Adama Dieng thanked the Bangladeshi government for the work done so far in supporting the almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees who arrived in Cox’s Bazar.
UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng, on Friday, called on religious leaders and other actors to support the peaceful coexistence of Rohingyas and host communities.
“Building a peaceful and inclusive society and preventing atrocity, crimes and their incitement is a multilayered endeavour that is most likely to succeed when different actors are working collaboratively towards the same objective,” he said.
In this context, Adama Dieng said he firmly believes that religious leaders and actors in Bangladesh and the region can play a fundamental role.
“I’m also of the opinion that political support for their work, at regional, national and local levels, is essential. Without this support, they can face many challenges and implementation will be much harder to achieve.”
He was addressing a workshop titled “Fostering Peaceful and Inclusive Communities in Bangladesh: The Role of Religious Leaders and Actors”, organized jointly by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the Save and Serve Foundation in Dhaka.
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo said every human being should enjoy their fundamental human rights in freedom and safety.
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
“The United Nations in Bangladesh is promoting the implementation of this goal, and to do so, everyone including religious leaders, has a role to play,” she said.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali attended the inaugural session as chief guest. He reaffirmed Bangladesh’s commitment to peace and development and stressed the importance of inclusive development by ensuring rights and equal opportunities to all.
The minister also highlighted the importance of keeping peace, security and stability in Cox’s Bazar after the Rohingya influx.
He said, “The government of Bangladesh always promotes a culture which respects the freedom of thought, conscience and religion in the country.”
In his concluding remark, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said peace and development go hand in hand. “There can be no peace without development, and no development without peace.”
He urged religious leaders to work together for promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.
The first day of the event focused on discussing how religious leaders could help Bangladesh meet its existing international commitments in Sustainable Development Goal 16, with the support of the United Nations, and best practices to address violent messages and incitement to violence.
The focus of the workshop was on the role of religious leaders and actors in Bangladesh in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on building just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
The meeting also focused on how the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes, developed by the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and launched by the United Nations Secretary General in July 2017, could be implemented in Bangladesh.
During the inaugural session, speakers stressed that there can be no sustainable development without peace, and that peace and inclusivity are essential for peaceful coexistence of different groups in society.
The second day, according to UNDP, will focus on challenges arising from the Rohingya crisis, including the role that religious leaders and actors can play in sustainably addressing the impact of the crisis in Bangladesh.