Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday demanded an immediate end to the Ukraine-Russia war and resulting sanctions for the sake of lives and livelihoods of the people throughout the world.
“We want the end of Russia-Ukraine war. Due to sanctions, and counter-sanctions, not a single country, rather the entire mankind including women and children is punished,” she said.
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The prime minister made the call while delivering her speech in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Like the previous years, she spoke in Bangla. The theme of this year’s general debate is “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”.
She mentioned that the impact of Russia-Ukraine war does not remain confined to one country, rather it puts the lives and livelihoods of the people of all nations at greater risk, and infringes their human rights. People are deprived of food, shelter, healthcare and education.
She said children suffer the most in particular and their future sinks into darkness. “My urge to the conscience of the world community – stop the arms race, war and sanctions. Ensure food and security of the children. Establish peace,” she said.
She wanted to see a peaceful world with enhanced cooperation and solidarity, shared prosperity and collective actions. “We share one planet, and we owe it to our future generations to leave it in a better shape,” she said.
She noted that all believe that antagonism like war or economic sanctions, counter-sanctions can never bring good to any nation. “Dialogue is the best way to resolve crises and disputes,” she added.
In this context, she thanked the UN Secretary General for setting up the Global Crisis Response Group.
“As a champion of this group, I am working with other world leaders to determine a global solution commensurate with the gravity and depth of the current situation,” said the Bangladesh premier.
“My earnest appeal to you — stop war, stop arms race. May the values of humanity be upheld. Let us join our hands together and build a better future leaving no one behind,” said Sheikh Hasina.
As a result of the Ukraine-Russia war, economic sanctions and counter-sanctions, there has been a supply chain disruption and exorbitant price hike fuel, food and consumer goods, she said.
“This has brought the economy like ours under tremendous pressure. Inflation has been increased. We (Bangladesh) are taking various initiatives to overcome this situation,” she noted.
Rohingya crisis may affect stability of the entire region, and beyond:
Talking about the forcibly displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar, Sheikh Hasina said, last month Bangladesh witnessed the five years of the 2017 mass exodus of the Rohingyas to Bangladesh from their home country.
“Not a single Rohingya was repatriated to their ancestral home Myanmar, despite our bilateral engagements with Myanmar, discussions with partners in trilateral format and engagements with the UN and other partners to assist Myanmar to create necessary conditions for safe and dignified repatriation,” she complained .
In this connection, she said the ongoing political turmoil and armed conflicts in the country has made the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas more difficult. “I hope the United Nations will play an effective role in this regard,” the PM added.
Talking about the prolonged presence of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh, she said, it has caused serious ramifications on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability in Bangladesh.
“Uncertainty over repatriation has led to widespread frustration. Cross border organized crimes including human and drug trafficking are on the rise,” she said adding that even this situation can potentially fuel radicalisation.
“If the problem persists further, it may affect the security and stability of the entire region, and beyond,” she cautioned.
Promote inclusive climate action: PM to world leaders
Regarding the impact of climate change she said it is one of the biggest threats to mankind. “In the past, we have seen a vicious cycle of promises being made and broken. We must now change this course,” she said.
In Bangladesh, she mentioned that the government has led to many transformative measures to tackle dangerous impacts of climate change consistent with implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
During Bangladesh’s Presidency of Climate Vulnerable Forum, it launched ‘Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan’, which aims to put Bangladesh on a sustainable trajectory from “one of vulnerability to resilience to climate prosperity,” she said.
“Our national plans and policies on climate change and natural disaster are gender responsive and take into account the critical role of women in adaptation and mitigation,” said Hasina.
She said Bangladesh is ready to support other vulnerable countries to develop their own prosperity plans. “I call on world leaders to promote inclusive climate action,” she said.
Zero tolerance policy on terrorism and extremism:
The PM reiterated Bangladesh’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy on terrorism and violent extremism in Bangladesh. “We do not allow our territory to be used by any party to incite or cause terrorist acts or harm to others,” she said.
She also called upon the UN member states to work together for the conclusion of an internationally binding instrument to tackle cyber-crimes and cyber-violence.
Bangladesh fully committed to protecting human rights:
As a responsible member state, Bangladesh is fully committed to protecting and promoting the human rights of its own people. We have adopted a holistic and inclusive approach to ensure the political, economic, cultural and social rights of the people.
She said Bangladesh is interested in looking for transformative solutions to poverty alleviation, mitigating climate change effects, preventing conflicts and finance, energy and fuel crises that the world is grappling with now.
“However, we need to understand the fact that socio-economic development cannot be achieved without ensuring peace and stability,” she said.
Dhaka to continue support to Palestinians:
The premier said Bangladesh will continue to extend its support to the occupied Palestinian people.
She reiterated Bangladesh’s unequivocal support for the two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Briefly describing the success of Bangladesh in controlling Covid-19, she said, as of August 2022, one hundred percent of the eligible population of Bangladesh have been vaccinated.
The PM indicated that the greatest lesson learned from the Covid-19 pandemic is that “until all are safe, no one is safe”.
“We must use the hard-earned lessons to stimulate critical and much needed reforms of our institutions, including of the United Nations, to better prepare for such calamities in the future,” she said.
Besides, the prime minister highlighted the economic progress of Bangladesh, its successes in different sectors including education, food security and health, and gender inequality.