‘People to determine who will rule Bangladesh; not external power, internal conspiracy’
Shahriar Alam called upon the foreign Missions in Dhaka to abide by diplomatic norms and etiquette
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will not “bend down to any external pressure” or internal conspiracy to derail the nation from its constitutional path towards democracy and fundamental freedom, said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam in unison on Sunday.
They said the government is determined to hold the next parliamentary elections in a free, fair, transparent and participatory manner under the independent election commission.
They were speaking at a seminar titled “Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: Bangladesh Perspectives,” organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Foreign Service Academy marking the International Human Rights Day.
Foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka including US Ambassador Peter Haas, British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson, EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley, Swedish Ambassador Alex Berg von Linde and Maldives High Commissioner Shiruzimath Sameer, were present.
“We have achieved our independence to uphold democracy, justice, human rights and human dignity,” said Foreign Minister Momen, adding that everyone in this country is a strong believer of human rights, justice and fairness.
He, however, said this is not a time to feel better, rather it is time to examine and remind them that they have a long way to go.
“There is nothing perfect, there are problems. We all have to work together in partnership and in collaboration to help improve the situations,” Momen said.
He said they all should work in unison with an open heart and with sincerity so that they can help improve the situation and uphold human dignity.
“The source of her government's power is the mass of the people of this country; and the people will determine who will rule this nation. Neither any external power nor any internal conspiracy will be able to determine this,” said the state minister for Foreign Affairs while delivering the keynote speech.
He said they will never give up their fight to protect democracy, human dignity and fundamental freedom on this soil.
Shahriar called upon the concerned foreign Missions in Dhaka to abide by diplomatic norms and etiquette that they themselves expect from foreign missions in their country to practice.
“Government of Bangladesh is patient and cordial to our foreign guests and is sincerely willing to maintain friendly relations to all nations, but we do have some red lines,” he said.
Alam said recently, a joint statement by 15 diplomatic missions in Dhaka has come to their attention.
“As I mentioned earlier, democratic principles and values are at the core of the statehood and ethos of Bangladesh,” she said.
The state minister said Bangladesh Awami League, the party that has led the birth of this nation, has the glorious history of life-long struggle of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and other great leaders, against authoritarian regimes of Pakistan and later Bangladesh.
Alam said globally, the human rights agenda continues to remain as the most neglected domain in the works of the UN, principally due to the impasse created by the politicization of the human rights agenda by a handful of countries.
Developing countries like Bangladesh are being targeted for undue pressure by a handful of countries, he said.
Alam said out of the 76 cases of so-called “Enforced Disappearances” communicated to Bangladesh by the UN Working Group, a case is as old as 28 years, while 10 people have reappeared.
Of the rest 66, police found that 28 had cases filed against them at the court/police station including murder cases and they are absconding case.
Out of the rest of the 38, police did not receive any feedback from the relatives of 10. Other 28 cases are under investigation, he said, stressing that the UN needs to do its own analysis before blatantly accepting the allegations from the “politically motivated NGOs”.
Law Minister Anisul Huq said Bangladesh was born through genocide and after five years after the independence, the Father of the Nation and his family members were assassinated. Even then, an indemnity bill was passed so the killers were not tried.
Prime Minister Hasina, who faced sheer injustice, is determined to uphold human rights and justice for all.
Bangladesh Nari Progoti Sangha Executive Director Rokeya Kabir reminded that the fanatic forces that worked against Bangladesh's independence should not be allowed in Bangladesh's politics.
She reminded all political parties not to use religion in politics, which in turn takes women freedom and democracy backward.
Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs Director Prof Mizanur Rahman, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Kamal Uddin Ahmed and former Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Abdul Hannan also spoke.