“We look forward to working with the new Myanmar leadership to find lasting solution to this issue ... I’m already in touch with Aung San Suu Kyi,” she said while addressing a world leaders’ summit on refugee issue held under the auspices of US President Barack Obama in New York on Tuesday afternoon.
For nearly three decades, she said Bangladesh has been hosting a large number of refugees and displaced persons from Myanmar.
“With our limited resources, we continue to bear our responsibilities for these people ... our local communities created space for their protection and assistance,” she said, adding this poses many social, economic, environmental and political challenges for Bangladesh.
During her meeting with Hasina on Monday, Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi asked for Bangladesh’s assistance to solve the Rohingya issue. In response, the premier told Suu Kyi that the matter should be solved by the two countries together.
The US president organised the event titled “Leaders’ Summit on Refugees” on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN Headquarters.
The premier said for the Myanmar refugees in camps, the government would keep investing in their security, health, education and skills.
“Improved shelter and self-reliance will be given added attention. For other displaced Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh, we have recently carried out a census.
“We are planning to give them an identity document titled ‘information card’ ... this will help them access legal, health, education and other services,” she said, urging international partners to remain engaged in the refugee issue.
There are some 33,000 registered Rohingya refugees staying at two camps in Cox’s Bazar, while the number of unregistered Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh is around 300,000 to 500,000.
PM seeks more space for women for better future
At another event, Hasina called upon the global leaders to continue to enlarge the space for women for building a sustainable future, saying it was crucial also to prevent violent extremism in anywhere in the world.
The Bangladesh premier made the remark while addressing a side-event on Women’s Leadership and Gender Perspective on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the UN Headquarters the same day. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted the event.
Hasina said she was happy to see the UN secretary general’s new plan of action recognised women’s role and leadership in preventing violent extremism.
“I believe education for all, especially for girls, is a powerful tool to address radical behaviour and violent extremism. I encourage our mothers to act as role models and mentor their children,” she added.
Listing various steps of her government for promoting women’s empowerment, Hasina said Bangladesh’s primary schools have more than sixty percent of female teaching staff and they are spreading the values of tolerance, inclusion and diversity among young minds.
“Our children must be protected against extremist narratives,” she said.
Hasina mentioned that the women in police are working with communities to build trust and confidence as well as the female members in local governments are reaching out to families to raise awareness against radicalisation.
The prime minister said that the National Women Development Policy ensures equal opportunities and entitlement for women while progress in empowering women has sidelined the religious extremist agenda.
Hasina said at the grassroots, her government has been providing women with skills and training to have their voices heard in resolving conflicts and building peace.
She pointed out that the present government took up projects with the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), where women actively take part in decision-making and implementation.
‘South-South Network of Public Organisation’
The prime minister has also emphasised on forming a “South-South Network of Public Organisation” to develop greater understanding and mass innovation between the countries in the South.
She said: “This will create an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences which will help us learn from each other and expand our horizons.”
Hasina spoke in the “South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Scaling-Up Innovation in Public Service Delivery” seminar hosted by the United Nation’s South-South Cooperation Office in the conference room at the UN Headquarters on Tuesday.
She called for the allied nations of the South to consider her proposal and asked the countries of the North to integrate it into their 2030 framework agenda.