Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni on Tuesday said Bangladesh is in the forefront of most global counterterrorism initiatives in line with its constitutional commitment to work towards international peace and security.
“We’ve attached the highest importance to upholding the fundamental rights of our citizens, while ensuring stringent legal provisions as safeguards against any act of or incitement to terrorism,” she told a function in the city.
She made the remark while addressing the inaugural ceremony of a workshop on ‘UNSCRs Implementation Procedures and Inter-Agency Cooperation at her ministry.
Terming terrorism a scourge, the Foreign Minister said it needs to be confronted with a multi-pronged strategy from the day one. “The government has been working with a firm determination to put into effect a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism and its many drivers and enablers.”
Even as the international community failed to reach a consensus on the definition of ‘terrorism’, Bangladesh maintained a delicate balance in our approach to make sure that its resolve to defeat terrorism is not compromised when it comes to dealing with the real enemies, said the Foreign Minister.
Chaired by Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, the program was also addressed, by Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman as a special guest.
Director General (UN) Foreign Ministry Saida Muna Tasneem and Members of the Diplomatic corps were also present.
Speaking as the chief guest, Dipu Moni said Bangladesh has often taken a lead in South Asia to facilitate the rollout of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Taskforce (CTITF).
“We’ve traditionally maintained close cooperation with the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee established pursuant to the Security Council Resolution 1373,” said the Foreign Minister.
She mentioned that the entire government machinery has been mobilized to show ‘zero tolerance’ for any terrorist outfits and activities within Bangladesh territory, whether homegrown or international.
“It was evident that the heightened alert and physical drives against terrorist individuals and entities were not enough. These had to be matched with a robust legal and institutional mechanism to combat terrorism, financing of terrorism and other related crimes such as money-laundering,” Dipu Moni said.
She said there are many areas where Bangladesh would obviously be late entrants as a resource constrained country. “But we have the advantage to learn from the experience of others that had gone before us and forge ahead with our indigenous capacity-building to realize our national aspirations.”
The other critical aim is to explain the modus operandi that must be followed to ensure compliance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and meet the reporting obligations therein through inter-agency cooperation, she said.
“We’ll fail in our responsibility if we have to accept the lack of capacity as an excuse and refrain from undertaking certain challenges that we know would serve our national interests in the long term.”
She urged the participants at the workshop to engage in frank, inter-active debates to help each other understand better where each one of the agencies can add value to the process from own vantage points.
“I would also request you to help sensitise your colleagues in your respective organizations about the work that the overall compliance process entails.”
She appreciated the friends in the diplomatic community for their continued support and suggestions in light of their own national experiences to help Bangladesh further strengthen its compliance regime vis-a-vis the UN Security Council Resolutions.
“I hope that the UN and our other development partners would come forward to contribute to the critical capacity-building support that we would need to make sure that the legal and regulatory measures that we have put in place prove to be effective when they are put to the test.”