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Hasina seeks end to arms races, concerted action for universal peace

IANS | December 06, 2021 09:10 AM

DHAKA:Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday stressed the need for building a peaceful world by abandoning arms races and urged the global community to use their resources in ensuring universal sustainable development.

"At this critical juncture in the world, I urge people to use their resources to achieve universal sustainable development without spending resources on the arms races. Let's take action and commit to universal peace, " she said in her address at the closing ceremony of the two-day "World Peace Conference-2021" being held in Dhaka, joining virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence.

A 16-point Dhaka Declaration was adopted at the conference.

Noting the coronavirus pandemic has plunged the entire world into a new crisis, she said: "This crisis has proven that not one of us is isolated. There's no alternative to building an accountable world order based on partnership to live peacefully in this world."

Quoting from the speech Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered while receiving the award in Dhaka on May 23, 1973 Sheikh Hasina said: "Let me mention here that world peace has been one of the fundamental principles of my philosophy of life. I've always been with the oppressed, the exploited and the peace-loving and freedom-loving people in any part of the world. We want peace to reign in every part of the globe. We want it to consolidate."

Bangabandhu had also called for upholding a policy of non-alignment and the establishment of friendly relations through ending warfare and arms races to maintain world peace, she noted.

Sheikh Hasina said the Father of the Nation, in his book "Amar Dekha Naya Chin", explained his participation in the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference held in Beijing in 1952 by saying: "We are willing to join the peace conference of those who want peace in the world today. We agree to raise thousands of voices with all those fighting for peace, be it Russia, America, Britain, or China - we want peace."

She mentioned that Bangabandhu was nominated for the Julio Curie Medal in a declaration in Helsinki on October 10, 1972, for his outstanding contribution to world peace by establishing the rights of the oppressed people in the country.

Dhaka hosted the two-day international conference on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of the country's Independence to promote a culture of peace and tolerance.

She also said the Father of the Nation's philosophy of peace was a far-reaching one and an avenue of lasting peace. "Bangabandhu has proved that freedom from all shackles of deprivation-inequality-exploitation eventually from dependency and achieving prosperity by ending hunger and poverty may construct this path."

The Prime Minister also mentioned that her government signed a peace treaty ending the bloody conflict with the hill tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in 1997. Bangladesh, during the Awami League regime, first proposed a resolution on the declaration and program of action of a "culture of peace" at the United Nations, which was adopted on September 13, 1999.

Accordingly, the UN declared 2000 as the International Year of the Culture of Peace and 2001-2010 as an International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, she mentioned.

After winning the 2008 election, her government executed the verdict of the killers of Bangabandhu, started the trial of war criminals, and resolved maritime disputes with neighbouring India and Myanmar through the International Court of Justice, she said.

"We are proud to be the country that sent the most peacekeepers to the United Nations. We also adopted a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism and violent extremism. We are working closely with the concerned agencies or organisations to maintain a regional and international peaceful environment, " she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh always has unwavering support for the just demands of the Palestinian people.

Despite limited resources, Bangladesh has provided temporary shelter to more than 1.1 million Rohingya from Myanmar.

"As a result, it has been possible to avoid a major humanitarian catastrophe in the region. We're pursuing peaceful diplomacy to repatriate the Rohingya to their homeland, " she said.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is now a role model in the world in socio-economic development, she said her government has established the economy of the country on a solid foundation. The size of our economy is now $411 billion and per capita income is $2, 554, she added.

"We're committed to building the self-esteemed, developed, and prosperous 'Golden Bangladesh' of the Father of the Nation's dream for the next generation, " said Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.

Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, who was chair of the conference's organising committee, presided over the concluding session, while former Prime Minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong, UNESCO's former Director General Irina Bokova, Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr Abdul Momen and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam also spoke on the occasion.

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