supported learning centres, as a new school year begins.
Currently 97 per cent of adolescents and youths aged 15 to 24 do not receive any kind of education in the camps, says UNICEF on Wednesday.
This group is extremely vulnerable to child marriage, child labour, human trafficking, abuse and exploitation, it said.
Following a "huge effort" from the humanitarian community to construct a network of around 1,600 Learning Centres throughout the camps – providing vital access to education for children who fled violence in Myanmar – attention is now turning to providing education for thousands of other children who still lack access.
The aim is to eventually reach 260,000 children with education this year through an extended network of 2,500 Learning Centres run by 5,000 teachers and Rohingya volunteers.
“The scale of the Rohingya refugee crisis demanded a rapid response,” said EdouardBeigbeder, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
“But we were only able to respond to immediate needs and could not reach every child. This year we are scaling up services to reach more children than ever before, while focusing on improving the quality of education each child receives.”
The drive to construct more Learning Centres is part of a far-reaching and comprehensive set of initiatives announced by UNICEF to increase access to quality education for children living in the camps.
“I’ve been coming to class for almost a month now,” said Minara, 11, who studied until Class Four in Myanmar, but dropped out after arriving in Bangladesh because the Learning Centres she attended were muddy and too hot.
“It’s nice here,” she says as she surveys the new classroom in Kutupalong camp run by UNICEF partner CODEC. “It doesn’t have a muddy floor.”
Motalab, 12, who is blind, is one of about 600 children with disabilities who have been identified to attend school. Last year his teacher convinced his mother to allow him to attend class. Since returning to class his mood has visibly brightened, he is more outgoing and says he enjoys poetry.
The quality of education in the camps is also being improved through expanded learning modules and lesson plans. New and existing teachers are participating in development training programmes.
“Many children have suffered trauma injuries from gunshot wounds and extreme violence, restricting their mobility and access to services. We see many children with mixed learning abilities, physical disabilities, visual impairment and speech difficulties,” said Iffat Farhana, Education Officer, UNICEF Cox’s Bazar.
“Each of these children has a right to education. With more Learning Centres and more teachers, UNICEF hopes to reach every child to help them learn, grow and realisetheir potential.”
UNICEF is also targeting adolescents with educational training to develop their knowledge and vocational skills.
A UNICEF report last year warned that without urgent action, these teenagers are at risk of becoming a lost generation.
“It is through these targeted interventions that UNICEF is striving to provide education for the hardest-to-reach children, many of whom have severe vulnerabilities,”Beigbeder said. “Our aim is to ensure they can be equipped with the knowledge and skills they require to navigate their future.”
Dhaka, Jan 23 (UNB) - UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee will soon visit Bhashan Char, an Island in Noakhali where the government has planned to shift Rohingyas, to see the situation on the ground.
Lee, who arrived here on Saturday, is now visiting Cox’s Bazar to see for herself the Rohingya situation there amid Myanmar’s continued denial to her access to Rakhine State.
The UN Special Rapporteur has already rescheduled her press conference for Friday instead of Thursday.
"Change date for Press Conference to 25 JAN!! Due to access to Bashan Char island!!! Watch live too!," she tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
Change date for Press Conference to 25 JAN!!— Yanghee Lee (@YangheeLeeSKKU) January 23, 2019
Due to access to Bashan Char island!!! Watch live too!
She is likely to leave Cox's Bazar on Thursday to go to the Island, said an official.
The UN Special Rapporteur arrived here from Thailand where she has been since January 14.
Lee will present her findings and recommendations at the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2019.
The Myanmar government has maintained its decision to cease cooperation with the Special Rapporteur, and refused her entry into Myanmar.
Earlier on Sunday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said the government will take all the interested foreigners, including diplomats, to Bhashan Char in Noakhali to see the situation on the ground once the work is completed there.
“We’re very open. We’re not in any hide-and-seek. Let’s finish the work first,” he told reporters at his ministry.
He said this is “not correct” that the government is not allowing visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee to go to the island.
The UN Special Rapporteur met Foreign Minister Dr Momen at his office on Sunday and discussed issues related to Rohingya crisis.
Talking to reporters, she said it was a fruitful meeting and hoped that her office will collaborate and work together with the office of the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh to help address the Rohibgya crisis.
Lee, who earlier said incidents in Rakhine State bear the “hallmarks of genocide” and called for accountability in the strongest terms, also wanted to visit the island of Bhashan Char in Noakhali.
Asked about Myanmar’s denial to give Lee access in Rakhine, the Foreign Minister said though she is denied today, Myanmar may invite her tomorrow which is possible in this world.
Terming Lee as a prominent person, Minister Dr Momen said her commitment is very strong towards Rohingya issue.
The Foreign Minister said the Rohingya issue is a big problem that Bangladesh is facing now and Bangladesh wants its early solution.
“It’s good if we can resolve it quickly. But the delay might create uncertainty,” he said mentioning that the delay in resolving that problem might affect other countries in the region including Bangladesh, India and Myanmar.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh needs more from all the countries and he sought similar support from Japan, too. “They’ve (Japan) much leverage on Myanmar.”
Terming Myanmar also a friend of Bangladesh, Minister Dr Momen said this single (Rohingya) issue pushed Bangladesh into a problem as Bangladesh is hosting over 11 lakh Rohingyas.
“It’s not the responsibility of Bangladesh alone to send them back and resolve their problems. But it’s a responsibility of all people and all the countries in the world,” said Minister Momen.
Asked whether he is frustrated due to delay in commencing the repatriation, he said the process is slow but he never gets frustrated.
“I’m optimistic. I believe there is a solution to every crisis. You need to have patience. There’re some tasks which are not just like turning on and off of an electric switch,” DrMomen said adding they are thinking afresh how to find a solution.
“I still seek to engage with the Myanmar government and I remain committed to my mandate to monitor the situation of human rights in Myanmar. I’ll continue to meet with people from Myanmar and speak out about human rights issues that occur around the country,” said Lee in a statement announcing her Thailand and Bangladesh visits.
The Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar are the victims of human rights violations committed in the midst of the violence that erupted in August 2017 forcing over 800,000 Rohingyas to take shelter in Bangladesh.
These Rohingya people have been living in camps administered by UNHCR and the government of Bangladesh with support from a slew of UN agencies and international NGOs since August 2017.
Dhaka, Jan 23 (UNB) - Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque has said that the recent internal situation in Northern Rakhine of Myanmar is aggravating the prolonged Rohingya problem and sought US support in resolving the crisis.
"It is the responsibility of the Myanmar authorities to create the right condition so that all the Rohingyas currently staying in Bangladesh feel safe to go back to Myanmar," he said.
The Foreign Secretary held talks with USAID Administrator Mark Green and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador David Hale in Washington on Tuesday and conveyed Bangladesh's message.
The senior US officials welcomed the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary to their respective offices and discussed issues of common interests, said a PID handout on Wednesday
The US officials lauded the generosity and tolerance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for providing shelter to the Myanmar nationals who left Rakhine State amid persecution by the Myanmar Army.
The Foreign Secretary pointed out that immediately after the formation of the new cabinet, the priority identified by the Prime Minister for the new government is good governance and zero-tolerance against corruption.
He said the USA being Bangladesh’s great friend and development partner, the present government looks forward to expanding the existing friendly ties in a multi-sectoral context.
ShahidulHaque said if the US investors come forward, Bangladesh would be happy to offer one of its special economic zones to them.
The US officials termed Bangladesh as a partner that highly matters to them and assured full support towards the solution of the Rohingya crisis.
They were appreciative of the present government’s commitment and various initiatives to nab corruption, combat terrorism and prevent trafficking in person.
The Foreign Secretary also had meetings with the Ambassador Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asia Bureau; Ambassador Michael Kozak, Office Chief, Bureau of Democracy, Rights and Labour; Acting Assistant Secretary Carol Thomson O’Connell, Population, Refugee and Migration Bureau; Ambassador at Large John Cotton Richmond, Office Chief, Trafficking in person and Ambassador at Large Nathan Sales, Counterterrorism Bureau and Counterterrorism Coordinator.
Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Mohammad Ziauddin and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC accompanied the Foreign Secretary during the meetings.
Dhaka, Jan 22 (UNB) - Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Bangladesh Saed Mohammed Saed Hmaid Almheiri on Tuesday met Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and discussed various issues of bilateral relations.
The Foreign Minister expressed happiness at the enhanced engagement between Bangladesh and the UAE in the recent months.
He hoped that there will be further expansion of cooperation in the areas of human resources, trade and investment, civil aviation and defence and other potential sector for the socio-economic development of the two peoples.
During the meeting held at the Foreign Ministry, they also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern as well as cooperation in different multilateral platforms.
Minister Momen assured the UAE envoy of Bangladesh’s cooperation and support in bilateral and international arena.
Ambassador Almheiri conveyed the Foreign Minister the greetings and best wishes of his UAE counterpart, according to the Foreign Ministry.