The pandemic has exposed the fault-lines running deep within the international health and financial systems, says the prime minister
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the world leaders to act seriously for the prompt repatriation of forcibly displaced Rohingyas to avert the spread of security risks beyond borders.
“The world must act seriously to make sure these people are back to Myanmar soon. Otherwise, the security risks from the crisis will not just remain confined within our borders. We already see the signs of that,” she said.
The prime minister made the call while addressing the ceremonial opening of the Paris Peace Forum held at Grande Halle de la Villette in the French capital.
In her speech titled “Minding the Gap: Improving Global Governance after Covid-19,” Sheikh Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh helped the world avoid a major regional crisis by giving temporary shelter to Myanmar’s forcibly displaced people – the Rohingya in August 2017. More than a million of them continue to face an uncertain future, she said.
Hasina also said the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fault-lines running deep within the international health and financial systems.
“It has once again laid bare the gaps between the haves and have-nots. We must mind and close those gaps,” she said, adding that there is no option but to secure vaccines for millions of people without access to them.
Turning to climate change, Sheikh Hasina said: “We must keep raising our climate ambitions to save people’s lives, homes and livelihoods.”
The prime minister said it is needed to find answers for the hundreds and thousands of migrants remained stuck at international borders. “We must end discriminations based on race, colour and ethnicity. We must allow our women and girls to break all glass ceilings. We need to create decent work opportunities for all. We must match our words with our deeds and resources,” she said.
Hasina said a rules-based multilateral order must be fair and meaningful for all the people. “Bangladesh believes that peace around the world is the best guarantee for our national security.”
“We avoid the path of conflicts, and seek amicable settlement of disputes,” she said, adding that Bangladesh has resolved land and maritime boundary issues with its neighbours through dialogue and lawful means.
We don’t allow our land to be used for harmful activities against any other countries,” Hasina said.
She said the world is still ridden with too many conflicts and there should be strong international peace diplomacy in the wake of the pandemic. “We’ve a shared responsibility to seek just and lasting solutions to old and new conflicts.”
In 1997, she said, her government ended an armed conflict in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts through a historic Peace Accord. “We vowed a zero tolerance approach to all forms of terrorism.”
For many years now, Bangladesh ranks top among the troop and police-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations, she said.
“We hold on to our faith in the Middle East Peace Process in support of the Palestinian cause,” Hasina added.
She said the Indo-Pacific region must be an area of peace and prosperity for all. “Our vision for the region is to have it free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive,” she said.
The prime minister said the major actors in the region should learn from the past, and work responsibly in the present to ensure a sustainable future.
“Bangladesh wishes to engage with all our partners on the basis of mutual respect and understanding,” she said.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France is uniquely placed to promote international peace and security, she said.
“The world we call our home need not remain divided between the North and the South. As citizens of ‘One Planet’, we must champion our unity by celebrating our empathy, humanity and diversity,” said Sheikh Hasina.
French President Emmanuel Macron convened the Forum held with Forum president Pascal Lamy in the chair.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and US Vice President Kamals Harris also spoke.