2691Published on September 28, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has once again blamed Myanmar, this time in her address to the annual UN gathering, for delaying the process to take back the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.
A permanent and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas is yet to begin despite several treaties signed on the issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar, Hasina told the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
Noting that she had placed a five-point proposal for a permanent and peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis in her speech at last year’s UNGA, she said, “Unfortunately, Myanmar never began the repatriation even after our repeated and peaceful attempts.”
At least 1.1 million of Rohingyas are living in poor conditions in Bangladesh, she said, adding her government has been providing food, clothes, health facilities, security and child-care facilities as much as possible to them.
The government is also making another shelter for the Rohingya refugees to ensure a quality environment for them which will include education, health and other facilities.
The prime minister thanked the international community including the UN, Commonwealth and OIC, for their compassion and help and urged them to strengthen their assistance more on the Rohingya crisis.
The Myanmar army’s atrocities against the Rohingya population, which have been described in the UN report, had left everyone shocked, said Hasina as she spoke on the issue.
She hoped that the international community, especially the UN will focus on the issue and the treaty between the UN and Myanmar will be implemented soon, bringing a peaceful solution of the Rohingya crisis.
Bangladesh has contributed to the global peacekeeping by sending 1,58,610 peacekeepers to 54 missions under the UN Peacekeeping Programme over the last 30 years, the prime minister said.
At least 145 peacekeepers have died while on duty. At present, more than 7,000 peacekeepers including 144 women are working under 10 missions. The peacekeepers from Bangladesh have been applauded for their courage, professionalism and success, according to her.
Bangladesh, being one of the top 10 countries vulnerable to the highest risk of climate change, is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and works towards its implementation, said Hasina in her address.
“We are spending 1 percent of our GDP to prevent the effects of climate change and also introduced climate-friendly agricultural system.”
The government has initiated to increase the forestation from 22 percent to 24 percent and it also adopted a $50 million project to preserve the Sundarbans - the biggest mangrove in the world and a UNESCO heritage site.
“We have also unified the different measures we took to confront the effects of the climate change and adopted a mega project titled Delta Plan-2100, which is a multifaceted, long-term and techno-economic project.”
Bangladesh is the only country to adopt such a long 82-year-long plan, she said.
Lower Middlew Income Country
The World Bank has acknowledged Bangladesh as a lower-middle income country in 2015, said the prime minister as she described the developments of the country. Bangladesh is now in the 43rd position among the countries with macro economy, she said.
The per capita income increased from $543 in 2006 to $1,751 in 2018 while the poverty rate slumped to 21.4 percent from 41.5 percent in 2006. The foreign reserve increased to $33 billion in 2018 from $7.5 billion in the fiscal year 2008-09.
The prime minister also drew attention to the achievements in power sector in Bangladesh saying the power production increased to 20,000 MW in 2018 from 3,200 MW in 2009.
“At least 90 percent of the people in the country are having power supply. We have also entered the era of peaceful use of nuclear energy through the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant,” she said.
Hasina spoke about the different measures her government has taken to ensure women empowerment in Bangladesh. At least 20 million women are working in the agriculture, service and industrial sector in the country, she said. The readymade garment sector, biggest among the export sectors has 80 percent of its work force to be women.
“I guess Bangladesh has the only parliament with its leader, deputy leader, speaker and leader of the opposition to be women,” the prime minister said.
She added each local government organisation has 33 percent of its total representation reserved for women to ensure their political empowerment.