National, Front Page

Stop arms races, build peaceful world: PM


By BSS
Published : 05 Dec 2021 10:58 PM | Updated : 06 Dec 2021 02:43 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday stressed the need for building a peaceful world based on partnership urging all to use their resources in ensuring universal sustainable development abandoning arms races.

"At this critical juncture (during the Covid -19 period) in the world, I urge the people to use their resources to achieve universal sustainable development without spending resources on arms races. Let us go down in action, committed to universal peace," she said.

She was addressing the closing ceremony of the two-day "World Peace Conference-2021" in city joining virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence here. A 16-point Dhaka declaration was adopted at the conference. 

The conference started on Saturday at the Hotel Intercontinental in the capital on the Birth Centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Golden Jubilee of the country's independence. 

Sheikh Hasina said that over the past two years, the coronavirus pandemic has plunged the entire world into a new crisis.

"This crisis has proved that none of us are separate. There is no alternative to building an accountable world order based on the partnership to live peacefully in this world," she said. 

The prime minister said that Bangladesh is always ready to work with all based on mutual respect and understanding to fully embrace the ideals of peace of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

She continued: "We made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, and through it, we realized the value of peace and the deepest aspirations of the entire human race. As always, we have unwavering support for the just demands of the Palestinian people." 

Despite the limited resources, Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh has provided temporary shelter to more than 1.1 million Rohingya forcibly displaced from Myanmar adding, as a result, it has been possible to avoid a major humanitarian catastrophe in the region. 

"We are pursuing peaceful diplomacy to repatriate the Rohingya to their homeland," she said. 

A video message from former prime minister of the UK James Gordon Brown was also aired at the closing ceremony. 

Goh Chok Tong, a Singaporean former prime minister, Irina Georgieva Bokova, a Bulgarian politician and the former Director-General of UNESCO, and Husain Haqqani, a senior fellow and director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute, also addressed the concluding session.

Representatives from 50 countries including Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the UN; Jos, Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor, spoke at the inaugural ceremony of the conference, both virtually and in person. 

President of the Organising Committee of the World Peace Conference-2021, Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, MP, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Md Shahriar Alam, MP, spoke on the occasion at the Hotel Intercontinental.

Earlier, the theme song of the World Peace Conference-2021 and an audio-video presentation on the event was screened at the function. 

Turning to Bangabandhu's philosophy of peace, the prime minister said that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's philosophy of peace was far-reaching and an avenue of lasting peace.

She also said that 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 premier quoted Bangabandhu as saying the Father of the Nation 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 said that when Urdu was imposed as the state language on the people of East Bengal after the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the then young student leader Sheikh Mujib protested it.

Bangabandhu was repeatedly imprisoned for organizing movements to establish Bengali as the state language and was released on February 27, 1952, after a long confinement, Sheikh Hasina said.

In the same year, she said that Bangabandhu attended the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference held in Beijing and became the first Bangalee to speak in Bangla in a foreign land.

The prime minister said that on the first page of his book "Amar Dekha Nayachin," he (Bangabandhu) explained his participation in the communists' peace conference.

"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 quoted Bangabandhu as saying.

For a long period of 24 and a half years, Bangabandhu led the war of independence, including all the democratic movements, to realize the just rights of the people of East Bengal, the premier said. 

She said that the Father of the Nation devoted himself to the struggle to rebuild the newly independent country and make the people of this country self-reliant. 

Achieving rapid economic growth, he (Bangabandhu) proved that the people of Bangladesh can change their own fate, but, unfortunately, he only got three and a half years after independence, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said that the assassins of August 15, 1975, did not stop by killing the father of the Nation, they introduced a culture of impunity in this country, promulgating indemnity. 

The prime minister added that in just nine months after independence, Bangabandhu crafted a constitution. 

Article 25 of that constitution attached friendship to the heart of our foreign policy in the field of "promotion of international peace, security, and solidarity," she continued. 

In international relations, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, international law, and the UN Charter were adopted as the basis of foreign policy, she said. 

At the same time, the premier said that Bangabandhu supported the just struggle of the oppressed people worldwide against the use of force, complete disarmament, determination of their respective socio-economic systems, and against imperialism, colonialism, or racism. 

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

The prime minister added while receiving the award in Dhaka on May 23, 1973, Bangabandhu said in his speech, "I had the honor of attending the first Asian and Pacific Peace Conference in Peking in 1952 and the World Peace Council Conference in Stockholm in 1956."

"Bangabandhu said let me mention here that world peace has been one of the fundamental principles of my philosophy of life. I have always been with the oppressed, the exploited, 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," Sheikh Hasina said.

She added that the Father of the Nation enacted the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act in 1974 to ensure Bangladesh's maritime boundaries and the peaceful use of its resources. 

The premier said while addressing the Commonwealth Summit in Kingston, Jamaica on May 5, 1975, Bangabandhu added, "We also continue to support the concept of neutralization of South East Asia and the declaration of the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace".

Bangabandhu said in that summit, "We believe more concerted efforts are called for on the part of the littoral states in pursuit of these objectives in face of the regrettable tendency to develop military bases and accentuate the power privileges in this region," the premier mentioned. 

After 21 long years of struggle and self-sacrifice, Sheikh Hasina said that they were elected by the people in 1996 and formed the government. 

On November 12 of the same year, the premier said her government repealed the Indemnity Ordinance to eradicate the culture of impunity by establishing the rule of law in the country. 

"So we started trial of the murder of the Father of the Nation. On December 2, 1997, we signed a peace treaty ending the bloody conflict with the hill tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts," she said.

"In 1997, we 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," she said. 

She added that accordingly, the United Nations declared 2000 as the 'International Year of the Culture of Peace' and 2001-2010 as the 'Culture of Peace and the Decade of Nonviolence.'

After winning the election in 2008, the prime minister said that they executed the verdict of the killers of the Father of the Nation and started the trial of war criminals by establishing the International Crimes Tribunal. 

"With our neighboring countries India and Myanmar, we resolved maritime disputes through the International Court of Justice," she said.

Bangladesh is proud to be the highest peacekeeper sending country to the United Nations, the premier said.

"We have also adopted a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism and violent extremism. We are working closely with the concerned agencies or organizations to maintain a regional and international peaceful environment," she said. 

The prime minister said that Bangladesh is now a role model in the world in socio-economic development.

"We have received the 'SDG Progress Award.' We have revolutionized electricity, communications, information technology, and agriculture. We have established the economy of the country on a solid foundation and given 187 thousand 679 crore taka as COVID-19 allowance," she said.

"We have emerged from a least developed country to a developing country," she added.

She went on saying that the size of our economy is now US$ 411 billion, per capita income is US$ 2,554. 

In coordination with SDG-2030 to implement Vision-2041, she said her government has adopted the Second Perspective Plan for 20 years. 

"With that goal in mind, we have started the implementation of the 8th Five Year Plan. We are implementing 'Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100'," she said.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is moving forward at an irresistible pace, she said, "We are committed to building the self-esteemed, developed, and prosperous 'Golden Bangladesh' of the Father of the Nation's dream for the next generation".