Bangladesh PM receives Global Women’s Leadership Award

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina receives  the Global Women’s Leadership Award from Global Summit of Women President Irene Natividad in Sydney on Friday. (Photo/PID)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Bangladesh PM receives Global Women’s Leadership Award

  • Sheikh Hasina was awarded for leadership in women’s education and entrepreneurship
  • The premier was given the award by the president of the Global Summit of Women, Irene Natividad

DHAKA: Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received on Friday the Global Women’s Leadership Award in Sydney, Australia.

The US-based Global Summit of Women conferred the award on her for her leadership in women’s education and entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.

She received the award from summit President Irene Natividad at a gala dinner, in the presence of around 1,500 women leaders from across the world.

“We have to forge a new alliance to support women and uphold their rights,” Hasina said as she received the award to a standing ovation. 

“Together, we must act on our shared culture, tradition and values to benefit millions of women in need.”

Last year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was given the award. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and former UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova have also been among the recipients.

During her 10-year rule, Hasina has created opportunities for Bangladeshi women in the civil service, corporate, development and entrepreneurship sectors.  

But despite social development, violence against women and gender inequality remain key issues to be addressed.

“We need to ensure prompt justice against domestic violence and rape,” said Prof. Ishrat Shamim, president of the Center for Women and Children Studies in Dhaka. “It will make people aware and deter them from resorting to violence against women.”

Child marriage is also a huge concern among women’s rights activists in Bangladesh. Shamim said a minimum age for girls to get married should be set at 18. 

Currently, child marriage for girls is legal in many parts of the country under special circumstances.

“In Bangladesh, we’re experiencing a mixed situation in terms of women’s development,” Farah Kabir, country manager at Action Aid Bangladesh, told Arab News. 

“On the one hand, women are contributing to the development of society with much confidence, while on the other they’re facing violence both inside and outside the home.”

Hasina expressed her resolve to work with world leaders to overcome traditional gender stereotypes and reach out to marginalized and vulnerable women.

She stressed the need to address health hazards specific to women to enhance their productivity, and the need for equal opportunities for women in every walk of life.
 


Germany in push to resurrect talks with Taliban

Updated 26 May 2019
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Germany in push to resurrect talks with Taliban

  • Only the Afghans ‘can decide upon the future of their country’

KABUL, BERLIN: Germany, a leading donor and member of the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, has been talking with the Taliban and the Afghan government in an effort to restart peace talks to end 18 years of conflict, officials said.

While the Taliban have been talking with US officials since October about withdrawal of international troops, they have so far refused formal talks with the Western-backed government, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.

Berlin’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Markus Potzel, has visited Kabul for talks with the Afghan government and met Taliban officials in Doha at least twice this month.

“The current chance for a process toward a more peaceful Afghanistan should not be missed. If the friends of Afghanistan — and Germany is one of them — together can help in this effort, then we should do it,” Potzel said.

“In the end, only the Afghans themselves, including the Taliban, can decide upon the future of their country.”

The chief US negotiator in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in March said that a draft agreement had been reached on a withdrawal of US forces in exchange for a commitment by the Taliban to cut ties with militant groups such as Al-Qaeda.

But there has been no agreement yet on a cease-fire or a start to talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, both seen as key conditions for a settlement.

An Afghan delegation had been due to meet Taliban officials in the Qatari capital Doha last month to build the basis for possible negotiations, but the meeting was canceled at the last minute after a dispute over the number of participants.

FASTFACT

 

● At least 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed in the war last year. ● 14,000 US troops are still stationed in Afghanistan.

“We realize that US-Taliban talks will gain momentum only if the insurgent leaders start engaging with the Afghan representatives,” a senior German official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sohail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, said that Germany was one among several countries to have offered help to seek a peaceful resolution. 

The EU and Indonesia are among those to have offered help, another Taliban official said, declining to be named.

Discussions were held with Germany about an Afghan-Taliban meeting in Germany but no decision has been made, Shaheen told Reuters.

 

Captives subjected to abuse

Afghan captives held by the Taliban have been subjected to abuse, ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture, the UN said on Sunday.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it interviewed 13 detainees from a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban, mainly members of Afghan forces but also civilians and government officials captured by the insurgents.

The group was freed on April 25 when Afghan troops raided a Taliban-run detention facility in the Khas Uruzgan district in southern Uruzgan province.

Most of the captives were held since 2018, with three since 2016, the UNAMA statement said, adding they were kept in poor conditions and subjected to forced labor. It cites the detainees as saying that the Taliban killed some of their captives.

“I am gravely concerned about these serious allegations of ill-treatment, torture and unlawful killing of civilians and security personnel, as well as the deplorable conditions of detention,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of UNAMA.

The detainees were shackled while in captivity and almost all said they were beaten. The Taliban told them it was punishment for supporting the government, working with the Americans or fighting the insurgents.