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Bangladesh announces 26 PCRS components for UN peacekeeping operations

Bangladesh has announced 26 Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) components for the United Nations peacekeeping operations to meet their requirement.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam made the announcement while sharing Bangladesh’s PCRS at the 2019 United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting held at UN headquarters in New York on March 29.
The pledged 26 PCRS components to UN include 9 components from Army, 6 from Navy, 3 from Air Force and 8 from Police. Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. Over the past three decades, according to the UN, the contributions of these brave men and women in the countries in which they served have been immense.
The State Minister said, in addition, Bangladesh has also pledged a unit for operational-level Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) in partnership with the United States.
“We have also demonstrated our commitment by contributing to the norms setting part of the peacekeeping including through our active participation in Action for Peacekeeping Agenda and in other parallel processes like C-34”, the State Minister added.
Mentioning the atrocity crimes committed against civilians during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971, he said, “We have endorsed the Kigali Principles on Protection of Civilians (PoC). We have incorporated a strong and comprehensive PoC component in our peacekeeping training with in-built demonstration and tabletop exercises.”
He mentioned Bangladesh’s “zero tolerance” policy to sexual exploitation and abuse in the UN Peacekeeping and reaffirmed Bangladesh’s commitment for increasing the number of female peacekeepers to achieve the target set by the UN.
The State Minister said Bangladesh has been supportive to the women, peace and security agenda of the UN since leading the adoption of the Security Council resolution 1325.
“We are currently developing a national action plan to empower women in playing their natural role as peacemakers,” he added.
The Minister stressed on the importance of adequate resources and critical enablers to ensure the safety and security and also the performances of the peacekeepers. He enumerated Bangladesh’s recent supplies of modern vehicles and other peacekeeping equipment in several UN missions.
The Bangladesh delegation to the Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting is composed of senior officials from Bangladesh’s armed forces, Bangladesh’s police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations.

PM and FM defend the Defense Deal with Saudi Arabia


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen defended the defense deal signed with Saudi Arabia.
On March 11 talking about the recently-signed memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia over military cooperation, Prime Minister said in the parliament, members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces will never ever engage in any war joining hands with another country.
“We’ll go only for protecting peace under the United Nations…our armed forces will be deployed only for protecting the two holy places —Makkah and Madinah—if any crisis arises there,” she said.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that there is no scope for any misunderstanding in this regard.
On March 10, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen informed the Parliament that Bangladesh did not sign any agreement with Saudi Arabia over troop deployment as it only inked a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on defense cooperation.
“Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have signed no agreement over troop deployment. Rather an MoU has been inked on defense affairs,” he said adding that signing the MoU has in no way violated the Constitution of Bangladesh.
“So, no question can be raised ….it didn’t violate Article 25 of the Constitution through this MoU,” the Foreign Minister told the House.
“According to the MoU, the defense forces of the two countries will cooperate with each other in military trainings, exercise, education, medical treatment, research and defense industry, exchange military information and intelligence, military visits and skills, and participate in sociocultural activities,” he said.
“Under the MoU, the signatories to it will also cooperate with each other in different areas, including military protection and facing pirates,” Dr Momen said.
He said that Saudi Arabia is very friendly with Bangladesh in facing international terrorism.
Following the request of Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh has promised to extend its hands of cooperation in case of facing any possible threat on the two holy mosques – Makkah and Medina – he added.
It is noted that on February 14 two senior MPs - Rashed Khan Menon and Fakhrul Imam – in Parliament demanded a statement from the Foreign Minister whether the signing of a ‘defense pact’ between Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not contradictory to the Constitution.

India is always with Bangladesh: New High Commissioner


The newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das has reaffirmed her country's stance to remain with Bangladesh. She said Bangladesh will find India always by its side. The cooperation between the two neighboring countries will continue on a win-win situation
The new Indian envoy arrived here on March 1 with her new assignment to Bangladesh. She presented her credential to President Md Abdul Hamid on March 7 at Bangabhaban.
Welcoming the Indian High Commissioner, President Hamid said the foreign policy attaches importance to bilateral and friendly relations with all. He expressed his gratefulness to the people and the government of India for their heartfelt support in 1971 Liberation War.
The new envoy sought all-out cooperation of the President in discharging her duties in Bangladesh.
She met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in the parliament complex on March 10. During the meeting with Prime Minister, the High Commissioner reaffirmed her country's stance to remain with Bangladesh over the lingering Rohingya issue.
"We are with you over Rohingya issue ... This is a huge burden for Bangladesh," she said.
She termed Bangladesh one of the important neighbors and development partners of India.
Referring to the activation of the Bangladesh-India Joint Commission, the Indian envoy told the Prime Minister: "You can count on our support."
The new envoy said the cooperation between the two neighboring countries will continue on a win-win situation.
She also added that enhancing regional connectivity will bring economic prosperity for all the countries of the region.
She conveyed good wishes of the India President and Prime Minister to Sheikh Hasina.
Welcoming Riva Ganguly Das to Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said she was glad to receive her and assured cooperation of her government for discharging her duties in the country.
She said the Indian government and its people were always supportive to Bangladesh like they were back in 1971.
The Indian High Commissioner also spoke at the ‘ITEC Day’ celebration in Dhaka on March 16. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) is the flagship program of India through which professionals get training in different Indian institutes.
She said the program that Bangladesh will find India always by its side to make the dream of Shonar Bangla a reality. “ITEC is about cooperation and partnership for mutual benefit. Bangladesh is one of the foremost ITEC partners of India,” the High Commissioner said.
More than 3,800 young professionals, including judiciary officers, civil servants, and teachers, of Bangladesh have undergone courses under the ITEC program. Of them, 458 have been trained in the current financial year.
“We are determined to continue this close association between India and Bangladesh in the years to come,” she aded.
A career-diplomat, Riva Ganguly who speaks Bengali, Hindi, English and Spanish, joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986 and is a Post Graduate in Political Science from Delhi University.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she was a Lecturer at Delhi University. She commenced her diplomatic career spanning 33 years from Spain.
Thereafter, she was at Headquarters dealing with External Publicity, Nepal and Passport/Visa work.  She was Head of the Cultural Wing of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
After her return from Dhaka, she took over as Director at the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Division and participated in environmental negotiations, particularly climate change.
She was the Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of India, The Hague and served as Consul General of India in Shanghai from 2008 to 2012.
After her return from China, she headed the Public Diplomacy Division and later the Latin America & Caribbean Division in the Ministry of External Affairs.
She was Ambassador of India to Romania with concurrent accreditation to Albania & Moldova and thereafter served as India’s Consul General in New York. Prior to her arrival in Dhaka, she was the Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Bringing Tarique back is a legal issue: UK envoy


The new British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson said bringing back BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman to Bangladesh is a legal issue. It may take a long time as judicial process is involved here.
The High Commissioner came up with the comment while talking to reporters after a meeting with the Law Minister Anisul Huq at the minister's Gulshan office on March 27.
The UK envoy said he will take it up to the authorities of his country to find out how and under what legal circumstance Tarique Rahman has been staying in London.
“It is a time consuming because of legal procedures involved,” he said.
On the other hand, Law Minister Anisul Huq said in his briefing that fugitive convicts may create barriers between the ties of the two countries. The government has sought cooperation from the UK government in bringing back BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman from the country.
“The High Commissioner told me that he'll discuss the issue with his government. He also said it's a legal issue and it can take a long time,” said the minister. “We hope we'll get a positive solution,” the minister added.
The British High Commissioner also spoke at an event on “Connected Commonwealth” at his residence. This program was organized marking the Commonwealth Day.
He said the attacks on Christchurch mosques in New Zealand, in which five Bangladeshis had also been killed, have showed the importance on working together to tackle extremism and promote a narrative of shared fairness and equality.
Robert Chatterton Dickson arrived in Dhaka on March 10 with his new assignment. He presented his credential to President Abdul Hamid on March 12.
During his meeting with the British High Commissioner, the President said, “The United Kingdom is one of the development partners of Bangladesh. The bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and the UK is very excellent and it is growing day by day.”
Voicing his satisfaction, President said, “The bilateral relationship in trade and investment between Bangladesh and the UK has been growing steadily.”
Abdul Hamid also asked the British government to explore the potential here.
The President mentioned that the existing excellent relations between the two countries and hoped that the relations would reach a new height in the days to come.
The British High Commissioner sought all-out cooperation of the President in discharging his duties in Bangladesh.
Before the new assignment, Dickson had been acting ambassador at the British Embassy, Kabul, since February 2015 and before that he was Deputy Ambassador from July 2013.
He also served as additional director, Western Balkans Programme, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and as British consul general in Chicago from 2010 to 2013.

U S welcomes govt position on relocation process of Rohingyas


The U S Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller welcomed Bangladesh government’s position that any relocation of Rohingyas to Bhashan Char island will be fully voluntary based on informed consent.
He also welcomed assurances that those who choose to go will have free movement off the island to maintain connections with rest of the Rohingya community in Cox’s Bazar.
Ambassador Miller travelled to Cox’s Bazar to ensure good stewardship of US tax dollars and to review the outstanding work being done by the Bangladeshi government, UN agencies, and NGOs to provide humanitarian assistance and shelter to more than 900,000 Rohingya.
Miller, during his visit to Cox's Bazar from March 8 to 10, met with the American Red Cross, IFRC, IOM, UNDP, UNHCR, WFP, and others, to discuss their outstanding efforts working with the local community to prepare for the annual cyclone and monsoon season and how the US can further assist these efforts.
The US works hand-in-hand with the Bangladeshi government and local communities to build Multi-Purpose Cyclone Shelters (MPCS) and train emergency first responders.
The US is the leading contributor of humanitarian assistance in response to the Rohingya refugee crisis. It has provided nearly $500 million since the outbreak of violence in August 2017, according to the U S Embassy in Dhaka.
In Cox’s Bazar, Miller observed US government assistance in the region and visited both local communities and the Rohingya camps, and met government officials as well as UN organizations and NGOs operating in the region.
On March 12 Ambassador Miller also spoke at a press conference on the occasion of ‘26th Annual US Trade Show 2019.’ He said Bangladesh offers enormous opportunities for investors and he would be working to bring top executives of American companies here to strengthen the trade and investment relations with Bangladesh.
“Because the opportunities here are absolutely enormous,” he said adding that he is committed to working and see the US trade delegations, US trade missions and American CEOs (chief executive officers) visit Bangladesh over the next three years.
The two-way trade between Bangladesh and the US stands at US$ 8.2 billion that shows an “amazing increased” from 2008, he said. The U S envoy said there is still a great deal of potential to increase the sales of US goods and services here in Bangladesh which witnessed an impressive economic development.
Responding to a question, Miller said the US companies contribute significantly to the economic development of Bangladesh and mentioned that economic development has to go hands in hands with democratic development.
“Bangladesh has much to be proud of when it comes to economic growth and development over the past decade,” he said adding that economic development and respect for democracy and human rights are mutually reinforcing, not competing objectives.

Bangladesh signs 2 deals; 4 MoUs with Saudi Arabia to boost economic ties


A new chapter is opened between the relation of Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. After signing the defense deal, the two countries inked two agreements and four memorandum of understanding (MoUs) for the development of various sectors of Bangladesh including power, and industrial sectors. Dhaka has also submitted a $35 billion investment proposal to Riyadh. The investment proposal will be reviewed by a joint working committee headed by a senior minister of Saudi Arabia.
A 34-member delegation of Saudi Arabia, led by Commerce and Investment Minister Dr Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi and Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed bin Mezyed Altwaijri visited Bangladesh early in March to boost up the economic ties.
During the visit, Saudi delegation and their Bangladesh counterpart held a meeting on Saudi-Bangladesh investment cooperation in a city hotel. The delegation also met with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
It is believed that the signed agreements and MoUs will create a wider window for Saudi investment to Bangladesh and talking the economic relation to a new height.
The agreements and MoUs were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Saudi Trade and Investment Minister Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasaibi and Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Bin Mazyed Al-Twaijri at a ceremony at Prime Minister office on March 7.
Representatives from Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia signed the deals on their country’s behalf.
The agreement on construction of 100MW of solar IPP was signed between Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh Limited and Alfanar Company of Saudi Arabia. Managing Director of Electricity General Company Arun Kumar Saha and Vice president of Sales and Marketing of Alfanar Company Khalid bin Qabel Al Sulami inked the deal on behalf of their respective sides.
The agreement on manufacturing transformers and electricity devices was signed between General Electric Manufacturing Company Limited and Engineering Dimension. Managing Director of General Electric Manufacturing Company Limited Sultan Ahmed Bhuiyan and Chief Executive Officer Mohammad bin Najeeb Al Hajji signed the deal behalf of Bangladesh and the Saudi Arabia, respectively.
Acting director general of BMET SK Rafikul Islam and Chairman of Al Maml Trading Estate signed MoU on manpower export.
Bangladesh Industries Secretary Md Abdul Halim and Chief Executive Officer of Riyadh Cables Group of Industries Mohamed Mustafa Mohamed Rafea signed MoU on manufacturing cables.
Bangladesh Industries Secretary Md Abdul Halim and Chief Executive Officer of Al Afaliq Group Mohammed Abdulaziz S Alfaleq signed MoU on establishing Saudi-Bangladesh Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.
Industries Secretary Md Abdul Halim and Saudi investor Yusuf Bin Abdullah Al Razi inked MoU on setting up a Urea Formaldehyde-85 plant in Bangladesh.
The $35 billion investment proposal submitted by Dhaka to Riyadh will be reviewed by a joint working committee headed by a senior minister of Saudi Arabia. The decision was made at the meeting on Saudi-Bangladesh investment cooperation.
 Majed Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, the Saudi commerce and investment minister, Mohammed bin Mezyed Altwaijri, the Saudi economy and planning minister, AHM Mustafa Kamal, finance minister of Bangladesh, and Salman F Rahman, Prime Minister's private industry and investment adviser, were present at the meeting.
Briefing media after the meeting, AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “The project proposals that we have placed to them [Saudi delegates] do not cost less than $35 billion.”
The Saudi delegation asked the Bangladeshi side to form a joint working committee headed by Mohammed bin Mezyed Altwaijri in response to the proposals, he added.
The Finance Minister said, “The Saudi authorities will conduct studies on the proposed projects and then they will inform us about the decision on investment very soon.”
“I want to assure you this is a new chapter of Saudi-Bangladesh relationship,” Saudi Commerce Minister Qasabi said in the meeting.
Terming Bangladesh an “Asian Tiger,” he said his country was “serious” in seeking out and enhancing businesses in Bangladesh.
“We are here to [offer] support. We are here to work, identify scopes, listen and open the highway of dialogue between the two countries,” added he.
He also expressed interest in forming a Saudi-Bangladesh business council to enhance bilateral trade and invite Bangladeshi businesses to Riyadh.
The Saudi delegation arrived in Dhaka on March 6, at night and left Dhaka for Riyadh on March 7, at night.

Hasina-Modi jointly inaugurate four projects in Bangladesh


Bangladesh-India relation is a role model: Hasina Hasina’s vision is the biggest inspiration: Modi
Bangladesh and India inaugurated four projects in Bangladesh, including the supply of 1,100 buses and trucks to Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the projects through video conferencing from their respective capitals at on March 11.
The projects include supply of double decker, single decker AC and non-AC buses and trucks to Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (under 2nd Line of Credit); and 36 community clinics in five districts -- Jamalpur, Sherpur, Habiganj, Sunamganj and Brahmanbaria of Bangladesh -- under the grant financing of Indian government.
The remaining two projects are 11 Water Treatment Plants at Bhandaria Pouroshova in Pirojpur (under grant financing from India); and Extension of National Knowledge Network (NKN).
Of the 1,100 buses, 300 are double-deckers, 100 non-AC buses, 100 city AC buses and 100 intercity AC buses. Among the trucks, 350 are of 16.2-ton capacity and 150 of 10.2-ton capacity ones.
Meanwhile, 47 BRTC buses and 25 trucks have arrived in Bangladesh.
Both leaders unveiled e-plaques for the supply of buses and trucks, inauguration of 36 community clinics, 11 water treatment plants, and extension of National Knowledge Network to Bangladesh.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her speech, said the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India is a role model of good neighborliness for the rest of the world. “I strongly believe this momentum will continue,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the two countries have witnessed a remarkable progress over the last decade on cooperation in different conventional and unconventional areas like security, power, trade and commerce, energy, connectivity, infrastructure development, environment, renewable energy, education, culture, people-to-people contact and health.
Prime Minister reiterated the strong condemnation of the Pulwama attack in Kashmir. “We remain steadfast in our resolve to root out the scourge of terrorism from our region and beyond through bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation,” she said.
About the projects, she said it is a matter of great satisfaction that today some of the projects under the 2nd Line of Credit provided by India to Bangladesh are coming close to completion.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision is the “biggest inspiration” for stronger connectivity between Bangladesh and India.
Prime Minister Modi said the National Knowledge Network will connect scholars and research institutes in Bangladesh, to India and the world.
He said the buses and trucks would assist the efforts towards affordable public transportation; water treatment plants will help supply clean water; and community clinics will benefit about 2 lakh people, in Bangladesh.
India Prime Minister mentioned that these projects show that India-Bangladesh relations are playing a key role in improving the quality of life of people.
He expressed confidence that bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India would continue to grow even further.
It was the first video conference between Hasina and Modi after Hasina’s assumption of office as Prime Minister for the third consecutive term.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Indian India External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also spoke on the occasion.

Human Rights situation in Bangladesh deteriorated significantly: US HR Reports


The human rights situation in Bangladesh was deteriorated significantly in last year. The US Human Rights Reports 2018 shows political killings, forced disappearances, life-threatening prison conditions, freedom of speech limitations, negative government pressure on and fear of reprisal by press and media, and impunity for security force abuses were the key human rights problems in Bangladesh last year. The reports termed the December 30 parliamentary election as “lopsided.”
US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo formally released the 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on March 13.
The space for civil society and various rights organizations has been shrinking in Bangladesh.
There were reports of widespread impunity for security force abuses last year, while the Bangladesh government took few measures to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse and killing by security forces, said the report.
It also considered a number of rights issues, such as torture, arbitrary detentions, corruption, trafficking, overly restrictive NGO laws, workers' rights, use of the worst forms of child labor, and violence against LGBTI persons; unlawful interference into privacy, censorship, site blocking, peaceful assembly and freedom of association; criminal libel; restrictions on freedom of movement, political participation, trade unions.
On the role of the police and security Apparatus, the US report said though civilian authorities maintained effective control over military and other security forces and the government had mechanisms to investigate abuses and corruption by them, those were not regularly employed.
The report said the government neither released statistics on total killings by security personnel nor took comprehensive measures to investigate them.
In regards to the security forces' continued abuses with impunity, it identified lengthy trial procedures, retribution, and police having ties to ruling party men who occupy key positions in law and enforcement agencies.
“Reluctance to bring charges against police also perpetuated a climate of impunity,” it added.
On elections and political participation, the report termed the December parliamentary elections “lop-sided” and said it was considered to be marred by irregularities, including ballot-box stuffing and intimidation of opposition polling agents and voters.
It said the government mobilized law enforcement resources to level civil and criminal charges against opposition party leaders.
The report also highlighted numerous reports of arbitrary or unlawful killings committed by the government or its agents.
It said Human Rights Support Society (HRSS) reported security forces killed more than 400 individuals in crossfire incidents from January through September. Odhikar, another rights body, reported the number to be 415 from January through October.
Human rights organizations and civil society contended the drive was a government effort to exert increased political control over the populace before the national election.
In terms of freedom of expression, it said the government sometimes failed to respect the right.
There were significant limitations on freedom of speech with self-censorship persisting due to harassment and fear of reprisal.
It said both print and online independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views; however, media outlets that criticized the government experienced negative government pressure.
Civil society said political interference influenced the licensing process, since all television channel licenses granted by the government were for stations supporting the ruling party.
There were also incidents of journalists coming under attack by ruling party loyalists and intelligence men.
Independent journalists alleged intelligence services influenced media outlets in part by withholding financially important government advertising and pressed private companies to withhold their advertising as well.
In September parliament passed the Digital Security Act, claiming it was intended to reduce cybercrimes. Human rights groups, journalists, media outlets, and political opposition parties denounced the DSA as intended to suppress freedom and criminalize free speech.

Bangladesh rejects US report on Human Rights


Bangladesh has strongly rejected the US State Department’s 2018 country reports on human rights practices saying many things about Bangladesh mentioned in the report ‘by and large’ more applicable to the US rather than Bangladesh. Dhaka also issued a protest note in this regard.
“I’ve enough doubt about their own investigation. We welcome reports that are objective and fact-based ones,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told in a press conference on March 18 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He said Bangladesh has already sent a protest note to US authorities in this regard and mentioned that it would be more objective if they have done their own investigation.
The Foreign Minister said the US report provided information in the name of individuals and organizations.
He said the US publishes such reports routinely and there is nothing to be worried about it.
Referring to attack on Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, the Foreign Minister said the government deserves appreciation as the attacker was arrested and wondered how the US termed it a terrorist attack.
The Foreign Minister suggested the US authorities to go for a rigorous investigation and come up with an “informative and objective” report in the future which will help Bangladesh address the weaknesses, if any.
Talking about polls issues in the US and Bangladesh, he said Bangladesh practices better democracy than others.  
The report highlighted various rights issues and reported abuses and Bangladesh’s last national election issues.

US resolution asks Bangladesh to curtail Jamaat


With an effort to stop Jamaat and its affiliates from threatening religious freedom and regional stability, US Congressman Jim Banks called for Bangladesh to curb the presence of Jamaat-e-Islami by placing a resolution at the US House of Representatives.
The Congressman introduced the resolution on February 28 which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Titled "Expressing concern about the threat posed to democracy and human rights by theocratic groups operating in South Asia", the resolution was placed with an aim to eradicate militancy in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
It mentioned that Jamaat—and their subsidiary Islami Chhatra Shibir—attacked religious minorities and damaged or looted their homes and temples, in a country that was established as a secular and democratic state in 1971.
The resolution mentioned Jamaat's links with Al-Qaida and the Taliban, and the group's support of Pakistan's decision to hang Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, on blasphemy charges; and its stand against her acquittal of all charges.
Repeated attacks on religious minorities, expanding religious extremism, and growing destabilization caused by radical groups, including Jamaat and its affiliates, undermine the United States' economic and strategic interests in Bangladesh, the resolution said.
The resolution was placed for the US to more actively engage with Bangladesh's government, regarding shared interests in safeguarding human rights, religious freedom, and secular democracy; while preventing the growth of religious extremism and militancy.
It also called upon the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan to deny, disrupt, and dismantle the ability of Jamaat, and its affiliates, from posing an immediate and ongoing threat to religious freedom and regional stability. It additionally urged BNP to sever all ties with Jamaat.
The resolution called on its own country to halt all partnerships and funding arrangements with groups affiliated with Jamaat and its domestic affiliates including: the Islamic Circle of North America, ICNA Relief, Helping Hand for Relief and Development, and the Muslim Ummah of North America.
Previously, on November 20, 2018 Jim Banks placed another resolution in the House of Representatives with a similar aim to stop Jamaat, Chhatra Shibir, and Hefazat-e-Islam from engaging in activity inside the country.

Genocide by Pakistan in Bangladesh to be raised in UN: Adama Dieng


UN Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng assured Bangladesh the United Nations will raise the 1971 issue of Pakistani genocide in Bangladesh in the international forum.
"Though some countries may oppose it, we’ll raise the issue of Pakistani genocide in Bangladesh during the Liberation War in the international forum," he said.
He came up with the statement when he met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office on March 24.
Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Bangladesh observes March 25 as National Genocide Day and is trying to get international recognition for it.
The Special Adviser visited Bangladesh last month to attend a conference on the mass killings perpetrated by Pakistani troops during the 1971 Liberation War organized by The Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS).
During the meeting, Sheikh Hasina recalled that the Pakistani occupation forces launched the genocide in Bangladesh on March 25 in 1971.
"Over three million people were killed, while two lakh mothers and sisters lost their honor to Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators," she said.
The press secretary said the Prime Minister and the UN under-secretary general also discussed the Rohingya issue.
Adama Dieng described Myanmar's atrocities on Rohingyas as a genocide and renewed the UN support to Bangladesh on the issue. "The perpetrators of the genocide must be brought to justice," he said.  
The UN under-secretary general urged the international community to mount further pressure on Myanmar to bring back its nationals from Bangladesh as it cannot solve the (Rohingya) problem alone.
Adama Dieng said the UN wants repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland of Rakhaine state and there will be peaceful and inclusive society.
Speaking at the conference, the Special Advisor strongly criticized the Myanmar government for not to keep their promises.
“The Myanmar government has signed an agreement with Bangladesh. But to my view, still they’re not fulfilling their commitment,” he said.
“It was preventable. We saw all the signs but we did not take action on time,” Dieng said, adding that his mandate is to focus on prevention.
Dieng, however, said recognizing genocide or looking into the legal issues are not his mandate as an UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide.

Dhaka concerns over President Trump's Golan Heights decision


Bangladesh has expressed deep concern over the recent announcement of the U S's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
“This is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, principles of international law and relevant Security Council Resolutions,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 27.
Bangladesh urged the occupying State of Israel to immediately halt its actions to alter the legal, physical and demographic status of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 497, it said.
Bangladesh believes that changing the status of occupied Syrian Golan Heights by the U S bypassing the Security Council is a direct violation of the UN's decisions.
“Bangladesh maintains its principled position on a comprehensive solution to the issues in the Middle East in accordance with the relevant Security Council Resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the quartet roadmap," said the statement.
US President Donald Trump on March 25 declared that the Golan Heights belongs to Israel, a move that risks plunging the volatile region into a new crisis.
With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking over his shoulder at the White House, Trump signed a proclamation officially granting the US's recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory -- a dramatic shift from decades of US policy.
The move immediately triggered global anger and a sharp response from Syria, which once held the strategic land.

Ensure safety at workplace: EU


The European Union urged Bangladesh to replicate the safety standards in garment factories at all buildings to ensure workplace safety.
The EU made the call a day after a devastating fire at a building in the capital's Banani killed at least 25 people and injured over 70 others.
“The European Union attaches high importance to safety at the workplace and has been working since 2013 with the authorities of Bangladesh to improve the workplace safety in the Readymade Garment sector,” said Konstantinos Vardakis, chargé d'affaires of EU delegation to Bangladesh on March 29.
In a statement, he said the EU also encourages the Bangladesh government to take similar policy measures at the workplace in other economic sectors in Bangladesh, including in the building sector.
"The delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh expresses its deep condolences for the loss of lives from the fire at FR Tower on Kamal Ataturk Avenue at Banani, Dhaka. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families which lost their dear ones,” added he.
The delegation also wishes early recovery for those who have sustained injuries from the fire, the statement said.
After the Rana Plaza collapsed in 2013, the European Parliament adopted a resolution and an accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh to ensure all safety measures for preventing the recurrence of such tragedy in the apparel sector.
Meanwhile, different diplomatic missions stationed in Dhaka and their heads expressed sympathy to the families of the Banani fire victims.
The US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller tweeted, “Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of those injured and lost, and to all who mourn in Dhaka and across Bangladesh.”
In a statement, Canadian High Commission in Dhaka, said, “We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who died in the horrible fire in Banani. We wish a speedy recovery to those injured, and offer thanks to the local authorities who responded to this tragedy.”
In a Facebook post, the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka expressed profound shock at the casualties in Banani fire incident and expressed sympathy to the family members of those killed, injured and affected.

Trudeau phones Hasina, both want global movement against terrorism


Bangladesh and Canada agreed to work together in addressing the issue of terrorism. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau phoned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 18 and discussed on the issue. They underscored the need for initiating a global movement against terrorism, urging the international community to act together to uproot terrorism.
The Canadian Prime Minister strongly denounced the terrorist attacks on two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand.
During the nearly 20-minute conversation, the Canadian Prime Minister heaved a sigh of relief that members of Bangladesh cricket team were safe.
The Canadian Prime Minister expressed concern over the safety of Bangladesh national cricket team as they narrowly escaped Friday's brutal attacks that left 50 people, including five Bangladeshis, dead and scores of others injured.
Trudeau offered deep condolences at the loss of lives of 50 people, including Bangladeshis, in the New Zealand twin mosque attacks.
Sheikh Hasina told Trudeau that there is a need for initiating a global movement against terrorism.
In response, the Canadian Prime Minister backed Hasina’s view and said the world community should act together to stamp out terrorism.
Reiterating her government's "zero tolerance" policy against terrorism, Hasina said Bangladesh denounces terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
"Bangladesh is a land of peace and communal harmony, and we've asked law enforcement agencies to keep strong vigil and protect all the worship places, including mosques, temples, churches and pagodas," she said.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister said Islam does not allow terrorism in any forms and the terrorists have no religion and boundary.
Hasina told Trudeau that Bangladesh government has taken concerted efforts for ensuring the safety and security of people and rooting out terrorism from society.

Australia to support Bangladesh addressing terrorism


Australia has made a firm commitment to continue its support Bangladesh in countering terrorism. Australia’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism Paul Foley came up with this commitment during his visit to Bangladesh in March saying, his country will continue to support Bangladesh and its people to address the threats of terrorism and violent extremism.
He emphasized that terrorism and violent extremism are challenges shared by all countries and Australia will continue to support Bangladesh and its people to address these threats as a longstanding development and security partner.
As Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism, Foley leads Australia's international engagement on counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism, according to Australian High Commission in Dhaka.
During his 3-day visit to Bangladesh, the Ambassador held talks with Bangladesh officials and visited Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar.
The visit underlined the importance Australia places on its security engagement with Bangladesh, including tackling together the global scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, said the High Commission in a statement.
In echoing the High Commissioner’s earlier public statement, Foley extended his heartfelt condolences to the Bangladeshi victims of the shocking terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, and their families.
Foley highlighted the statements of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemning this atrocity in the strongest possible terms.
As the Prime Minister said, Australia shares the grief of Muslim communities the world over, and will not tolerate the right-wing extremist ideology that fueled this terrorist attack.

Bhutanese Prime Minister due in April


The Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering will be visiting Bangladesh in the second week of April. A number of bilateral instruments will be signed during the visit.
The decision was finalized in the second Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between Bangladesh and Bhutan held at the State Guest House Meghna in the city on March 19.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, in a media briefing, said Bangladesh and Bhutan are expected to sign a number of bilateral instruments during Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering’s visit to Bangladesh in the second week of April to take the relations to a new height.
The bilateral instruments, to be signed, are cooperation on inland waterways for cargo transportation, cooperation in health and agriculture sectors and cooperation between the Public Administration Training Centers of the two countries for exchange of faculty members as well as training and capacity building.
The talks laid the ground for the visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
During the talks with Bhutanese Foreign Secretary Sonam Tshong, Shahidul Haque discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations.
Both sides took stock of the progress in the ongoing bilateral cooperation, including in the areas of power, trade and investment, education, tourism, human resources development, science and technology, agriculture, food security, water resources management, climate change and people-to-people contact.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque who led a 19-member delegation drawn from the various ministries and departments of the government said that the 2nd FOC will help intensify bilateral cooperation further between the two countries.
During the talks, Bhutan showed keen interest to recruit Bangladeshi doctors to work in Bhutan.
The Bhutanese Foreign Secretary expressed his happiness over holding the FOC which holds special significance in light of the forthcoming visit of Bhutanese Prime Minister to Bangladesh.
He highlighted that Bangladesh holds a special place for the Prime Minister of Bhutan since he is an alumnus of Mymensingh Medical College.
He mentioned that Bhutan is highly optimistic about realizing full potential of cooperation with Bangladesh as well as exploring new areas of collaboration.

The new envoys of Italy, Tanzania, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan present their credentials


The newly appointed four envoys to Bangladesh-Enrico Nunziata of Italy, Baraka Haran Luvanda of Tanzania, Ashraf Farhad Shikhaliyev of Azerbaijan and Farhod Arziev of Uzbekistan presented their credentials separately to President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban on March 7.
Welcoming the envoys, President Hamid said the foreign policy attaches importance to bilateral and friendly relations with all.
Bangladesh always gives priority to the expansion of the bilateral relations in the field of trade, commerce and investment
President said, hoping that the bilateral relations with these countries will further be expanded during their assignments here.
The envoys sought all-out cooperation of the President in discharging their respective duties in Bangladesh.
Lauding the tremendous development of Bangladesh in various sectors especially in socio-economic, communication and infrastructural ones, they said they would provide necessary supports to Bangladesh from their respective countries’ positions
Earlier, on their arrival at Bangabhaban, a smartly turned-out contingent of the horse-mounted President Guard Regiment (PGR) gave the envoys guards of honor as part of the ceremony.

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