Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said he sincerely hopes that the "safe, voluntary and dignified" repatriation to Myanmar will happen soon. "As the crisis is turning into its sixth year, it is essential to keep the attention of the global community, while multiple emergencies have been taking place in different parts of the world," he said. The envoy said Japan will continue to work toward the resolution of the Rohingya issue. Read more: Momen ‘not worried’ about Japanese Ambassador’s remarks, calls him a ‘simple, good person’ He said education, skills development and livelihood opportunities are the critical areas of responses for the resilience of the Rohingyas. Ambassador Naoki had an official visit to the camp in Cox's Bazar on Thursday, where over 920,000 Rohingyas reside. Witnessing the ongoing activities in the field, he said, "Every time I visit Rohingya camps, I am impressed by the tireless work of the UN agencies and NGOs for assisting the refugees. This is my last visit to the camp before leaving this country, but I will continue to extend my thoughts and empathy to the government of Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees and host communities." Read more: Japan, UNFPA join hands to provide $3.7 million assistance to Rihingyas in Bhasan Char, host communities in Noakhali He visited an E-voucher outlet and Upcycling Center of WFP, a Learning Center of UNICEF, a skill development site of UNHCR, where Rohingya refugees produce hygiene kits under the collaboration of Japanese company Fast Retailing and UNHCR, and the office of RRRC. Ambassador Naoki also observed the protection and camp management activities of IOM as well as sustainable land management and environmental rehabilitation project of UNHCR. Since the large influx in August 2017, Japan has contributed over 175 million USD to various interventions in Cox's Bazar as well as in Bhasan Char through international organizations and NGOs, according to the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka. These assistances included food assistance, healthcare, WASH, shelter, protection, and gender.
Chief of India’s Border Security Force (BSF), Pankaj Kumar Singh, has said that they will install 5,500 CCTV cameras along the borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan. “The central government has sanctioned Rs 30 crore for this procurement,” he said on Wednesday while addressing the annual press conference in Delhi, reports the Hindustan Times. Read more: BSF hands over body of Bangladeshi farmer after 15 days through Feni border The fund has been sanctioned for surveillance cameras, drones and other monitoring gadgets, the BSF chief said. “We have got around 5,500 CCTV surveillance cameras and some other gadgets and the Union home ministry has sanctioned a Rs 30-crore fund for this procurement,” Singh said. Soon, he said, the CCTV cameras will be installed in the front areas – at the borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan. Read more: BGB, BSF agree to cut border killings While terming the use of drones from across the border as a “major challenge”, for which they do not have a fool proof solution yet, Singh said that BSF has developed “low-cost” technology solutions for monitoring infiltration, drone activity and other crimes at the Indian border. “We have tried to enhance the surveillance in border areas in a big way. This entails use of surveillance cameras and drones on the western and eastern theatres (Pakistan and Bangladesh fronts respectively),” the BSF chief was quoted. India and Bangladesh share 4,096km land border.
Shamima Begum and Mueen Uddin: Academics, international affairs experts in Bangladesh decry UK’s double standards
Academics and international affairs experts in Bangladesh have pulled UK up over its apparent “hypocrisy” for stalling the long-pending extradition request for a convicted 1971 war criminal which is in stark contrast to removing Shamima Begum’s British citizenship with the reasoning that she is “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent”. Shamima – born and raised in UK – had joined Islamic State in Syria but is now fighting in a UK court against revocation of her citizenship. Shamima Begum left her home in East London when she was 15 and travelled to Syria, where she married an Islamic State fighter. On her return to UK, she faced the prospect of death penalty if sent to Bangladesh, her parents’ country of origin, so she is now effectively stateless, a court has heard, reported The Guardian. Shamima’s legal fight came into spotlight recently as her appeal at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission was told that the then home secretary, Sajid Javid, had failed to consider the “serious practical consequences” of removing Shamima Begum’s UK citizenship in 2019. Read more: Less than half of UK population Christian; rapid growth for Muslims: Census Referring to the prompt move on removal of her citizenship by then home secretary Sajid Javid, Bangladesh’s anti-war crimes campaigners have raised questions over the “double standards” of successive UK governments, given their reluctance to consider the gruesome war crimes committed by Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, back in 1971. The UK has turned down Bangladesh’s request for Mueen Uddin’s extradition even after he was sentenced to death for killing the brightest sons and daughters of Bangladesh with the intention to intellectually cripple the soon-to-be-born country, said Professor AKM Zakir Hossain, VC of Kurigram Agricultural University. “As long as they keep sheltering Mueen Uddin and another fugitive convicted criminal Tarique Rahman, they have no moral right to preach our country over rights issues,” added the academic. Tarique Rahman was sentenced to life in prison over the heinous August 21, 2004 grenade attack — launched on an Awami League rally to annihilate the party’s leadership, including the then opposition leader and current PM Sheikh Hasina. Read more: Bangladesh among 70 countries to join UK in tackling sexual violence in conflict Even an FBI official testified in the money laundering cases against Tarique. The acting chief of BNP has also been accused of instigating mobs in Bangladesh to carry out grisly arson attacks in 2013 that killed over 100 people after his party boycotted the election. Unlike Shamima, Mueen Uddin was born and brought up in what is now Bangladesh, and unleashed brutal war crimes on people of this land to assist Pakistan army continue their genocide, one of the worst in global history as around 3 million people were murdered in the nine month-long Liberation War in 1971. Immediately after December 16, 1971, when Bangladesh achieved victory in the war, Mueen Uddin, a leader of the infamous Al-Badr force, fled Bangladesh and moved to the UK. Despite being a fugitive, he managed to get British citizenship and became the vice-chairman of East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, and a director of Muslim spiritual care provision in the National Health Service of the UK. According to British newspaper The Sun, he now lives in a £1 million home in Southgate of North London. Read more: Bangladeshi applicants for UK visa need to pay online from Nov 28 Four decades after his crimes, a Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal tried Mueen Uddin and his cohort Ashrafuzzaman Khan in absentia for killing at least 18 university teachers, journalists, and doctors. The International Crimes Tribunal-2 handed down death penalty for the war crimes in November, 2013. “It is clear that there is a certain interest behind such hypocrisy, nothing beyond the UK’s self-interest. This policy to shelter Mueen Uddin shows how that interest triumphs over human rights. Not only in regards to Bangladesh, UK’s double standard has been demonstrated with several other countries,” commented Prof Imtiaz Ahmed from International Relations Department of Dhaka University. A renowned international relations expert, Prof Ahmed is also Director of Centre for Genocide Studies at DU. On the foreign policy front, UK always prefers what suits its interests first, regardless of the much ado about human rights, says Dhaka University Law department Professor Hafizur Rahman. Prof Hafizur added, “UK government’s stance to grant citizenship to a war criminal shows complete disregard for millions of victim families who lost their loved ones in the hands of war criminals like Mueen Uddin.”
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming had a farewell meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Wednesday. During the meeting, the state minister appreciated Jiming's efforts and contributions to strengthening Bangladesh-China ties. Read more: Masud Bin Momen bids farewell to Doraiswami He also appreciated the Chinese government and the Chinese ambassador for their support in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, the repatriation of Bangladeshi students from Wuhan and the return of Bangladeshi students to China to complete their higher studies.
Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Dhaka Helen LaFave on Wednesday hosted a graduation ceremony of 50 Dhaka-based students of the English Access Microscholarship Program. The Language Proficiency Center administered the program. LaFave praised the 25 young women and 25 young men from local madrasas and public schools for their hard work in completing the two-year course during the pandemic. Read more: US Embassy’s University Fair on Sep 23: Bangladeshi students can talk to admission officials “This year, we are celebrating 50 years of friendship between the United States and Bangladesh and we celebrate the power of young minds to design the next 50 years. You can take your new skills and use them as leaders who will shape the future of Bangladesh,” LaFave said.
British High Commission Dhaka has celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first international football match which was played between two UK nations, England and Scotland, on 30 Nov 1872. The High Commission organised a friendly football match to mark the day, with teams made up of British and Bengali staff representing England and Scotland. Through the anniversary the High Commission celebrated the role the UK played in giving the beautiful game to the world. The anniversary also neatly fell on St Andrew’s Day, which commemorates the Patron Saint of Scotland. Read: British High Commission Dhaka turns to renewable energy through solar panels Cheering on the teams, British Deputy High Commissioner Javed Patel said, “I am a big fan of football and I am delighted we are remembering the beginnings of international football in this way.” He also said, “Football in the UK is global in every way imaginable. Our national league includes players from all over the world. And is followed by fans all over the world, including here in Bangladesh.” Javed Patel said football has the power to bring people together, regardless of their age, race, gender, culture, or nationality. “Today, we celebrate that.”
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has proposed to ease the Guatemalan visa application process for Bangladeshi nationals, and explore the possibility to sign a visa waiver agreement for the diplomatic and official passport holders between the two countries. During a telephone conversation with the Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores, Momen also encouraged investment from Guatemala in Bangladesh. The Guatemalan foreign minister called Momen today and discussed various matters of mutual cooperation in the bilateral and multilateral fronts. The foreign minister of Guatemala sought Bangladesh’s support for his country’s nomination of “Holy Week in Guatemala” to be included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Read: Protesters burn part of Guatemala’s Congress building Momen assured him of Bangladesh’s full support, considering the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries. During the conversation, Foreign Minister Momen expressed satisfaction over the ever-growing bilateral relations between the two friendly countries, based on similar values and principles. Flores hoped to develop a much stronger relationship with Bangladesh in the coming days. Foreign Minister Momen hoped for continuous support from Guatemala in bringing a sustainable and permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis by ensuring the urgent return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar. He also extended an invitation to his Guatemalan counterpart to visit Bangladesh. Read: Guatemala official: 44 deportees tested positive for virus The Guatemalan foreign minister also invited Momen to Guatemala. The two foreign ministers also reiterated their commitment to work together in the multilateral front to address global issues like tackling climate change, displacement of people, ensuring sustainable development, among others.
The UN Forum on minority issues convenes for two days from December 1, with this year’s theme “Review. Rethink. Reform - 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Minority Rights. The 15th session of the forum – the main annual event of the UN system focused on minorities, involving more than 500 delegates – will be guided by the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Dr Fernand de Varennes, and chaired by Daniel Abwa, Professor of History and Director of Academic Affairs and Cooperation at the Université de Yaoundé 1. Read more: 360cr people face inadequate access to water: UN agency “The declaration needs to be better understood, acknowledged and implemented since minorities continue to face denial of their human rights in every corner of the globe,” said de Varennes. “More than three-quarters of the world’s stateless are persons who belong to minorities, and in many countries around the same proportion are the targets of hate speech and hate crimes. As the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also acknowledged a few months ago at the General Assembly’s high-level event on the 30th anniversary of UN Declaration, the time has come to rethink and reform the protection of minorities with the UN showing leadership to address inaction and negligence in the protection of minority rights.” Most of the world’s violence and conflict target minorities on the basis of their religious, linguistic, cultural, racial and ethnic identities, the Special Rapporteur said. Officials from governments, the UN, intergovernmental, national and regional organisations, civil society and minority representatives from different parts of the world will be among those joining the forum. This years’ agenda will focus on the normative frameworks and the mainstreaming of the declaration at the UN; minority rights defenders and their role in promoting principles of the declaration; filling the gaps in the implementation of the declaration and urgent situations faced by minorities. Read more: Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on minority issues to spotlight stronger protection for minorities The forum starts at 10am on 1 December with a live performance by a group of minority artists. Speakers will include the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk; Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th UN General Assembly; Ambassador Federico Villegas, President of the United Nations Human Rights Council; and Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s High Commissioner on National Minorities. Discussions at the forum, along the outcomes from four regional forums held during the year, will help the Special Rapporteur frame recommendations to be presented to the Human Rights Council in March 2023. The forum will be held in Geneva in person and will be livestreamed at media.un.org.
Newly appointed Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma today said that Bangladesh always gets the highest priority from his country. “India has a policy for neighbouring countries. But in this regard, Bangladesh gets the highest priority. Bangladesh always gets priority in any case,” the envoy was quoted as saying. He said this while calling on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganabhaban. PM’s Deputy Press Secretary KM Shakhawat Moon briefed reporters after the meeting. Read: New Indian envoy meets State Minister Shahriar Alam The Indian high commissioner said that Bangladesh and India will continue to work together to curb terrorism in the region. He also termed Bangladesh as “a very good friend” of India. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has categorically said that Bangladesh never allows terrorism, adding that terrorism has no religion and boundary. “Awami League has never tolerated terrorism, and it never allows using Bangladesh’s soil for that purpose,” she said.
Bangladesh High Commission in Canada has urged all “peace-loving and patriotic Bangladeshi-Canadians to be cautious of those spreading anti-Bangladesh propaganda from Canada”. In a notice released on November 28, 2022, the high commission in Ottawa, Canada said that individuals and media involved in anti-Bangladesh propaganda and activities and their promoters, supporters as well as money launderers, loan defaulters, and people engaged in “hundi trade” will not be provided any consular service. Also read: Momen, Canadian High Commissioner welcome formation of CBAA The high commission noted that some media and individuals have been engaged in anti-Bangladesh propaganda for long. It particularly mentioned an online TV and its owner in Montreal. A number of money launderers, loan defaulters, convicts and accused “hundi traders” have been found involved in spreading rumours and propaganda against Bangladesh, the notice said. Such anti-Bangladesh activities are being monitored and concerned authorities will be notified for proper action in this regard if needed, the high commission in Canada further said. Also read: Bangladesh envoy to Canada gets promotion.