Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought international support to guarantee the success of the International Crimes Tribunals in Bangladesh. Hasina delivered her speech in Bangla at the 69th United Nations General Assembly on Saturday.
The highly transparent, impartial and independent International Crimes Tribunals, Bangladesh, have already completed trials of a few key criminals who perpetrated heinous crimes against humanity, she said.
She was seeking international community's full appreciation of the aspirations of our people for this long-awaited justice.
Hasina said the Bengali nation is pledge-bound to establish a global order based on peaceful co-existence, social justice and freedom from poverty, hunger, exploitation and aggression.
That vision continues to guide Bangladesh's national development pursuits and our engagement in the global affairs. As the implementation of MDGs approaches its deadline, the global community is engaged in framing a transformative development agenda for 2016-2030, she said.
She said Bangladesh believes that threat to peace anywhere is a threat for the entire humanity. "In conformity with our principled position, we continue to express our full solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle for self-determination," Hasina said.
She condemned the systematic killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, by Israel during the recent offensive in Gaza. She sought a permanent solution to this longstanding conflict through the creation of an independent and viable state of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders and with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.
She said Bangladesh strongly believes in the centrality and legitimacy of the UN as the custodian of global peace, security and development. "Our commitment to international peace is manifest through our flagship UNGA Resolution on a 'Culture of Peace and Non-violence," she said and added Bangladesh's peace leadership is further reaffirmed through its support to the UN as a top troops and police contributing country in its peacekeeping endeavours.
Hasina said Bangladesh have so far contributed 128,133 peacekeepers in 54 Peace Missions. Bangladesh proudly contributes the highest number of women police to UN peacekeeping commensurate with our women empowerment credentials.
She said the anti-liberation forces continue to remain active in destroying the progressive and secular fabric of our nation. They resort to religious militancy and violent extremism in every opportunity. Under the direct patronage of the BNP-Jamaat Alliance government from 2001 to 2006, they coalesced to form terrorist outfits that perpetrated bomb and grenade attacks killing secular political leaders and activists.
"These gruesome attacks cemented my resolve to create a strong legal and regulatory regime for countering terrorism including adoption of amended Anti-Terrorism Act 2013 and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2012, Hasina said.
Her government is also entrenching democracy, secularism and women empowerment to ideologically defeat terrorism and extremism. "We have also significantly enhanced transparency and accountability in governance by strengthening our Election, Anti-Corruption, Human Rights and Information Commissions. "To uphold peace and 'rule of law' and end a 'culture of impunity', my government remains pledge-bound to bring to justice the culprits of war crimes, crimes against humanity, rape, and genocide committed during our 1971 Liberation War," she declared.
Hasina said that in order to unlock Bangladesh's development potentials, we have undertaken some massive infrastructure and connectivity projects. We have initiated work on building a 6.15 km bridge over the mighty river Padma with our own resources. Development of a Deep Sea Port in Sonadia, Chittagong is in the offing. Upgrading our road and rail infrastructures, including expressways and river tunnels, is underway.
She said, "We have reached agreements with friendly countries such as India, China and Japan to develop large scale power plants to meet our growing demands by 2021. Eighteen Economic Zones (EZs) are being developed across the country to allow potential investors to invest in Bangladesh especially in the context of our growing integration into the regional connectivity framework.
Bangladesh enjoys a clear demographic dividend with two thirds young employable workforce to remain economically active till 2031. It is a policy imperative for us to invest in skill development of our increasingly younger population, she said.
With a view to developing a knowledge-based society, we are rapidly building the country's and its people's capabilities towards contemporary ICTs. Today, people receive over 200 services from over 4,500 Union Services and Information Centers. Rural people get access to health care services from over 15,000 IT-connected Community Health Clinics and Union Health Centers," Hasina said.
"These networks allow us reach various crucial public services to the doorstep of our people most affordably. Bangladesh has 117 million SIMs with more than 78 per cent tele-penetration and 50 million internet connections," she added.
"Bangladesh's strides in education have enabled us to reach the MDG targets of ensuring universal primary school enrolment and gender parity in primary and secondary schools. Our Government is providing girls with free education up to 12th grade. We are offering monthly stipend to 11.8 million girls and boys students of poor families. Of them, about 7.8 million are primary- level students and 4 million are from secondary to graduate level," she disclosed.
"Sixty per cent of total girl students are covered by the stipend. We are distributing around 317.8 million textbooks to all students up to the secondary level each year at free of cost, Hasina said and added Bangladesh is now focused on improving the quality of education to enable our boys and girls to acquire necessary life skills and grow up with a truly global outlook.
For us, sustainable development entails empowerment of women and their equal participation with men, in all walks of life. Our efforts to promote women's empowerment by enhancing their access to productive resources and representation in national and local levels are producing visible results.
The MDGs have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. It is due to MDGs that the world witnesses 50 per cent less poverty than it did in 1990, more girls in school, lesser number of children dying and more people having access to safe drinking water and sanitation. However, the progress has been uneven and unequal within and among countries and regions. Sadly, over 1.3 billion people still live in abject poverty.
As we reflect on the new and emerging developmental challenges, eradication of poverty must remain at the center of the Post-2015 Agenda, and build linkages with all other Goals. In Bangladesh, we had wider national consultations and remained intensely engaged in the global process. We consider the set of Goals and Targets a carefully-balanced package and crucial basis for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Hasian said, "It is, therefore, logical for migration and development to find deserving space across the emerging Post-2015 framework. I would be happy to announce that Bangladesh would be chairing the ninth Global Forum on Migration and Development in 2016."
No challenge is as complex, widespread and formidable as climate change to countries like ours. A recent Asian Development Bank report estimated the mean economic cost of climate change and adaptation for Bangladesh to be between 2 per cent and 9 per cent of GDP by 2100, she said.
In addressing climate change, adaptation remains particularly the key for us. We have a crucial need for adequate, predictable and additional climate finance, access to locally-adaptable technologies and support to capacity and institution-building, she added.
We reiterate with UN leadership, particularly through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that integration of UNFCCC, the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and SDGs processes is important.
The world also needs to recognise untapped potential of ocean-based Blue Economy. The coastal and small island developing states stand to benefit much through balanced conservation, development and utilization of marine eco-systems, resources and services.
Hasina called for global support to coastal countries like Bangladesh in developing much-needed capacity, technology, institutional frameworks for us to tap into 'Blue opportunities.' We thus continue to support incorporation of Blue Economy principles and practices in the Post-2015 framework.
Bangladesh proposed flagship resolution at the UNESCO, secured in 1999 recognition of February 21 as the 'International Mother Language Day" for the peoples of the world. We established the only 'International Mother Language Institute' in Dhaka to preserve more than 6,500 mother tongues of humanity. She said more than 300 million people speak Bangla and pressed for making it one of the official languages of the UN.