World Peace Conference: Use resources for dev, not arms: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the global community to use resources for universal and sustainable development, not for arms, in this critical juncture of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Let's go down in action, commit to universal peace," she said.
The PM was addressing the closing ceremony of the World Peace Conference at Hotel InterContinental, joining it virtually from the Gono Bhaban.
Dhaka hosted the two-day international conference on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the country's independence as part of promoting a culture of peace and tolerance.
Hasina said the coronavirus pandemic has plunged the entire world into a new crisis. "This crisis has proved that no one of us is isolated. There's no alternative to building an accountable-world order based on the partnership to live peacefully in this world," she said.
The premier said 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.
Hasina said Bangabandhu's philosophy of peace was a far-reaching one and an avenue of lasting peace. "He [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."
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 said.
She said the father of the nation in his book, "Amar Dekha Nayachin", explained his participation in the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference held in Beijing in 1952 saying, "We're 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 said Bangabandhu 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.
Quoting from the speech Bangabandhu delivered while receiving the award in Dhaka on May 23, 1973, 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."
The PM said her government signed a peace treaty ending the bloody conflict with the hill tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in 1997. Bangladesh (during the AL regime) first proposed a resolution on the declaration and programme of action of a "culture of peace" at the United Nations, which was adopted on September 13, 1999.
"We're proud to be the highest peacekeeper-sending country to the United Nations. We're also adopted a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism and violent extremism. We're working closely with the agencies or organisations concerned to maintain a regional and international peaceful environment," she said.
"We're pursuing peaceful diplomacy to repatriate the Rohingyas to their homeland," the PM said.
Chair of the conference's organising committee Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury presided over the concluding session, while former prime minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong, former director general of Unesco Irina Bokova, Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Foreign Minister Abdul Momen and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam also spoke on the occasion.
DHAKA PEACE DECLARATION
The conference ended with the adoption of a 16-point Dhaka Peace Declaration, emphasising the importance of democracy, good governance and the rule of law as critical factors for global peace and stability.
It underlined the need for social justice and inclusive development as central pillars of a stable, peaceful and equitable society.