Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to first congratulate Romania for assuming the Presidency of the Community of Democracies.
I thank His Excellency Mr Bogdan Aurescu, the Foreign Minister of Romania for inviting Bangladesh to join the 10th Ministerial Conference as an observer.
Democracy is one of the fundamental principles of our state policy. Our very existence as a nation is founded on our long struggle for democracy, justice and rule of law, fought under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Although democratic rule was interrupted in Bangladesh by unconstitutional governments, it is our unabiding faith in democracy that made our people reject successive autocratic regimes and restore a functioning parliamentary democracy through free, fair and impartial elections.
This was fought arduously by our current Prime Minister Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, who stated and I quote, only democracy and freedom can empower people, ensure progress, development and social justice.
It was during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership that Bangladesh joined the inaugural Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in 2000 and endorsed the ‘Warsaw Declaration.’
The theme of the 10th Ministerial Conference “Democracy & resilience: Shared Goals” is indeed very timely.
Despite efforts of the international community to strengthen democracy and the rule of law globally, we have seen reverse trends, an alarming rise in populism and blatant disregard for fundamental principles of democracy and rule of law. The onslaught of the pandemic has made things worse. Inequalities among and with societies have increased leading to mistrust and grievances.
It is now more important than ever to re-establish the principles of democracy by strengthening the values of equality and non-discrimination and reinforcing resilience and inclusion.
Allow me to share some thoughts:
First: A democratic society is a proud product of enlightened education and continuous investment by all stakeholders in developing value and recognition for the rights of its people. Ensuring inclusivity is fundamental in in this regard.
Second: We need to continuously invest in building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to enhance the transparency, accountability and responsiveness of all State organs.
Third: Democracy and development goes hand in hand. In this regard achieving sustainable goals is of utmost importance. We must ensure equal opportunities for all and help them unleash their full potential and contribute in a democratic society.
Fourth: We must break the culture of impunity and establish rule of law to create trust in a society. In this regard, greater responsibility lies with international community to ensure rule of law at the global level, including by fortifying multilateralism and principles of UN Charter.
Finally: We must focus on increased collaboration at regional, subregional and international level to promote democratic principles by sharing best practices and example.
Bangladesh remains steadfast to continue to uphold the values of democracy, pluralism and rule of law as it continues its journey towards achieving Vision 2041. We also remain ready to engage with and support others in fulfilling their democratic aspirations, especially the countries in transition.
I thank you all.