Avoid war and work for peace-prosperity: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called on the world leaders to work together for the welfare and economic prosperity of mankind by avoiding the path of war and conflict.
She made this call in her address to the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations on Friday (September 22).
The Prime Minister said, appeal to world leaders to avoid war, sanctions and conflict. Work for lasting peace, human welfare and economic prosperity for our people and future generations. Being oppressed me and a witness to the brutality of war and killing, I can feel the pain and suffering that people endure due to the horrors of war, killing, insurgency and conflict.
She said, we must make a collective effort to face common challenges to build a safe, peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for all. For this, we must choose unity, solidarity and multilateralism over division, parochialism and isolation. To achieve peace and sustainable prosperity, we must pursue principles of justice, equity and fairness, based on the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda.
Sheikh Hasina said, after the formation of the government in 2009, we have invested heavily in the establishment of inclusive and modern democracy for the welfare of people to make the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman a reality. We have been able to transform Bangladesh from a lower middle income country to an upper middle income country through practical policy making, far reaching thinking and investment. We have reduced the poverty rate from 41.5 percent in 2006 to 18.7 percent in 2022 and the extreme poverty rate from 25.1 percent to 5.6 percent. We have made steady progress towards achieving the SDGs, continuing Bangladesh's success in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, like other countries in the world, Bangladesh has also faced serious challenges in this regard. The coronavirus, various man-made crises and natural disasters have compounded the challenges manifold. For that reason, we welcome the successful hosting of the UN SDG Conference this year and the political declaration adopted at it. Despite some limitations, we believe this political declaration will accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda.
Referring to the issue of SDGs, the Prime Minister said that financing is an important regulator in achieving the SDGs within the stipulated time. But it is not very unfortunate that the existing international financial infrastructure is not compatible with the goals, nor is it capable of meeting the financial needs of developing countries in times of crisis. Today we urgently need an international financial infrastructure that will help developing countries raise money at special concessions, at low costs, at low interest and with minimum conditions. In addition, developing countries should have equitable access to the IMF's SDR funds during emergencies and disasters. All loan arrangements should include special provisions regarding natural calamities. We sincerely thank the UN Secretary-General for proposing a 500 billion stimulus package. We demand speedy implementation of this proposal.
She said, in achieving the SDGs, we have given serious consideration to ending discrimination against women. Bangladesh is committed to ensuring women's empowerment and gender equality and fulfilling expectations within the stipulated time. We have given special importance to overall education including women's education. Free textbooks are being distributed to students from 2010 to secondary level. Stipends, scholarships and one-time grants are being given to about 2 crore 53 lakh students from primary to higher education level. More than half of them are women. A total of 30 percent of our national budget is allocated for social and economic empowerment of women. In politics, we have ensured women's representation at all levels of government, from the highest to the lowest. We aim to ensure 50 percent participation of women in every sector by 2030. To achieve this goal, we are working to eliminate child marriage, violence against women, trafficking in women and other crimes through the formulation of appropriate laws and their proper implementation. We support all international initiatives for the advancement of women through the UN General Assembly's 'Platform for Women Leaders'.
The Prime Minister also said that this year we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this occasion, we must reaffirm our commitment to global humanity and take collective initiatives to ensure equality, justice and freedom for all. Also, it must be ensured that the protection of human rights is not used to create political pressure on developing countries. The constitution of Bangladesh guarantees fundamental human rights to all. Bangladesh's legal system has undergone significant reforms in the last decade to provide legal protection and justice to all. As a responsible state, we are fully committed to protecting people's human rights. As an elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, we work with other members to protect the human rights of countless people around the world. Today in this session I want to unequivocally declare that Bangladesh will ensure democracy, rule of law and freedom of expression in the light of the constitution.
Throwing light on the Rohingya crisis, Sheikh Hasina said, qne million Rohingya forcibly displaced from MyanmarI I am drawing your attention to the community. Last month marked six years since the Rohingya were displaced. We have temporarily sheltered them for purely humanitarian reasons. But the situation has become really unbearable for us now. The prolonged presence of Rohingyas in Bangladesh has had a serious impact on Bangladesh's economy, environment, security and socio-political stability. Uncertainty over repatriation has led to widespread frustration among the Rohingya population. This situation can fuel potential radicalization. If this situation continues, it may affect our regional and international security and stability. The displaced Rohingyas want to return to their home country of Myanmar and live a peaceful life there. Let us ensure the return of these destitute people to their own country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina started her speech at 11:22 pm Bangladesh time on Friday. Sheikh Hasina addressed the UNGA session for the seventeenth time in Bengali, following in the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's speech on September 25, 1974. The theme of this year's UNGA is 'Rebuilding Trust and Rebuilding Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action for the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals for Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability for All.'
Incidentally, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in New York on September 17 to attend the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly and other high-level events. She will leave New York for Washington on September 23 and stay there until September 29. She will leave for London on September 29 after completing her visit to Washington. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will stay there till October 3 and will return home on October 4.