Tamil diaspora still against Lankan stability: Peiris, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), 6 August 20126 August, 2012
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DHAKA, Aug 6 (BSS) - Visiting Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Professor G L Peiris today claimed that Tamil Diasporas are still 'rigid' against present stability of Sri Lanka even after end of 26 years of military conflict in the South Asian nation.
"During the conflict, there were also fear on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) among the Tamils living inside Sri Lanka," he said while presenting a paper titled 'Equity, Opportunity and Empowerment, A South Asian Perspective' in the capital.
Professor Peiris claimed that more Tamil political leaders have been killed than the Sinhalese leaders by LTTE during the conflicts.
From 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the Sri Lankan government by the LTTE (also known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organisation which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end.
The Sri Lankan minister said the main reason behind the conflict between Tamil and Sinhalese was cultural gap between the two races, not the economic disparity.
Professor Peiris said Sri Lanka has been able to maintain eight percent of its economic growth after the conflict. "Our army is still involved in rehabilitation works like construction of houses and markets at the conflict torn areas," he said.
Presently the major income generating source of Sri Lankan economy is tourism as the sector has been flourished tremendously after establishment of peace, he said.
Bangladesh Institution of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Bangladesh Enterprises Institute (BEI) jointly organized the discussion at BIISS auditorium here.
Prime Minister's Advisor Professor Dr Gowher Rizvi moderated the discussion that was also addressed by BIISS Director General Major General Muhammad Imrul Quayes and BEI President Farooq Sobhan.
Professor Rizvi said a level playing field must be created in the society for ensuring equity among its inhabitants.
"Society should be merit based and we believe in merit, but unfortunately we are failing to provide opportunity of equity to our people," he said.
Link CSR to environment, workers welfare and good governance, The Independent, 16 July 201216 July, 2012
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CSR experts Sunday said business organisations should focus on the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a policy to link core business strategies to the environment, human rights, workers’ welfare and good governance issues. They made the comments at the launching ceremony of a report named “Report on CSR in Bangladesh: Practicing Responsible Business for Mutual Benefits” at the conference room of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) in the city. CSR Centre, a non-profit organisation, based on its working experience published the report on CSR aiming to inspiring the private sector to expand their CSR activities and responsible business practices in ways that create business benefit and contribute to overall national development.
William Hanna, ambassador and head of delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh, attended the launching ceremony as the chief guest while Saleemul Huq, senior fellow of International Institute for Environment and Development, SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, and Ragne Birte Lund, ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka, among others, were present as special guests.
Farooq Sobhan, chairman of the Board of Trustee of CSR Centre and also president of BEI, presided over the event and Shahamin S Zaman, chief executive officer of CSR Centre, presented the overview of the published report.
Shahamin said, “At present, global businesses set their own standards to make them competitive in their sectoral markets by implementing strong CSR strategy, which is linked with their core business objective.” “This helps a corporate house make greater profit and also enhance brand image leading to a sustainable growth,” she added. She also gave importance on moving out of the traditional approach of equating philanthropy with CSR and said far-reaching education and awareness programmes are needed to create a common understanding of CSR across sectors and geographies.
The report finds out that among CSR’s four dimensions - society, economy, environment and business - social CSR activities are most prevalent among the companies in the country, she said.
“On the other hand, only one-third of the companies interviewed specifically mentioned economic CSR activities such as creating employment opportunities,” said Shahmin.
Chairman of CSR Centre Board of Trustees Farooq Sobhan said, “CSR activities exceed philanthropy…it begins from in-house and goes on through engaging different stakeholders such as employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and communities.”
Head of the European Union delegation to Bangladesh William Hanna said the world have now been focusing on incorporating ethical considerations in the CSR because of people’s loss of confidence on businesses and financial institutions following the economic meltdown in most of the European countries.
Stressing on integrating the human rights issue in CSR strategies in the developing world, he said and added that European Union countries are increasingly putting together an ethical approach in their foreign policies that stress on human rights.
Holistic approach to combating terrorism stressed, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), 13 June 201213 June, 2012
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DHAKA, June 13 (BSS) - Speakers at a conference here today stressed the need for a holistic approach to counter terrorism in an effective way.
A holistic approach should be worked out to combat terrorism keeping all possible aspects in mind including root causes and nature of terrorism, enforcement of laws, terror financing, capacity building, overall development of the people, participation of all stake holders including commoners and regional and global co-operation, speakers said while discussing counter-terrorism at an "International Conference on People's Empowerment Model" at CIRDAP auditorium.
Ambassador Farooq Sobhan presented a keynote paper on Counter-terrorism at the conference.
With CQK Mustaq Ahmed, Senior Secretary of Home Ministry in the chair, it was addressed, among others, by Lt Gen Abdul Wadud, Dr Kamaluddin Ahmed, Additional Secretary of Home Ministry, and Professor Amena Mohsin of International Relations Department,
University of Dhaka.
It is necessary to formulate a pro-people strategy to counter terrorism with participation of all, as without people's participation it will be a push strategy, the speakers said.
Describing terrorism as a threat to national and international peace and security, they said, a comprehensive set of measures of all the nations is necessary in fighting terrorism, as it is impossible for a country to combat terrorism alone as it has no border.
All the speakers welcomed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's peace model based on people's empowerment under a multidimensional democratic approaches with six mutually reinforcing multipliers: eradication of poverty and hunger, reduction of inequality, mitigation of deprivation, inclusion of excluded people, acceleration of human development and elimination of terrorism.
The model was introduced in the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September last.
In the keynote paper, Ambassador Farooq Sobhan said, Bangladesh during the past three years has been strengthening its democratic institutions, like the commissions for Election, Atnti-Corruption, Human Rights, Information, as well as the Judiciary, Legislature and law enforcement agencies as these are the key institutions for eliminating terrorism and extremism.
For taking such strong counter terrorism measures and adopting 'zero tolerance policy' towards terrorism, Bangladesh has not experienced any act of terrorism since the Awami League government came to power in January 2009, he said.
All governments, under the framework of the United Nations, should cooperate to conclude a comprehensive convention against international terrorism, he added.
Chambers can promote business through CSR, The Independent, 16 March 201216 March, 2012
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Farooq Sobhan, chairman , CSR Centre on Thursday said chambers can promote business through corporate social responsibility (CSR), by showing them ways to promote and sustain their business. Farooq Sobhan observed said this at a workshop on “Market development and climate change nurturing for sustainable profits,” jointly organized by CSR Centre and VSO at Spectra convention centre in the city on Thursday.
Climate change, he said, is an important issue for Bangladesh and respecting the relevant laws of the land and taking proactive measures to reduce the negative business environmental impact, the private sector can support the government in safeguarding the natural environment of the land.
He said, “A healthy business needs a healthy community and at the same time a healthy community needs healthy business.” he said, adding, CSR does not mean just donating money or helping out charitable endeavours, it encourages companies to take care of their employees, customers and share holders in respect to human rights.
Farooq Sobhan who is also president, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) expressed his hope that Dhaka Chamber which got ISO9001 certification may motivate its members to go for this voluntary standard and thus, improve their operational efficiency and management quality.
Dr. Khondkoker Mokaddem Hossain, Director, disaster and vulnerability studies of Dhaka University, presented the key note paper at the function.
Ms. Nasreen Awal Mintoo, founder president, Women Entrepreneur Association of Bangladesh (WEAB), Maj. Gen. (retd) Amjad Khan Chowdhury, president, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Arild Klokkerhaug, president, Noridic Chambers of Commerce (NCC), Ms. Vina Khaleq, country director, Practical Action, Ms. Shahana Hayat, country director, VSO and Ms. Shahamin S. Zaman, CEO, CSR centre and Dr. Mahfuzul Haque of Dhaka University also spoke.
US keen to see Bangladesh as alternative to extremism, The Independent, 16 January 201216 January, 2012
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DHAKA, JAN 16: The US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan W. Mozena, said on Monday that his country is keen to put forward Bangladesh as a moderate, tolerant, free and democratic alternative to violent extremism. He was addressing a three-day regional conference - “Countering violent extremism through strategic communi-cation” - jointly organised by the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and the Centre for Civil Military Relations (CCMR) of the USA at a city hotel.
Mozena said: “America promotes a peaceful, secure, prosperous, healthy and democratic Bangladesh to the world. Terrorism has become an individual as well as a collective threat to nations. It has become an impediment towards building a moderate, tolerant, prosperous and free society respecting the rights of citizens. Such societies would encourage each citizen to realise his/her own potentials and provide a better future for children.”
Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, security adviser to the Prime Minister, attended the function as the chief guest, while the president of the BEI, Farooq Sobhan, chaired the entire event.
Representatives from Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri lanka and Thailand are attending the three-day conference.
Mozena said the USA’s financial aid to Bangladesh, worth about USD 182 million this year, intends to turn Bangladesh into a model nation. “As our partnership strengthens, I believe Bangladesh will become less hospitable to the preachers of hate and intolerance.” Strategic communication works best when it shares hope with the country’s people, he added.
”If we believe in a free, open and tolerant society, we must fight to defend our values,” he asserted. He observed that terrorists must be prevented from sowing the seeds of hatred and intolerance in the country’s soil, and described hope as the key to countering radical extremism.
Mozena praised Bangladesh for reducing fertility rate, maternal mortality rate and child mortality rate. He said the country is ready to combat diseases like cholera, AIDS and TB. He also lauded Bangladesh’s disaster preparedness.
Major General (retd) Siddique said the root causes of extremism should be addressed. The government would show zero tolerance to extremism, he remarked. Some Islamic parties, including NGOs, have made significant amount of investment in different sectors like banking, insurance, media and education. Profits earned from such investments are being used to communicate and propagate Islamic radicalism, he added.
He rued that many students often fall prey to radical Islamic groups owing to the faulty education system prevailing in madrasas. The government has enacted the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2009, to strengthen its fight against terrorism, and the Money Laundering Act, 2009, to stop financing terrorists groups. He said the government has undertaken a programme to reform madrasa education. The Imams would be told to motivate people.
He noted that four extremist organisations have already been banned in the country.
Farooq Sobhan observed that preventive measures can help curb extremism.
Dr Paul Clarke stressed the need for an integrated approach to face the challenges of extremism. He said South Asian nations need to adopt a more holistic approach in their counter-terrorism strategy to fight the growth of extremism.