February 4, 2020 the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Rabab Fatima highlighted the inter-religious harmony prevailing in Bangladesh while speaking as a panelist at a side-event in the UN Headquarters titled ‘Addressing hate speech and preventing incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence: Synergies within the United Nations system’. As a part of observance of the ‘Inter-Faith Harmony Week’, the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect organized this event with -Bangladesh, Morocco and Italy as cosponsors.
In her remarks, Ambassador Fatima quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s statement– ‘ধর্ম যার যার উৎসব সবার’ [‘Religion is one’s own; but festivals are for everyone’] and shared how in Bangladesh the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, are cohabiting in harmony and peace.
Ambassador Fatima also shared how Bangladesh has been leveraging the place of religious leaders and teachers in the society to guard against misuse of religion and spread of hatred, intolerance and violence. In this context she cited some examples of involving religious leaders, places of worship and religious organizations and highlighted Bangladesh Government’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards terrorism & violent extremism. While adopting a ‘whole-of-society’ approach in our efforts, we have also included de-radicalization and counter-terrorism issue in school curriculum, she added.
Ambassador Fatima focused on Bangladesh’s multilateral engagements in preventing the violent extremism and propagating inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue as the proponent of Bangladesh’s signature resolution on Culture of Peace.
While providing some suggestions on the issue of encouraging the ongoing initiatives at the UN including the Plans of Action to counter hate speech, Ambassador Fatima cited the Rohingya crises.
Mr. Adama Dieng, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide moderated the event. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Dieng specifically mentioned Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina praising her decision to initiate formal education for the Rohingya population in the camps in Cox’s Bazar. A large number of Member States and civil society organizations attended the event.