WORLD PEACE CONFERENCE DHAKA 2021
Advancing Peace Through Social Inclusion
(Including the Rohingya Crisis)
4 December 2021
Tan Sri Dr. Syed Hamid Albar
The Hon’ble Mr. Mohammad Abdul Hamid, President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
The Hon’ble Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker, Bangladesh Parliament
The Hon’ble A.K. Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh
Your Excellencies, Esteemed Speakers, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen.
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and a very good evening.
- First and foremost, I wish to thank the Bangladeshi Government and particularly the Foreign Minister for inviting me to this World Peace Conference themed, “Advancing Peace Through Social Inclusion”.
- A timely event that celebrates the accomplishments and history of Bangladesh as a nation, I am honoured and privileged to address this conference in the presence of national and international leaders and personalities, who are renowned for their passion and voice of reason in upholding the spirit of peace and equality.
- I would also like to congratulate the people and the Government of Bangladesh for celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence and the centenary of the birth of the Father of the nation, Sheikh Mujibur I believe that a united nation will stand strong in order to pave the way for greater achievements and a better future in the years ahead.
A Pleasant Surprise
- I can still recall, after gaining its independence in 1971, Bangladesh has done exceptionally well and has a very good story to tell Then, Bangladesh was dismissed as the “international basket case”, a bottomless pit of foreign aid and external dependence-disaster prone, resource scarce, war traumatized, poverty stricken, burdened with a huge and illiterate population, and lacking the basic “fundamentals” of economic growth. But the country has defied that characterization, overcome many of its challenges, and demonstrated a liveliness in its economic performance that has been unanticipated as it has been genuinely impressive. It illustrates a most intriguing and delightful puzzle in international development.
- Today, Bangladesh is among the fastest growing economies in the She is on Goldman Sachs’ list of the “Next 11” emerging economic powerhouses of the 21st century. According to PwC’s Report of 2017, Bangladesh has the potential to become the world’s 28th largest economy by 2030 and 23rd largest economy by 2050.
- I hope and pray that with the continuation of the development process, Bangladesh will become a developed and prosperous country in accordance with its stated vision and aspiration, Insha- Allah.
- In the current global context and in terms of international relations, United Nations have made strong calls on the World Day of Social Justice to the international community to take practical steps to break down the barriers of inequality by doing more to empower individuals through decent work, provide adequate social protection, and ensure the voices of the poor are heard. In this regard, Social justice is an underlying core principle for a peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations.
- We can advance social justice only when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or These values are at the very heart of human rights. Social justice is all about working towards a more equal society, part of which is ensuring that people are treated with dignity and respect by those with public power, which is also the main goal of human rights.
Peace and Justice
- Peace is the aspiration of every human being. Regrettably, people in many parts of the world are facing atrocities, persecution and The aim of this conference is to let the world know that peace has to be cherished and sustained through social justice, equity and inclusiveness. People must unite to propagate the message of peace. Although peace does not automatically produce justice, it can provide opportunities to do so.
Islamic viewpoint of peace
- The roots of the word “Islam” refer to the concept of peace. Islam promotes peace in legislation, practice and The idea of peace is also deeply rooted in the daily life of Muslims, as evidenced by the way we greet each other, saying “Assalamu alaikum” and “Walaikum- assalam”, meaning “peace be upon you” and “peace be upon you, too”, respectively.
- In the Quran, God commands all Muslims to seek peace and justice, and to be kind to humanity. It supports peace by promoting the rights of people and forbidding violence against any creature. All acts that threaten social order and peace are condemned and It also teaches Muslims to treat others equally, and respects people’s freedom to pursue their respective religions.
- The world discusses the importance of peace, time and again. It is disheartening and disappointing that in spite of all such talks and efforts, peace is being overwhelmed by the propensity of intolerance, hatred and violence.
- The idea of holding the conference is to let the world feel and take cognizance of the fact that peace has to be appreciated and cherished in multifarious ways. We accomplish and acknowledge the invaluable contributions of the pioneers of peace Peace will be sustainable only through social justice, equity and inclusiveness.
Refugee Crisis, a Hindrance Underpinning World Peace Process
- History claims that refugee crisis has served as a pivotal in leading the world towards instability and violence. From the economic slowdowns in emerging markets to the ever-rising number of terrorists, from inter- state conflicts to intra-state social insecurities and lawlessness, all are the result of spillover effects of influx of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. Millions of people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, or human rights violations.
The Rohingya Crisis
- The unprecedented magnitude of inflow of Rohingya after the incidents of 25 August 2017 created an accumulated figure of forcibly displaced Rohingya sheltered in Bangladesh to about 1 million. Despite numerous constraints and bitter past experience in repatriation, Bangladesh took a bold decision to give shelter to such a huge number of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals and thus saved thousands of innocent lives. During the boats crisis in 2020, it was again Bangladesh who came to the rescue.
- The international community should appreciate the role Bangladesh played in trying its best to ensure safety and wellbeing of the refugees / displaced Rohingya.
- The crisis is created by Myanmar and the solution lies only in All displaced Rohingya must return to their ancestral homeland in the Rakhine State of Myanmar in safety, security, and dignity for sustainable reintegration there. The Rohingya are also eager to return home as, it is their right.
- For a permanent solution to this protracted and complex problem created by Myanmar, greater and direct involvement of the international community is imperative; particularly in the creation of a conducive environment in Rakhine, monitoring of repatriation process and subsequent reintegration of Rohingyas in Myanmar society, and building of mutual trust and confidence between the Government of Myanmar and the Rohingyas. Presence of international humanitarian workers is indispensable for the colossal task of repatriation and reintegration of 1.1 million people. It will also boost the confidence of the displaced Rohingya who are subject to high security risk. ASEAN countries, with their deeper relationship and formidable leverage vis-i- vis Myanmar, are in a pivotal position to take a lead role in such comprehensive engagements. Relevant UN agencies and other interested nations including Myanmar’s neighbours can join the initiatives.
- The 5-point consensus agreed upon at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on 24 April 2021- and the subsequent appointment of the ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar have been encouraging as well as raising some hopes to the Rohingya crisis. The Rohingya issue must remain high on the agenda in any future ASEAN engagement with Myanmar. For peace and democracy to sustain in Myanmar, minority rights need to be properly
- The international community needs to ensure that while the attention is on Myanmar’s restoration of democracy, focus on Rohingya repatriation is never Rights of Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar should remain at the core of any discourse on democratization of Myanmar.
- It is disappointing to see Myanmar’s continued defiance of its obligations under international The international community needs to revisit their approach and act promptly in a decisive manner to help the Rohingya materialize their fundamental rights to return home in safety, security, and dignity.
- During the 45th OIC CFM, held in Dhaka in 2018, an Ad-hoc Ministerial committee was formed to pursue justice and accountability on recurring atrocities against the Rohingya at the international judicial The Gambia and Bangladesh were subsequently appointed Chair and Co-chair to the Committee.
- The Gambia filed a case against Myanmar under the 1948 Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 11 November 2019 in the Hague. Held from 10-12 December 2019, a landmark ruling delivered on 23 January 2020, the ICJ granted the request for provisional measures ordering that the State of Myanmar ceases all actions that could amount to genocide and to preserve The ruling also now opens the real possibility for a safe, voluntary and dignified return to Myanmar of the Rohingya refugees currently in Bangladesh.
- Despite international consensus, treaties, global conventions and other diplomatic measures to prevent the occurrence of atrocities, crimes against humanity, extreme and violent actions on civilians in Myanmar continues unabated especially against the Rohingya Muslims.
Conclusion: Justice for All or Stability for None
- The international community has the tools and know-how on what to do when centralized commands and high-level perpetrators commit mass atrocities. The Security Council should refer the situation to the ICC, as it did in Sudan and Libya, to widen the scope of the prosecutor’s ongoing investigation to encompass crimes committed exclusively on the territory of Alternatively, the Council could instead create an ad hoc tribunal, like it did following atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and empower it to investigate and prosecute crimes occurring against all of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities.
- At the very least, the international community should sever all military and economic relationship with the Tatmadaw’s leaders.
- Too often injustice and violation of human rights are seen as barriers to stability in The patterns of human rights violations particularly against the Rohingyas has not only invited condemnation against Myanmar but also derailed whatever efforts made towards the country’s democratic transition.
- It is about time, for the world to consider justice, peace and rights of peoples as an essential for democratic ideals and values to achieve good governance and wellbeing of nation states. In the conduct of their international relations in the dynamic world order. Good governance and democracy should be the fundamental factor in bilateral and multilateral relation. Let me emphasize that it is important for the Muslim world and all OIC member states to follow and implement the ideals and demands of democracy and good governance for their own societies and national system.
- The international community must take initiatives and practical steps to ensure the Rohingya community can realize their dream.
- I would like to recommend to the Government of Bangladesh to take initiatives at the national level in dealing with the current Rohingya crisis and lead the regional and international community. In this case, the Government of Bangladesh should form a Special National Task Forces on Rohingya issues.
- In conclusion, justice for all is the only path forward, and until it is achieved, Myanmar should not be given a respectful position among the community of nations. Let us work together, to achieve social inclusion everywhere for peace and justice to succeed and prevail.
Thank you and wish you a success in this conference.