PM’s UNGA speech was on point
At a time when the world faces multiple threats that seem to have no sign of abatement, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has hit the right chords of relevance and immediacy. Her speech very succinctly brought forward the most formidable crises: the Russia-Ukraine war, effects of climate change, and the Rohingya crisis. These are all emergencies that have not been adequately addressed by the developed nations of the world.
Her pointed remarks about the continued Rohingya crisis and Bangladesh taking the brunt of it – with the international community playing no effective role in solving it – should be a wake-up call. As she rightly said, the uncertainty over repatriation has led to widespread frustration among both the refugees and the host population.
Against the backdrop of the virtual inaction and silence of the international community, PM Hasina has made some bold statements alerting them to the devastating consequences of allowing these crises to continue. Her pointed remarks about the continued Rohingya crisis and Bangladesh taking the brunt of it – with the international community playing no effective role in solving it – should be a wake-up call. As she has rightly stated, the uncertainty over repatriation has led to widespread frustration among both the refugees and the host population. Cross-border organised crimes, including human and drug trafficking, have risen while the armed conflict in Myanmar is further hampering the repatriation process. The PM also mentioned the increasing threat of radicalisation. All these, she said, have security implications for the entire region and the international community has to take them seriously and take effective action to solve the crisis.
As she has also done before, Sheikh Hasina was emphatic in her call for an end to the Russia-Ukraine war, and appealed to the conscience of the world in stopping the arms race and sanctions. She reiterated how the prolonged war is threatening lives and livelihoods of people around the world and causing extreme suffering and insecurity, especially for children.
The PM urged world leaders to promote inclusive climate actions and mentioned the measures Bangladesh is taking to reduce the country's vulnerability against impacts of climate change through the "Mujib Climate Prosperity Plans." In an AFP interview during the UNGA, she expressed her disappointment at the tepid response of wealthier nations – which are the highest polluters – regarding their commitment to contribute to the climate fund as agreed in the Paris Accord. These funds would be used by developing countries that are most affected by climate change in order to cope with its devastating impacts.
Sheikh Hasina's resolute support of the Palestinian people, and the two-state solution, was also a bold move in the wake of the warming up of some Middle Eastern countries towards Israel which continues to pursue its policy of occupation.
Overall, the PM's speech was substantive, frank and clear on the need to move away from rhetoric and push forward for effective, immediate actions to solve these multifarious crises affecting global peace and stability.