Desk report, September 10: President M Abdul Hamid today sought OIC members’ intervention in protecting Myanmar’s ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims, saying repeated atrocities threatened their existence at home simultaneously exposing Bangladesh to great difficulty with burdens of huge number of hapless refugees.
“Bangladesh has given shelter to Rohingyas on a humanitarian ground,” he said while addressing the opening ceremony of the First Summit on Science and Technology of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the Palace of Independence at the Kazakhstan capital here.
He added: (But) I would like to draw your kind attention to the need for protection of the Rohingya Muslims, deprived of all rights, including citizenship, and faced with existential threat at repeated atrocities and displacements.”
The president said the Rohingya crisis “directly affected” Bangladesh as atrocities there forced the victims to flee their home in Myanmar’s Rakhine state while surges of refugees flooded territories in the neighbouring country.
President Hamid stressed the need for a collective effort to protect rights of this minority Muslim community in Myanmar.
The science summit drew the heads of nation and government of OIC nations to the Kazakh capital where the Bangladesh president also underscored the need for collective journey in Science and Technology to reach the Muslim world on a vantage ground of technology leadership in place of mere technology users.
The president said advancement of technology and innovation particularly in 21st century were rapidly transforming society bringing greater ease in work and communication, drastically reducing time and space barriers, and increasing speed and productivity.
He said nations with varying level and stages of advancement in technology are competing with each other to keep their technological edge and superiority simultaneously creating a technological divide.
“Disruptive innovations are leaving some behind and taking some ahead creating another division in the world,” president Hamid observed.
The Bangladesh president called for adopting a scientific view of life, to bring back the intellectual leadership in science which the Muslims once enjoyed through investment in pursuit of knowledge and exploration.
He urged OIC nations to engage in coordinated and dedicated research and development, applying new innovations in all areas of life and quickly adapting to technology to achieve to restore the leadership.
“I believe, our cooperation in science and technology would generate more synergy and dynamism for the Ummah and enhance the image and standing of the Muslims in the world,” the President.
He said the OIC nations simultaneously “must also involve, to our advantage, Muslim scientists, researchers, and innovators flourishing in the developed world for research and development and industrial collaboration”.
President Hamid said OIC member states needed partnership, platforms and mechanisms for dedicated projects on bilateral, joint and collective basis aiming to utilise the strengths and prospects in different areas.
He described science and technology as a “game changer in poverty alleviation and development” and proposed joint plans of action for selecting, using and tasking institutions in the member states in the field of research and development in collaboration with OIC institutional support.
In Bangladesh, he said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Vision – ‘Digital Bangladesh’, made enviable advancement in life sciences which was evident in the country’s emerging industry of pharmaceuticals and alternative medicine and high-tech industries like ocean-going shipbuilding.
President Hamid said Bangladesh also achieved a remarkable progress in agriculture with innovations of high-yield climate resilient crop varieties and decoding of jute and buffalo genomes, in space and satellite technology with project of launching Bangabandhu satellite, and in nuclear technology to meet health and clean energy needs.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al Othaimeen, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and some 20 Heads of the OIC states and governments, among others, addressed the Astana science summit.