UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: UN
Amid political bickering in Bangladesh, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reiterated his call to all major political parties to engage in a dialogue for creating a congenial atmosphere to hold credible polls as scheduled.
Ban Ki-moon, however, expressed his optimism at Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s offer for dialogue with the opposition on modalities for the interim government during the next general election.
The UN chief made the call during a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni at his office in New York on Monday, according to a message received here on Tuesday.
Dipu Moni briefed him about the latest political developments in the country and assured the UN-Secretary General that the government’s offer for political dialogue on modalities of election is very much on the table and expressed hope that opposition parties would respond to that sooner than later.
Praising Bangladesh’s highest contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, Ban Ki-moon thanked Bangladesh for providing consistent support to UN peace operations, including the latest in Mali.
The UN-Secretary General acknowledged the historic importance of holding the war crimes trials in Bangladesh to bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation and underscored the need for closure on the matter.
Expressing hope that Bangladesh would implement recommendations received during its 2nd UPR, Ban Ki-moon commended Bangladesh for a good UPR session. He praised Bangladesh for its proactive contributions to the open-ended working group on SDGs and the post 2015 development agenda.
The Foreign Minister briefed Ban Ki-moon about various comprehensive actions taken by the government and other stakeholders, including owners, labour organizations, civil society and ILO to create a much stronger labour, health safety and compliance regime under the new Labour Act 2013 awaiting approval by the Parliament.
She reaffirmed Bangladesh’s continued support to UN’s peace initiatives and sought the country’s due share of appointments to senior position in the global peacekeeping architecture.
Dr Dipu Moni attended the UN high-level meeting on the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons being held in New York on 13-14 May and made a number of pledges and recommendations from Bangladesh, including investing in a seamless intelligence network across regions and enhanced mutual legal assistance amongst countries of origin, transit and destination.
She said Bangladesh has positioned itself at the forefront of global and regional anti-trafficking initiatives while relentlessly strengthening its national legal and institutional framework under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The meeting was attended by a large number of Heads of state and government, ministers and high-level representatives from 193 member states.
The foreign minister apprised the meeting that under the present government’s watch Bangladesh embarked on the most groundbreaking anti-trafficking regime, including its first Human Trafficking Deterrence and Suppression Act, 2012, the first National Plan of Action or NPA 2012-14, a set of rules to implement the law focusing on rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims and a nationwide monitoring mechanism through GO-NGO partnerships.
Highlighting Bangladesh’s frontline role in regional and bilateral anti-trafficking initiatives including in Saarc, the Bali Process and with India, Dr Dipu Moni underscored the need for greater dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the prevention of cross-border trafficking in persons from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
She stressed the need for enhanced access by developing country governments and NGOs to the UNODC Small Grants Facility for providing assistance to trafficking victims and called for greater interface between global and regional initiatives to combat trafficking in persons.
Earlier, the Foreign Minister also called on President of the 67th UNGA Vuk Jeremic and exchanged views on a number of crosscutting issues, including the upcoming UNGA high-level meetings on post-MDGs development agenda, migration and development.
Dipu Moni was accompanied by Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, MP, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr AK Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, and Saida Muna Tasneem, Director General (UN) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior officials of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN in New York in all the events.
Later, in the evening, she attended a meeting organised by the expatriate Bangladeshis in New York.