All victims of sexual abuse deserves justice: HPM Sheikh Hasina

 

Referring to Bangladesh's experience worst form of sexual violence during its War of Liberation, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said, "We believe all victims of sexual exploitation and abuse deserve justice and also opportunities for rehabilitation".

Over two hundred thousands women were violated by the Pakistan occupation forces and their collaborators during that time, she recalled and said, "We have ensured justice by trying the perpetrators and the abettors of such heinous crimes through international crimes tribunal".

Appreciating the Secretary General's initiatives for taking lead in combating his scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse within the UN system and beyond, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh all the years has dealt strongly all allegations in this regard.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reassured Bangladesh's firm commitment to the UN Secretary General’s noble initiative to eradicate sexual violence and abuse of peacekeepers, declaring pledge of 100,000 US dollar token contribution to the victim support fund.

"As a major troop and police contributing country in the UN peacekeeping, we attach high importance to the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse. In this context, our approach is ‘zero tolerance’ to the allegations of sexual violence by the peacekeepers," she said.

Protection against sexual exploitation and abuse has been made an integral part of our pre-deployment training, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladeshi peacekeepers have consistently maintained good image and credibility almost in all UN missions. This was due to our strong moral values, effective motivation and high standard of discipline, she said.

She said allegations of sexual abuse against the peacekeepers are handled with extreme urgency. The members under such allegations are immediately repatriated at his own expenses. His/her UN allowances are suspended until the investigation is complete.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivered introductory speech of the meeting while President of the 72nd General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak, addressed, among others.

President of Republic of Finland Sauli Niinisto, President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay Tabare Vazquez, Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn also spoke on "Identified gaps, best practices and sustaining efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse."

A video documentary was screened highlight ongoing partnership of the United Nations with civil society to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.

In the morning Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined a high-level meeting on UN reforms hosted by US President Donald Trump who called on the UN to improve the way it does business.

The heads of state and government of 193 countries who arrived in New York to attend the 72nd UNGA session took part in the meeting held at the UN Headquarters (UNHQ).

The high-level meeting titled "Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development" was held as a way to give momentum to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres's efforts to adopt a declaration to bring greater efficiency, accountability and transparency to the UN.

As of this morning, 128 nations have signed the declaration, according to the UN.

Photo: Saiful Islam Kallol

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