Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali, MP, addressed the High-level Segment of the UN Human Rights Council yesterday. In his statement, Foreign Minister said that the present Government, under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, is striving to deliver on inclusive and sustainable development in an enabling environment of democracy, good governance, human rights and rule of law.
He highlighted some of the achievements of the Government in the last six years in areas such as poverty eradication, upholding justice, rule of law, people’s empowerment, women empowerment, and overall improvement of the living conditions of the population in Bangladesh. He declared full support for the work of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms affirming that dialogue was the most effective means to promote tolerance, harmony and solidarity among nations, faiths and cultures.
With this conviction, Bangladesh has been participating actively and constructively in the Human Rights Council and will continue to do so during her current membership, he stated.
The Foreign Minister reiterated the strong commitment of the Government to end the culture of impunity through the successful completion of trial of grievous crimes against humanity under the International Crimes Tribunals.
He referred to ongoing violent and terrorist acts perpetrated by the BNP-Jamat alliance in the name of political movements, which are in fact challenging the non-communal, non-confrontational and pluralist identity for Bangladesh. He affirmed that the people of Bangladesh would defeat terrorism and extremism and restore secular and democratic values enshrined in the Constitution of Bangladesh.
Later in the day, the Foreign Minister met with the High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at his office. Minister Mahmood Ali affirmed to the new High Commissioner that Bangladesh has always been supportive of the work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OHCHR to uphold human rights globally.
In their discussion, the political situation of Bangladesh came up. While briefing the High Commissioner about the current spate of violent and terrorist acts committed by the BNP-Jamat activists, the Foreign Minister stated that some of the recent cowardly acts are almost akin to terror tactics used by ISIS and other extreme forces.
The Foreign Minister reiterated the Government’s firm commitment to contain the violence and ensure protection for people in general. The High Commissioner underscored the need for finding a solution to the prevailing situation. He also advised for exchanging information and maintaining contacts between his office and the Bangladesh Permanent Mission on the situation on a regular basis. The Foreign Minister invited the High Commissioner to visit Bangladesh at a convenient time, which he readily accepted.
Same afternoon, the Foreign Minister was received by Ambassador Swing, the Director General at the Headquarters of the International Organization for Migration. The Minister handed over a cheque of US $ 1 million as Bangladesh’s contribution to the IOM Emergency Fund at a simple ceremony. He commended the role of IOM in promoting migration around the world.
He also thanked IOM for helping migrants in crisis situation, particularly for the support rendered to Bangladesh during the urgent repatriation of 17,410 Bangladeshis from Egypt and Tunisia. Thanking the Foreign Minister the Director General said that the contribution symbolized the growing partnership between IOM and Bangladesh. He applauded the active and substantive role Bangladesh was playing in advancing role and rights of migrants in international forums.
The contribution is also an example of burden sharing by a developing country, he added.
Foreign Minister Ali is on a 4-day visit to Geneva beginning 3 March which to attend the High Level segment of the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council. His participation also marks the third term of Bangladesh being elected to the 47-member Council for the period 2015 to 2017.