‘Resources should go to development, not arms race’

PM says at World Peace Conference

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the global community to use resources for universal and sustainable development, not for arms, at this critical juncture of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At this critical juncture in the world, I urge people to use their resources to achieve universal sustainable development without spending resources on the arms race. Let’s get down to action, commit to universal peace,” she said.

The prime minister was addressing the closing ceremony of the World Peace Conference at InterContinental Dhaka, joining it virtually from her official residence 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 not one of us is isolated. There’s no alternative to building an accountable world order based on partnership to live peacefully in this world,” she said.

The prime minister 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.

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.

Hasina 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.

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 program of action of a “culture of peace” at the United Nations, which was adopted on September 13, 1999. Accordingly, the UN declared 2000 as the “International Year of the Culture of Peace” and 2001-2010 as an international decade for a “Culture of Peace and Non-Violence”, she said.

“We’re proud to be the highest peacekeeper-sending country to the United Nations. We’ve also adopted a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism and violent extremism. We’re working closely with the concerned agencies or organizations to maintain a regional and international peaceful environment,” she said.

Hasina said Bangladesh always has unwavering support for the just demands of the Palestinian people.

Despite limited resources, Bangladesh has provided temporary shelter to more than 1.1 million Rohingya from Myanmar. “As a result, it has been possible to avoid a major humanitarian catastrophe in the region. We’re pursuing peaceful diplomacy to repatriate the Rohingya to their homeland,” the PM said.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is now a role model in the world in socio-economic development, she said her government has established the economy of the country on a solid foundation. The size of our economy is now US $411 billion and per capita income is US$ 2,554, she added.

Chair of the conference’s organising committee Speaker Dr 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 Dr AK Abdul Momen and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam also spoke on the occasion.

The conference ended with the adoption of a 16-point Dhaka declaration. UNB, Dhaka