Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the United Nations (UN) and the global leaders to take effective measures for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas, voicing a warning that if the problem persists further, it may affect stability and security in the region and beyond.
“The ongoing political turmoil and armed conflicts in the country (Myanmar) has made the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas more difficult. I hope the United Nations will play an effective role in this regard,” she said in her 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) address in New York on September 23..
The Prime Minister told the gathering of world leaders that last month Bangladesh witnessed the five years of the 2017 mass exodus of the Rohingyas from their home country.
“Not a single Rohingya was repatriated to their ancestral home Myanmar, despite our bilateral engagements with Myanmar, discussions with partners in trilateral format and engagements with the UN and other partners to assist Myanmar to create necessary conditions for safe and dignified repatriation,” she said.
To ensure a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue, she said, “I shall now seek your attention to the forcibly displaced Rohingya peoples from Myanmar.”
The Prime Minister said the prolonged presence of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh has caused serious ramifications on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability in the host country.
“Uncertainty over repatriation has led to widespread frustration. Cross border organized crimes including human and drug trafficking are on the rise. This situation can potentially fuel radicalization. If the problem persists further, it may affect the security and stability of the entire region, and beyond,” she warned.
The 77th session of the UNGA is taking place from September 13 to 27 at the UN Headquarters in New York, in the first in-person format since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with heads of state and government from 193 member states.
The UNGA session is taking place at a time when overlapping crises unfolded around the world with looming food insecurity, deepening humanitarian needs and largely unmet climate goals.
The world leaders will exchange statements in-person in the General Assembly Hall, on the theme “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges” to consider and debate “how we can collectively solve the shared problems of our time—and create a more sustainable, more just future for all”.
Russia-Ukraine war, peace and stability, climate change, food insecurity, Covid-19 pandemic, Palestine and migration issues among others concerning the global as well as Bangladesh perspectives were prominently featured in Sheikh Hasina’s speech in the 77th session of the UNGA.
In her speech, the Bangladesh premier said, “Our planet Earth today is plagued by multiple complex and multi-dimensional challenges like climate change, violence and conflict, and the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s theme calls for a united effort to find ways to overcome these challenges and revitalize our economy to build a peaceful and sustainable world. And to achieve this goal we need to act collectively and act now.”
The Prime Minister said they are interested in looking for transformative solutions to poverty alleviation, mitigating climate change effects, preventing conflicts and finance, energy and fuel crises that the world is grappling with now. “However, we need to understand the fact that socio-economic development cannot be achieved without ensuring peace and stability,” she added.
“We want the end of the Ukraine-Russia conflict. In punishing one country with sanctions, counter-sanctions, the entire world including women and children are being punished,” she said.
The Prime Minister added: “Its impact is not limited to a country, rather puts the lives and livelihoods of the people in greater risk, infringe their human rights; people are deprived of food, shelter, healthcare and education. Children suffer the most in particular. Their future is lost in darkness.”
“My urge to the conscience of the world community- stop the arms race, war, and sanctions, ensure food and security of the children; build peace. We want to see a peaceful world with enhanced cooperation and solidarity, shared prosperity and collective actions. We share one planet, and we owe it to our future generations to leave it in a better shape,” she continued.
The Prime Minister ended her speech with an appeal, “My earnest appeal to you, ‘stop war, stop arms race’. May the values of humanity be upheld. Let us join our hands together and build a better future leaving no one behind.”