TO promote research, education and practice of international law among law scholars and practitioners in Asia and to foster the Asian perspectives of international law, the Bangladesh Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL Bangladesh), in collaboration with the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL), organised an international conference on South Asia and International Law: Engagement or Encounter? to mark its formal launch on August 23-24, 2014 at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, Dhaka. Hon'ble Minister Mr. Anisul Huq, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, inaugurated the conference as the Chief Guest.
This two days' conference specifically focused on the areas of International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, Refugee and Migration Law, International Trade and Investment Law and International Environmental Law. The participants of the conference were the Judges of the International Court of Justice, jurists, distinguished lawyers and academics from eighteen different countries of the world. The conference was unique as it accumulated diverse voices of International law from different perspectives. The typical and atypical factors connected with the international law discourse were thoroughly addressed from cross cultural perspective. This conference was successful to introduce the Asian perspectives on International law issues including the context of Bangladesh to a wider world with an active and engaged voice from the participants.
Dr. Borhan Uddin Khan, Professor of Law, University of Dhaka and President, Bangladesh Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law underscored the importance of active contributions of Asian States to the development and evolution of International law, while addressing the inaugural session.
The new global order emerging at the end of the Second World War was marked by the affirmation of the universality of human rights and the sovereignty of equality of nations. The role of International law was transformed from preserving the global status quo to becoming an instrument of dynamic change. In this regard, Dr. Kamal Hossain, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh said, the concerns of the Asian counties have contributed significantly to shaping the evolving global agenda particularly in areas of their common concern such as development and human rights.
Professor Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, President of Asian Society of International law, said that throughout our Asian history, Asia has accumulated so much wisdom in the practice of the relations between states and their peoples. But without an instrument or a platform where Asians can accumulate and crystallise their legal and customary practices into law, international law became the result of western dominant state practice.
Asian contributions to the future development of international law will be so valuable towards peace, prosperity and towards both state to state and people to people relations of this century, he added.
H.E. Judge Hisashi Owada, Judge and Former President of the International Court of justice and the Founder President of the Asian Society of International Law stressed in his key note address (he was unable to attend due to illness) that Asia has risen as an active and influential player in international relations –in fields such as peace and security, international trade and investment, human rights, environment and many other fields of international activities.
The nations of Asia, as well as people in academia and in the field of practice working in Asia, should come forward to have their voices heard on these important issues and to contribute to the development of international law and to consolidate the rule of law in various fields of present day international relations, he urged.
During two days of the conference, there were more than twenty speakers who presented paper on the five thematic international law issues.
It is to be noted that established under a trust, the Bangladesh Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL, Bangladesh), is a country chapter of the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL). In line with the overall objectives of the AsianSIL, the Bangladesh Chapter aims to serve as a centre of activities among international law scholars and practitioners in Bangladesh for study and research in the discipline of international law. To materialise this objective, the Bangladesh Chapter will initiate a wide range of activities, including but not limited to, organising conferences, seminars, workshops, trainings, moot court competitions etc. and especially, at an appropriate time, publishing a specialised journal dedicated to international law related issues - the Bangladesh Journal of International Law.
THE WRITER IS A LECTURER OF LAW, EASTERN UNIVERSITY.