Geneva, March 22 (OurVoice): A Conference titled on “Countering Violent Extremism: European Context and the Bangladeshi Diaspora” and its impact and policy options to defend secularism and democracy was held on Thursday at The Palais des Nations, UN, Geneva.
The key objective of the Geneva conference was to uphold secularism to counter violent terrorism and rise of extremism in the name of religion across the globe including Bangladesh. The Geneva conference discussed the role of the government and the civil society that might help formulate Action Programmes. The conference brought together secular forces, activists, think tanks, politicians both national and European, journalists and created strong public opinion in favor of the secular forces and against the violent extremist groups.
Speakers focused the rise of violent extremism and militancy not only in Bangladesh, but also in the region and the globe. They pointed their fingers at Jamat-e-Islami and other religion-based groups in radicalization of youth both at home and abroad. Different countries from the middle east are also involved in financing these radical elements and organizations to destroy secularism. Speakers called secular groups to be united and fight against the rise of terrorism across the globe including Bangladesh.
Vice President of European Bangladesh Forum Bikash Chowdhury Barua presented welcome address. Presided over by Jakob de Jong, Director of The Hague Peace, from the Netherlands, the key-note speeches were presented by Dr. Siegfried O. Wolf, Director of Research of South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), from Belgium, Nicola Spafford Furey, Vice President of Earth Focus Foundation, from Switzerland, Prof Dr. Willem van der Geest, Chief Economist and former Director at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, Dr. Shammi Ahmed, former Senior Advisor at International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Asia -Pacific Zone.
EBF President Ansar Ahmed Ullah read out the written statement of UN Special Rapporteur, OHCHR in Geneva Karima Bennoune and summed up the discussion and presented concluding remarks. In her statement Bennoune said, ‘around the world, at the heart of the fundamentalist and extremist paradigms are rejections of equality and of the universality of human rights, making unwavering defence of these principles the touchstone of the human rights response. When States undermine universality, they aid and abet extremism’.
The event was organised by the European Bangladesh Forum (EBF), a platform of Bangladeshi diaspora in Europe as a follow up event from the previous conference held in July 2017 at the European Press Club in Brussels.
Among others, the Editor and Chief Executive Officer of Ekattor Television Samia Zaman, Chief Executive Officer of Health-Tech Foundation Dr Bidduth Barua, Exiled Chairman of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), Geneva Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Coordinator of Brussels Dhaka Solidarity for Peace Committee BDSPC M M Murshed, President of Baloch Voice Association Munir Mengal and Human Rights Activist and Journalist Nasir Aziz Khan addressed the occasion.
EBF Country Coordinator in Switzerland Khalilur Rahman delivered vote of thanks.