Dhaka, Jan 19 (UNB) - President of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Lee Mi-kyung arrives here on Sunday night on a four-day visit to discuss development cooperation between Bangladesh and South Korea through KOICA and visit Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar.
She will lead a six-member high-level delegation, said an official.
It will be the first-ever visit of KOICA’s President in Bangladesh after starting its programme here since 1993.
During her visit, she is scheduled to have a meeting with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral development cooperation.
The KOICA President will also observe the KOICA’s development programme in Bangladesh and visit the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar to see the current situation.
She will also attend a programme through which gas cookers will be donated to Rohingya refugees.
The delegation members are Chingsung Chung, Professor, Seoul National University, Korea, Byung-gwan Kim, Director General, Multilateral Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance Department, Donghyun Lee, Director General, Office of the President Sang Jin Park, Director General, Public Relations and Communications Department, Dong sung Seo, Director, Multilateral Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance Department and Daseul Park of Public Relations and Communications Department.
Dhaka, Jan 19 (UNB) – Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait remains “sympathetic” towards the Bangladeshi workers picked up by Kuwaiti police on charge of vandalizing Embassy property and assaulting its three staff physically, said an official on Saturday.
The Embassy is also putting in its “best efforts” to get the “innocent” workers released though the Embassy will have little to do for the “wrongdoers” who will be spotted through CCTV footage, said the official indicating that steps will be taken as per the law.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Kuwait SM Abul Kalam, however, said they are in touch with the officials concerned and working seriously for the early release of the detained Bangladeshi workers.
“We’re looking into the interests of our workers seriously,” he told UNB mentioning that it might take a few more days to get them released as Friday and Sunday are weekend in Kuwait.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen urged all Bangladesh missions abroad and expatriate Bangladeshis to take proper steps to avoid the repetition of any incident like what happened in Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait on Thursday.
Three people, including counsellor (political) and head of chancery Md Anisuzzaman were injured when a group of Bangladeshi workers of a Kuwaiti company – Lesco – attacked them.
“Local police brought the situation under control and picked some workers up. The situation now remains fully peaceful,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Friday night.
The government and the Embassy in Kuwait have taken steps to have the arrested Bangladeshi workers released, said the MoFA.
Lesco has assured the workers of paying their arrears by February 5 and resolving the issues related to renewal of work permit.
Kuwaiti authorities are investigating Thursday’s vandalism and physical assaults on staff inside Bangladesh Embassy by a group of agitated Bangladeshi workers based on First Information Report (FIR).
On Thursday, a group of Bangladeshi workers ransacked the Embassy property, including computers and TV, despite assurance from the Ambassador to address their issues through discussions.
Some 300-400 Bangladeshi workers, employees of the Kuwaiti company, took position in front of the Embassy expressing their grievances against the company over arrears of three months – October-December 2018 – and iqamas (work permits) issues in the morning.
Dhaka, Jan 19 (UNB) - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has pointed out that Myanmar’s “too slow” efforts to ensure Rohingyas’ safe return to their place of origin in Rakhine making him frustrated enormously.
“So, I feel an enormous frustration with the lack of progress in relation to Myanmar and with the suffering of the people,” he told reporters at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
The UN chief said his message has always been the same and it is absolutely essential to create the conditions of confidence and trust.
“It's not only physical reconstruction; it's a matter of reconciliation of communities and strong commitment by the government for that reconciliation of communities to be possible and for the safety of the Rohingya population to be guaranteed,” said Guterres.
Unfortunately, he said, the truth is that the situation on the ground has not been conducive to it and things have been too slow.
“And one of the dramatic aspects when you fail in solving the root causes of a problem is that violence then tends to erupt again, and that's what we have seen recently in Myanmar,” said the UN chief.
Guterres also said, “And, in particular, now I cannot forget the people that [are] living in Bangladesh in extremely, extremely difficult circumstances, as you know.”
The UN chief insisted the need to create conditions for them to be willing to go back. “And one of the first steps that, of course, could be done is to solve the problem of internally displaced.”
He said finding adequate solutions for the internally displaced would be a very good way to give credibility to the perspective of a future return.
The UN chief said Bangladesh is a very important partner for the United Nations in relation to the Rohingya refugees.
“We’re extremely grateful to Bangladesh for its generosity in hosting so many Rohingya refugees in the extremely difficult circumstances that exist and taking into account the problems and the difficulties of the Bangladeshi development in itself,” Guterres said.
Dhaka, Jan 19 (UNB) - Warning against the dangers of widespread fear and mistrust in the planet, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday said he wants to reaffirm the UN as a platform for action to repair broken trust in a broken world.
“The best-selling brand in our world today is indeed fear,” stated Guterres.
“It gets ratings. It wins votes. It generates clicks,” he added, during the press conference, held at UN headquarters in New York.
“I believe the biggest challenge that governments and institutions face today is to show that we care – and to mobilize solutions that respond to people’s fears and anxieties with answers, with concrete answers,” he explained.
The Secretary-General was speaking two days after presenting his areas of action for the UN for 2019 to the 193 Member States, who, he said, widely responded to his remarks by highlighting the importance of multilateralism.
“As we look to the challenges we face – from climate change to migration to terrorism to the downsides of globalisation – there is no doubt in my mind that global challenges require global solutions,” he noted. “No country can do it alone. We need multilateralism more than ever.”
The UN chief noted that “dismissing or vilifying the doubters of multilateralism will lead nowhere,” and insisted on the importance of understanding why “many people around the world are not convinced of the power and purpose of international cooperation.”
Citing the fact that, in the process of globalisation and technological progress, many people, sectors, and entire regions were left behind, he explained the UN needs to focus on addressing the root causes of this widespread mistrust, anxiety, anger and fear, over three key areas of work: accelerating sustainable development, strengthening the added value of the United Nations through reform, and engaging societies to put an end to the rise of hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance.
“We hear troubling, hateful echoes of eras long past. Poisonous views are penetrating political debates and polluting the mainstream,” warned Guterres, as he stressed the need to remember the lessons of the 1930s and the Second World War.
“Hate speech and hate crimes are direct threats to human rights, sustainable development and peace and security,” he said.
Stressing that “words are not enough,” the UN Secretary-General announced he has tasked his Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, to bring together a team to develop a UN-wide strategy and urgent global plan of action against hate speech and hate crimes.
Guterres stated that his “absolute priority for 2019” is to make sure the United Nations is a “platform for action to repair broken trust in a broken world and deliver for people”.
Following his opening remarks, according to UN News Centre, the Secretary-General answered questions from members of press on various issues handled by the UN, including the situation in Venezuela, in Syria, and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the plight of migrants and refugees worldwide, recent uncertainty around the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as UN funding challenges.
Dhaka, Jan 18 (UNB) - The UN’s human rights expert on Myanmar on Friday expressed alarm at the escalating violence in northern and central Rakhine State and Chin State, and called on all sides to exercise restraints in use of force and ensure the protection of civilians.
“Both sides must take precautions and ensure the protection of civilians,” said Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
She said this conflict risks exacerbating divisions among communities in an already fractured state, further complicating the complex situation that exists in the country
“The government should prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all the people of Rakhine State and work towards peace around Myanmar,” Lee said.
Since November 2018, the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, and Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic armed organisation, have been engaged in heavy fighting, resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians, according to a message received here from Geneva.
At least 5,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
Lee condemned an attack by the AA on the four Border Guard Police posts on January 4, 2019, and expressed concern at the Tatmadaw’s disproportionate response to the attack. “It is unacceptable for the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army to conduct hostilities in a manner that impact civilians,” Lee said.
Following the January 4, AA attack, the Tatmadaw deployed a large number of troops to the region. Reports say heavy weapons and artillery, as well as helicopters, have been used in civilian areas, leading to civilian deaths and injuries.
“What’s happening in Rakhine reminds me of the tactics used by the Tatmadaw against ethnic populations for decades,” the Special Rapporteur said. “All the people of Rakhine State, including the Rakhine, Mro, Daignet, Hindu and Rohingya, have suffered enough.”
Blocking Aid is Illegal
On January 10, the Rakhine State government sent a letter to the UN and international humanitarian agencies instructing them all, with the exception of the World Food Program and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to suspend their activities in the five townships in northern Rakhine that are affected by the conflict, Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw.
“It’s vital that assistance is able to reach those who have fled violence, and the government must immediately reverse its decision not to allow access to all humanitarian organisations,” Lee said adding, “I remind the government and the Tatmadaw that blocking humanitarian access is a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”
She said even before the government’s recent order, access to the region for humanitarian organisations was limited, and even less so for media and independent monitors.
“I call on the government to allow full and unfettered access to the region to allow a free flow of information in the interest of the public,” Lee said.
“I’m also seriously concerned about the dangerous rhetoric being used by the government. The ethnic Rakhine population must not be demonised and targeted by the military on suspicion of association with the AA. Equally, this conflict must not be used by the Tatmadaw as a means to further its ongoing campaign of violence against the Rohingya population remaining in Rakhine state."
So far, 15 people have been arrested, apparently on suspicion of links to the AA, including seven young people who were detained for bringing supplies to displaced people at a monastery.
Reports say two of the 15 people remain in detention, including a village administrator, and that they have been charged under the Unlawful Associations Act.