Covid-19 Response

‘Bangladesh follows policy of equality’

Diplomatic Correspondent

21 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh Permanent Representative to UN Rabab Fatima at a special meeting has said the Covid-19 response in Bangladesh is being guided by its state policy of equality and social justice. 

Referring to the commitment of Bangladesh to equality and social justice, she highlighted various aspects of Bangladesh’s Covid-19 recovery plan, which has placed the most vulnerable section of the society at the centre.

Rabab Fatima made the remarks at the High-level Special Meeting titled ‘Reimagining Equality: Eliminating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination for All in the Decade of Action of SDGs’ organised virtually by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Thursday.

In addition to 19 stimulus packages that account for 3.7 percent of our GDP, the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has scaled up resilient social protection systems with a focus on women, the ultra-poor, informal settlement dwellers, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations, she said. 

The Bangladesh envoy to the UN said the migrant workers particularly are in precarious situation in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis and it is a manifestation of the inequalities and discrimination that prevail in our societies.

“We need to create employment and other opportunities for people who are left behind,” she said.

Ambassador Fatima stated that coronavirus pandemic has shaken all aspects of human society, which is manifested in the growing economic vulnerabilities, as well as in the rise in racism, xenophobia and hate speech all over the world.

 “Hence, we must deal with the issue in a holistic manner in order to achieve our goal of leaving no one behind,” she added.

The Bangladesh envoy emphasized that to address the rising racism and other forms of discrimination, the international community needs to invest in a just and equal health system both at the national and the global level.

“… and that can start with universal access to vaccines, for everyone, irrespective of race, status or nationality,” she stated.

She urged all stakeholders to address the underlying root causes of inequalities, including poverty, violence, discrimination and exclusion, as well as lack of education and employment, through the sincere and concerted efforts.

Rabab Fatima also highlighted the importance of education, which creates opportunities and help people break the cycle of racism. In this regard, she called for greater attention to the issue of existing digital divide that is keeping many children away from learning during the pandemic.

Ambassador Fatima stated that social vices like racism cannot be eliminated without addressing gender inequality, which is entrenched in the social norms.

Echoing the call of the Secretary General to build a new social contract, founded on inclusivity and sustainability, she said “We need a new paradigm in our collaborative efforts to address the multidimensional nature of inequality that exists in our society.”

The meeting was participated by ministers and other high-level dignitaries from member states as well as representative from civil society, academia and media.