Visiting Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland today said the Rohingya issue is extraordinarily important and the whole world has congratulated Bangladesh for shouldering such huge responsibilities.
“The Rohingya issue is extraordinarily important. I think the whole world has watched with alarm what has happened with the Rohingyas and have expressed their real congratulations to Bangladesh for shouldering such a huge amount of responsibilities,” she said.
Scotland came up with the remarks while delivering a lecture at a seminar titled ‘The Commonwealth Advantage: Progress and Potential’ at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) here in the morning, reports BSS.
Responding to a question, Scotland said the issue of human rights in this regard is of fundamental importance. “If we are to uphold our charter, our values that are going to be incredibly important for us to look how we can work together, create those best practices, share them, force them and help to keep ourselves accountable for those matters.”
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali spoke at the event as the chief guest while State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam as special guest with Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman of the Board of Governors of BIISS, chairing the session. Director General of BIISS Major General AKM Abdur Rahman gave the address of welcome.
The commonwealth secretary general said the commonwealth has an opportunity to enhance the business within the commonwealth countries as the intra commonwealth trade now stands for around $585 billion, which can be raised to $700 billion by 2020 and $2 trillion by the year 2030.
She said the opportunity of commonwealth for working together has been gradually enhanced at a time of real difficulty and trouble as 53 of the commonwealth member countries have now come together to agree upon a very comprehensive communique dealing with so many things about business, prosperity, fairness, sustainability.
“So, this is the real opportunity for us to enhance the dynamism in our countries. If we want to have safety and security, working together is the way forward,” she added.
Noting that the economic cost of domestic violence is huge, Scotland said the commonwealth is now doing an economic assessment of that cost in order to deliver what will be a gift to better assist the member countries to address these issues effectively.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is absolutely committed to the ‘Blue Economy’ and to the green economy, she said: “We will wait for which elements Bangladesh will choose to be champion.” Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said for commonwealth to remain relevant, it must reinvent its strength and possibilities.
Sharing his four specific thoughts with the audience regarding commonwealth, Ali said firstly commonwealth has to evolve and come up with priorities along the expectations of its member states that are mostly developing ones. He said commonwealth must graduate into an organization prepared to meet the evolving needs of the member states through collective initiatives.
Secondly, he said the commonwealth must increasingly be connected within itself if it wants to remain relevant and useful to its citizens and foster its values in commonality.
Thirdly, the Foreign Minister said commonwealth should show the way by setting example and facilitate best practices sharing rather than preaching.
Fourthly and lastly, he said the commonwealth must welcome and bring in the better role of the private sector in its programmes and activities.
Ali also said the commonwealth’s present state and the context of Brexit are prompting to explore new possibilities and to think how to transform the organization and make it more responsive.
“Reform, therefore is a must and it needs fundamental change in the structure and orientation of the organization,” he added.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said in the context of Brexit, Bangladesh, as an LDC graduating into middle income status, sees good value and use in rules based preferential and free trading system, specially, within a Commonwealth of 2.3 billion people.
He said trade among Commonwealth countries is expected to increase by at least 17 per cent to around $700 billion by 2020. Together with greenfield investment, intra-Commonwealth trade is expected to surpass $1.5 trillion, as projected by the Commonwealth Trade Review 2018.