Dhaka, July 19 (UNB) – State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Friday strongly condemned the false allegation made by a Bangladeshi to US President Donald Trump saying that the government will look into it why Priyabala Saha did so.
“I had answered various questions of various countries and NGOs both from home and abroad related to human rights several times in the full house of the UN Human Rights. Persons like respected Rana Dasgupta were also there. But I did never see anybody asking questions with allegations made by Priya Saha,” he said while making comments on the incident.
Shahriar said the government will listen to her allegations and look into those allegations.
The State Minister mentioned that as President Donald Trump knows that false allegations are conveyed to him and the US administration gets information though their Embassy in Dhaka routinely. “We remain in touch always.”
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Priya Saha’s allegations have no basis as no such incident has taken place in the country.
In the video clip that went viral on social media on Friday, Priya Saha was heard telling Trump that “Sir, I'm from Bangladesh. … 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are disappeared. Please help us - for the Bangladeshi people. We want to stay in our country.”
She also said there are 18 million minority people. “My request is, please help us, we don’t want to leave our country, just help us stay. I've lost my home, they've burned my home, they (have) taken away my land, but no judgment (is) yet taken please, please….”
Trump was heard asking her, “Who took the land and home? In reply, she said the Muslim fundamentalist groups. “Always they're getting the political shelter, always.”
At one stage, Trump extended his hand and held her hand. They kept their hands on each other for a few seconds.
“I’ve watched the video conversation between Priya Saha and Trump. It’s completely a lie,” he told UNB.
About criticisms of various communities while criticising Priya Saha, State Minister Shahriar said, “This is also not correct.”
Disapproving Priya Saha’s claim, he said such behaviour from a person who is engaged in various levels of society is not acceptable.
The State Minister said Bangladesh is a shining example of religious harmony and many do damage it for personal interest or not understanding the matter properly. “All should refrain from carrying out such activities.”
Meanwhile, Molla Azad Hossain, acting Superintendent of Pirojpur Police, also dismissed the allegation made to the US president.
He said no such incident took place in Pirojpur and there is no authenticity of her allegation. “If anyone tries to harm the religious harmony here, law enforcers will take strict measures to prevent him/her.”
Priya Saha is one of the organising secretaries of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad.
Bangladesh doing something remarkable:
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Earl R Miller, while visiting a Buddhist temple at city’s Merul Badda on Friday afternoon, appreciated Bangladesh’s religious harmony.
Miller, who was sworn in as US Ambassador to Bangladesh on November 13 last year, shared his experience meeting religious leaders from across the country and praised the religious harmony.
"I now have enough perspective after being here for eight months and traveling so widely to recognize that Bangladesh is doing something remarkable," he told reporters.
The US envoy also said, "Everywhere I have gone I have received the same message, be it's from Imam, priest and someone in the temple that no country can succeed unless it works together."
He said it is the lesson that his country and the world can learn from.
Talking to UNB over phone, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad Rana Dashgupta said he is not aware how Priyabala Saha went to the USA and reached Trump.
He said she was not among the three persons who represented Oikya Parishad at the ministerial meeting on advancing religious freedom hosted by the US Department of State.
“I’ve nothing else to say,” he said, declining to comment on her allegations.
The second ministerial meeting on advancing religious freedom hosted by the US Department of State was held in Washington DC. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen attended the meeting.
Delegates from 106 countries with about 40 Foreign Ministers attended the meeting at the invitation of Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.
Dhaka, July 19 (UNB) – Acting Nepalese Ambassador to Bangladesh Dhan Bahadur Oli emphasised strengthening connectivity between the two countries on all fronts saying that there is huge potential to promote Bangladesh-Nepal bilateral relations.
“When we talk about connectivity, we don’t talk about one-way connectivity,” he told reporters at the embassy on Thursday night while announcing Himalaya Airlines’ direct flights on Dhaka-Kathmandu-Dhaka route.
The airline will operate its A320-214 narrow bodied aircraft on the route, configured with 150 economy class and eight premium economy class seats from July 22.
First secretary at Nepalese Embassy Dilli Prasad Acharya, Country Manager, Himalaya Airlines, Bangladesh Sushil Kumar Basnet and Director of SAir Air BD Ltd were, among others, present.
The acting Nepalese envoy said this flight will help the people of Bangladesh and Nepal bring closer and know each other better.
Sushil Kumar said the ticket price will be much cheaper than others who are currently operating flights on the same route.
The airline currently has a fleet of three new Airbus 320-200. The new flight schedule offers expedient travel options for leisure and business travellers, said the airline in a media statement.
Bangladesh being a major volume market for Nepalese tourism, the inbound connectivity shall focus predominantly on getting Bangladeshi tourists onboard, it said.
With the airlines’ regular flights to Middle East destinations like Doha, Dubai and Dammam, the new sector shall also significantly project Kathmandu as a transit hub for Bangladeshi passengers.
“We take pleasure to announce our connectivity to another Asian destination – Dhaka - shouldering our role in contributing to the promotion of tourism and business amongst neighboring countries,” Vijay Shrestha, Vice President, was quoted as saying.
Shrestha said this connectivity will boost new business opportunities between Nepal and Bangladesh and shall also serve as a bridge between the Middle East countries and Bangladesh. “Himalaya Airlines shall be committed to continuing excellent service flavored with Nepali hospitality to its valued passengers.”
The thrice weekly schedules have convenient timings, where flight - H9 678 departs from Kathmandu at 11:10 (local time), and lands at 13:10 hours (local time) in Dhaka.
The return flight -H9 679 departs from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 14:10 hours (local time) the same day and arrives at Tribhuvan International Airport at 15:20 hours.
Dhaka, July 19 (UNB) - The United States has reiterated that they will stand strong on resolving the Rohingya issue, and also holding the perpetrators in Myanmar accountable for committing the crimes of atrocities against Rohingyas.
US Vice President Mike Pence conveyed the US position expressing concern over the violation of basic right of the Rohingyas in Myanmar.
Pence delivered keynote speech at the 2nd Ministerial meeting on advancing religious freedom hosted by the US Department of State on Thursday, according to a revised media release issued on Friday.
He expressed happiness with the progress that has been achieved since the last Ministerial in 2018.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen attended the meeting.
Delegates from 106 countries with about 40 Foreign Ministers attended the meeting at the invitation of Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State.
Secretary Pompeo reinforced that ensuring religious freedom for all remains the top foreign policy priority of the USA.
He thanked all the governments for their participation and called for collective efforts to ensure the freedom of thoughts, freedom of conscience and religion as reflected in the US Constitution.
Foreign Minister Momen highlighted the commitment of the government to ensure basic rights of its people.
He mentioned that inspired by the call of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman, Bangladesh has been relentlessly working to maintain the religious rights of all sects of people.
Dr Momen said under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has upheld religious pluralism and rights of minorities.
He elaborated how the government of PM Sheikh Hasina maintained a ‘Zero Tolerance’ approach to any form of violence and discrimination, under any pretext, against religious minorities, and successfully prevented rise of extremist contents in Bangladesh.
This has resulted in the unprecedented socio-economic growth of its economy, he said.
Besides, non-communalism and peaceful coexistence, PM Hasina also promotes a national slogan ‘Religion unto individual, festivals unto all’, to promote religious tolerance and create a sense of accommodation among religious sects.
Foreign Minister Momen thanked the US government and the international community to extend support to host 1.1 million Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
He called on the international community to increase the pressure on Myanmar to take back these people.
Dr Momen observed that at times certain media is disseminating hatred and violence against selected religious groups.
He called for the media to play a constructive and responsible role in promoting religious freedom, thereby supporting peace and stability.
DrMomen reiterated that violence and wars emanate from a mindset of hatred and ignorance.
Therefore, in order to have sustainable peace and stability across nations, he called for creating a mindset of tolerance, a mindset of respect for others irrespective of religion, ethnicity, colour and background.
Dr Momen said to create such a mindset, everyone including religious, social, community, academia, and media leaders must work together in collaboration and partnership.
He proposed to host a similar ministerial at regional level in Bangladesh soon.
On the sidelines of this conference, in addition to the Foreign Minister of Hungary, Minister Momen met the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Bahrain, and Malta.
He discussed with his counterpart of Hungary about enhancing the mutual bilateral relation through extended cooperation.
Foreign Minister Momen offered him to share expertise in Agriculture and Water resources.
He requested to invest in harnessing maritime resources in the Bay of Bengal.
DrMomen also asked to take skilled and semi-skilled work forces from Bangladesh. He thanked him for the 100 scholarship being offered by the Hungarian government.
He invited his counterpart to visit Bangladesh with a business delegation.
The Hungarian Minister assured him that he would soon look forward to undertake a visit to Bangladesh.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB) - Heavy rainfall, flooding and landslides across three countries in South Asia – Bangladesh, India and Nepal – have killed at least 93 children, and put the lives of millions more at risk.
UNICEF estimates that more than 12 million people, including about five million children, have been affected.
In Bangladesh, monsoon rains continue to affect most of the country, particularly the central-northern and south-east regions.
More than two million people have been affected by flooding, including around 700,510 children, according to UNICEF.
An estimated 367,341 houses have been damaged or destroyed and 1,866 primary and community schools have been damaged by floodwaters.
Cox's Bazar, home to more than a million Rohingyas, has been hit by excessive rain this month.
"Millions of children have seen their lives turned upside down by the torrential rainfall, flooding and landslides," said Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia.
"As the rains continue, these numbers are only likely to grow. UNICEF is responding urgently, working with local authorities and partners to ensure children are kept safe, and provide the support needed," she added.
While many areas remain inaccessible due to damage to roads, bridges and railways, the most urgent needs for children are clean water, hygiene supplies to prevent the spread of disease, food supplies and safe places in evacuation centres for children to play.
UNICEF is on the ground working in close coordination with respective governments and humanitarian partners from the three countries to scale up its responses and respond to the immediate needs of affected children and their families.
In India, more than 10 million people have been affected across Assam, Bihar, parts of Uttar Pradesh and other north-eastern states, including more than 4.3 million children.
As the situation develops, these numbers are only likely to increase.
In Assam alone, almost 2,000 schools have been damaged by floodwaters. While parts of the country have been suffering from heavy rainfall and flooding, other parts are still reeling from the aftermath of severe heat and water deficit, affecting almost half of the country.
In Nepal, some 68,666 people are temporarily displaced, including 28,702 children. A total of 88 people have died, including 47 children (15 girls and 32 boys).
Around 31 people are missing while 41 have been injured, according to the latest reports from the government of Nepal.
Nearly 12,000 households have been temporarily displaced in central and eastern Nepal.
However, many affected families have started going back home since the rains have decreased and water level receded.
"Across the region, we are seeing the devastating impact of extreme weather events on children and families,” said Gough.
"As weather events become more extreme, unpredictable and erratic, it is children who are paying the heaviest price.”
While individual extreme weather events cannot specifically be attributed to climate change, the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather - including recent high temperatures, intense rains and slow-moving weather fronts - are in line with predictions of how human activities are affecting the global climate.
Such events can cause death and devastation and can also contribute to the increased spread of major killers of children, such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea.
And as these extreme climate events increase in frequency and magnitude, the risks to children will likely outpace global capacity to mitigate them as well as to provide humanitarian response.
Floods threaten children’s survival and development, with direct impacts including injuries and death by drowning. Beyond these immediate risks, floods compromise safe water supplies and damage sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of diarrhoea and other disease outbreaks, as well as impacting children’s access to education.
Damage to housing endangers children’s well-being, particularly when emergency shelter is either scarce or inadequate.
It also destroys infrastructures, making it difficult to move lifesaving assistance where needed.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB)- The government of Malaysia extended a special opportunity for illegal expatriates to leave the country without meeting any legal action.
A press release issued by Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia said a new program named ‘Back 4 Good’ was launched to implement the plan which permits the expatriates, who entered the country without visa and who are overstaying there, to return home after meeting some easy conditions.
Starting on August 1, the program will be continued till December 31, said the press release citing Malaysian home ministry.
They will have to pay 700 Ringgit for getting special pass and will have to submit their passport, travel documents and air ticket to Malaysian immigration.
Then the authority will provide a special pass to the applicant within a working day. He or she will have to leave the country within seven days after receiving the pass.
All the provinces except Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan will be under the program.
However, the government of Malaysia took the initiative following discussions with its Bangladeshi counterparts at different times.