Dhaka, Sept 21 (UNB) – The European Parliament (EP) has reiterated its call on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to impose a “global comprehensive arms embargo” on Myanmar.
It also called for suspending all direct and indirect supplies, sales or transfers of all weapons, munitions and other military and security equipment, as well as provision of training or other military or security assistance.
In its latest resolution, the EP urged the UNSC to adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear responsible for serious crimes under international law.
The resolution was adopted with 546 votes in favour, 12 against and 94 abstentions on Thursday titled ‘Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya’.
The Parliament also called upon Myanmar to recognise the Rohingyas among the 135 legally recognised Myanmar ethnic groups.
Myanmar does not recognise the Muslim-majority Rohingyas as citizens despite having lived in the country for generations. The Rohingyas are referred to as ‘Bangalis’ to imply that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. State-sponsored discrimination against them stretches back decades.
The resolution commended efforts by the government and the people of Bangladesh to provide refuge to Rohingyas.
Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, is hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. Most of them fled here from their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine State after the military launched a brutal offensive in late August 2017.
The Parliament recalled that rape and sexual violence have been a recurrent feature in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states.
It also urged Bangladesh to lift restrictions on access to internet and online communications, as well as freedom of movement and to ensure security forces operating in the camps uphold all protection standards.
Bangladesh suspended 3G and 4G services in Rohingya camp areas in Teknaf and Ukhiya for an indefinite period earlier this month.
The European Parliament also called for further international support to the host communities.
It called for the EU, in particular the Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO), and EU Member States to secure improvements in the protection from gender-based violence of Rohingya girls and women.
The resolution recalled the need for the provision of medical and psychological assistance in refugee camps and greater support services for victims of rape and sexual assault.
It welcomed the framework for targeted measures against officials and military generals responsible for serious human rights violations and strengthening the EU’s arms embargo set up by the Council.
The resolution called on the Council to further expand the list of those targeted by the sanctions, including Commander-in-Chief Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing and Deputy Commander in Chief Vice Sr Gen Soe Win, and called on the Commission to review trade preferences that benefit Myanmar.
It welcomes the 2 million euros of food aid to the UN World Food Program delivered by the EU in early September for the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar and asked the Council and the Commission to continue the efforts.
The Parliament instructed its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Human Rights Council.
The resolution insisted that the Government of Myanmar and State Counsellor Suu Kyi condemn unequivocally all incitement of hatred and to combat social discrimination and hostilities against Rohingya people and other minority groups.
It is gravely concerned about the gravity of the human rights violations and called on Myanmar to put an immediate stop the ongoing violence against Rohingya people, to become a signatory to the Rome Stature and to ensure that security and the rule of law prevail in Myanmar.
It strongly condemned all acts of violence, intimidation, harassment or restriction of freedom of expression, notably by the Myanmar military and security forces.
Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) - Five successful women entrepreneurs who have broken the new digital ground and created wealth and jobs in various developing countries will be unveiled on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
They will join world leaders as they review the progress made in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Friday.
UNCTAD will announce the first “eTrade for Women Advocates”, seven “super” women – all digital entrepreneurs – who have been selected by the UN to inspire other digital women entrepreneurs and help ensure that women have a seat and voice at the policymaking table for a more inclusive local, regional and global digital economy.
Five of the seven advocates – hailing from China, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, North Macedonia and Rwanda – will be introduced to the world, on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
The “eTrade for Women Advocates” will be in New York from 23 to 26 September to provide insights on how women digital entrepreneurs are a formidable force for inclusive wealth creation and development.
The five who will be in New York are: Xiaofei Yao from China, founder and CEO of Rogrand; Patricia Zoundi Yao from Côte d'Ivoire, founder and CEO of Quickcash; Helianti Hilman from Indonesia, founder and CEO of Javara; Claudia de Heredia from Mexico, co-founder and COO of Kichink; and Nina Angelovska, North Macedonia’s minister of finance and co-founder of Grouper.mk.
The other two are Nazanin Daneshvar from Iran, founder and CEO of Takhfifan, and Clarisse Iribagiza from Rwanda, founder and CEO of DMM.HeHe.
Drawing on their groundbreaking work in e-commerce, these advocates are helping to create the world all want by 2030 by leveraging technology to build wealth in their communities to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The “super seven” pioneering cohort of women entrepreneurial business leaders will inspire and empower other women entrepreneurs in their regions and beyond to take greater advantage of the ever-expanding global digital economy.
Harnessing the positive impact of digital technology, combined with the transformative power of female entrepreneurship, is needed to accelerate wealth creation and poverty reduction in developing countries. However, this potential remains unrealized as women struggle to scale their business and to get a seat at decision-making tables.
UNCTAD’s eTrade for Women initiative enables leading female digital entrepreneurs to make their voices heard in high-level political decision-making processes.
It also equips them to empower the next generation of female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Kurigram, Sept 20 (UNB) - State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruk on Friday said discussions are going on between India and Bangladesh over Teesta River management and water sharing.
Technical works are underway, he said while visiting CC Block and geo bag placing activities at Dharla River embankment at Rajarhat upazila.
“We’ll ensure that the two countries use Teesta water properly so that people on both sides of the border are benefited,” Faruk said.
Asked about erosion in Kurigram, he said the government is working to reduce erosion within two to three years in the area.
Faruk also visited new project areas in Nagrakura Tea Head Grown Embankment and Brahmaputra River Embankment protection dam.
According to Kurigram Water Development Board sources, development works of Tk 302 crore are underway in the district.
Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) - Bangladesh is among countries that showed “substantial progress” in reducing child or maternal mortality, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
More women and their children are surviving today than ever before, according to new child and maternal mortality estimates released by United Nations groups led by Unicef and WHO.
Despite progress, a pregnant woman or a newborn dies somewhere in the world every 11 seconds.
Since 2000, child deaths have reduced by nearly half and maternal deaths by over one-third, mostly due to improved access to affordable, quality health services, according to a media released issued from New York on Friday.
The world has made substantial progress in reducing child and maternal mortality. Since 1990, there has been a 56% reduction in deaths of children under 15 from 14.2 million deaths to 6.2 million in 2018.
Bangladesh, Belarus, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Morocco, Mongolia, Rwanda, Timor-Leste and Zambia are some of the countries that have shown substantial progress in reducing child or maternal mortality, according to WHO.
Success has been due to political will to improve access to quality healthcare by investing in the health workforce, introducing free care for pregnant women and children and supporting family planning, WHO says.
Many of these countries focus on primary healthcare and universal health coverage.
“In countries that provide everyone with safe, affordable, high-quality health services, women and babies survive and thrive,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “This is the power of universal health coverage.”
But the new estimates reveal that 6.2 million children under 15 years of age died in 2018, and over 2,90,000 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth in the year before.
Of the total child deaths, 5.3 million occurred in the first 5 years, with almost half of these in the first month of life.
Women and newborns are most vulnerable during and immediately after childbirth. An estimated 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns die every year, or 1 every 11 seconds, mostly of preventable causes, the new estimates say.
Children face the highest risk of dying in the first month, especially if they are born too soon or too small, have complications during birth, congenital defects, or contract infections. About a third of these deaths occur within the first day and nearly three quarters in the first week alone.
“Around the world, birth is a joyous occasion. Yet, every 11 seconds, a birth is a family tragedy,” said Henrietta Fore, Unicef Executive Director.
“A skilled pair of hands to help mothers and newborns around the time of birth, along with clean water, adequate nutrition, basic medicines and vaccines, can make the difference between life and death. We must do all it takes to invest in universal health coverage to save these precious lives,” Fore said.
The estimates also show vast inequalities worldwide, with women and children in sub-Saharan Africa facing a substantially higher risk of death than in all other regions.
Levels of maternal deaths are nearly 50 times higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa and their babies are 10 times more likely to die in their first month of life, compared to high-income countries.
Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) - More than 29 million children were born into conflict-affected areas last year, Unicef said on Friday.
Throughout 2018, more than 1 in 5 babies globally spent their earliest moments in communities affected by the chaos of conflict, it said.
“Every parent should be able to cherish their baby’s first moments, but for the millions of families living through conflict, the reality is far bleaker,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
She said in countries around the world, violent conflict has severely limited access to essential services for parents and their babies.
“Millions of families lack access to nutritious food, safe water, sanitation, or a secure and healthy environment to grow and bond. Along with the immediate, obvious dangers, the long-term impacts of such a start in life are potentially catastrophic,” Fore said.
When young children experience prolonged or repeated adverse and traumatic events, the brain’s stress management system is activated without relief causing ‘toxic stress’.
Over time, stress chemicals break down existing neural connections and inhibit new ones from forming, leading to lasting consequences for children’s learning, behaviour, and physical and mental health.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which governments pledged to protect and care for children affected by conflict.
Currently, more countries are embroiled in internal or international conflict than at any other time in the past three decades, threatening the safety and wellbeing of millions of children, Unicef said.
“Parents who interact with their babies can help shield them from the negative neurological effects of conflict. Yet, in times of conflict, parents are frequently overwhelmed,” said Fore.
Some $200 billion a year is needed to achieve all the primary health goals that are required for quality universal health coverage for all, according to Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director in charge of Universal Healthcare targets at WHO.
Welcoming positive changes in tackling child and maternal mortality globally since 2000, Salama insisted that many countries were in a position to achieve much more, without having to find new funding, according to UN News.
“The biggest difference in terms of when we discuss financing between the MDG (Millennium Development Goals) era (2000-2015) and the SDG era, is the real acknowledgement that the money is there for many countries, they just have to spend it on the right things,” he said.
“So we’re not turning to the donor community and saying, ‘Give us $200 billion.’ We’re turning to middle-income and higher-income and even some lower-income countries that are stable and saying, ‘Actually, if you choose the right things, you could meet these goals within your current budgets.’”
‘Staggering success’ in reducing deaths
Since 2000, Dr Salama insisted, the overall story of maternal and child mortality had been “a staggering success that we don’t often see in global and health development”.
He pointed to a 50 percent reduction in deaths in children under 15 – from 14.2 million in 2000 to 6.2 million deaths in 2018 - and a 35 percent reduction in maternal deaths over the same period.