Noting that Rohingya crisis has the potential to destabilise Bangladesh and beyond, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said voluntary return of the displaced Rohingyas to their homes in the Rakhine State of Myanmar in safety, security and dignity was the only solution to the crisis, reports UNB. 

‘We’re currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas. It has the potential to destabilise our country and beyond. We’re constrained to seek support of the international community in resolving the crisis. Voluntary return of the Rohingyas to their homes in the Rakhine State in safety, security and dignity is the only solution to the crisis,’ she said.

The prime minister said this at the plenary session of the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan.

The session titled ‘Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world’ was held at Baku Congress Centre.

Sheikh Hasina said the Rohingya crisis is a political one deeply rooted in Myanmar. ‘Thus, its solution has to be found inside Myanmar.’ Despite the socio-economic successes, Bangladesh is currently dealing with two challenges, Rohingya crisis and adverse impacts of climate change, she said, highlighting Bangladesh’s progress in different socio-economic indexes.

About impacts of the climate change, Sheikh Hasina said although Bangladesh had little responsibility for global warming, it was suffering heavily from its devastating impacts.

‘The international response to climate change, particularly that of developed countries, must therefore, fully respect the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,’ she said.

BSS adds: the 18th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement began in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku on Friday morning with a call to uphold the spirit of the forum and strengthen cooperation among its member states.

Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev inaugurated the two-day summit of the NAM, a forum of 120 developing countries, at Baku Congress Centre.

Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina joined the opening ceremony of the summit along with other heads of state and government and representatives of the member states of the NAM at the Plenary Hall of Baku Congress Centre.

On her arrival at the centre at 10:00am, Sheikh Hasina was received by the Azerbaijan president.

The other world leaders who joined the summit included Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel, Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammed, Djibouti president Ismail Omar, Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo, Nepalese prime minister KP Sharma Oli, Pakistani president Arif Alvi, Indian vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Bedimuhamedow, Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina chairman Bakir Izetbegovic, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and Libyan prime minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, the current chairperson of the NAM, delivered the

opening remarks at the inaugural session of the summit.

After his speech, Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev was elected chairman unopposed of the Non-Aligned Movement for the next three years.

After being elected the chairman, he pledged to build the NAM on the basis of Bandung principles.

President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande also spoke at the opening session of the summit.

The hosts of the summit Azerbaijan, located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia and populated by 10 million people, is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, where 96 per cent of its citizens are Muslims.

At the outset of the opening session of the summit, a minute’s silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of the NAM leaders who died since the 17th NAM Summit held in Venezuela in 2016.

The theme of general debate of the 18th NAM is ‘Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world.’

Sheikh Hasina joined Working Luncheon for heads of the delegation at the Luncheon Hall of the centre and the Plenary Session.

In the evening, the prime minister will attend the official reception to be hosted by Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev at Heydar Aliyev Centre.

On the side-lines of the NAM Summit, the prime minister will call on her Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammed on Friday afternoon.

The Non-Aligned Movement is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. It has 17 observer countries and 10 observer organisations.

The forum is the second biggest organisation after the United Nations. Presently, approximately 55 per cent of the world’s population lives in the NAM member-states.

These countries possess more than 75 per cent of the world’s oil reserves and more than 50 per cent of gas reserves, as well as the biggest human and natural resources.

Drawing on the principles agreed at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955, the NAM was established in 1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia through an initiative of the then Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and ex-Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito.

Venezuela’s Margarita Island hosted the 17th NAM Summit in 2016.

The Non-Aligned Movement was founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War.

Its actions were a key factor in the decolonisation process, which later led to the attainment of freedom and independence by many countries and people and to the founding of tens of new sovereign states.

Throughout its history, the NAM has played a fundamental role in the preservation of world peace and security.

The chairmanship of NAM will be built on three main priorities, among others, to increase the effectiveness of the movement to further enhance the reputation of the organisation on the global stage.

Other priorities are the promotion of the Bandung principles and the strengthening of the unity within the movement.

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