Dhaka, Bangladesh
The UN and humanity

Editorial

The UN and humanity

The 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly has begun in its headquarters in New York. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is representing Bangladesh in the ongoing UNGA session. Today the global forum faces grave challenges. The world is in trouble. People are hurting and angry. They see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing. The global economy is increasingly integrated, but our sense of global community may be disintegrating. Societies are fragmented. Political discourse is polarized. Trust within and among countries is being driven down by those who demonize and divide. Today, the world is in pieces. But we need to be a world at peace. And Bangladesh strongly believes that, together, we can build peace. We can restore trust and create a better world for all. The use of nuclear weapons should be unthinkable. Even the threat of their use can never be condoned. But today global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the end of the Cold War. The fear is not abstract. Millions of people live under a shadow of dread cast by the provocative nuclear and missile tests of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Within the DPRK itself, such tests do nothing to ease the plight of those who are suffering hunger and severe violations of their human rights. Then there is the global threat of terrorism. Nothing justifies terrorism — no cause, no grievance. Terrorism continues to take a rising toll of death and devastation. It is destroying societies, destabilizing regions and diverting energy from more productive pursuits. National and multilateral counter-terrorism efforts have disrupted networks, reclaimed territory, prevented attacks and saved lives. But it is not enough to fight terrorists on the battlefield or to deny them funds. We must do more to address the roots of radicalization, including real and perceived injustices and high levels of unemployment and grievance among young people. Political, religious and community leaders have a duty to stand up against hatred and serve as models of tolerance and moderation. The world is all shocked by the dramatic escalation of sectarian tensions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. A vicious cycle of persecution, discrimination, radicalization and violent repression has led more than 400,000 desperate people to flee, putting regional stability at risk. The authorities in Myanmar must end the military operations, and allow unhindered humanitarian access. They must also address the grievances of the Rohingya, whose status has been left unresolved for far too long. No one is winning today’s wars. From Syria to Yemen, from South Sudan to the Sahel, Afghanistan and elsewhere, only political solutions can bring peace. We should have no illusions. We will not be able to eradicate terrorism if we do not resolve the conflicts that are creating the disorder within which violent extremists flourish. Climate change has put our hopes in jeopardy. Last year was the hottest ever. The past decade has been the hottest on record. Average global temperature keeps climbing, glaciers are receding and permafrost is declining. Millions of people and trillions of assets are at risk from rising seas and other climate disruptions. The number of natural disasters has quadrupled since 1970. The United States, followed by China, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia, have experienced the most disasters since 1995 – more than 1600, or once every five days. We should not link any single weather event with climate change. But scientists are clear that such extreme weather is precisely what their models predict will be the new normal of a warming world.

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