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UN General Assembly head urges equitable distribution of vaccines

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DHAKA, Bangladesh – A top UN representative visiting Bangladesh has called on the international community to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the world.

“No one is safe until all are safe, and vaccines are the solution to this crisis,” Volkan Bozkir, the Turkish diplomat now serving as president of the UN General Assembly, told reporters after a meeting with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday.

Describing the situation of countries unable to make Covid-19 vaccines locally as “very difficult,” he said the most crucial vaccines of the time must be distributed to all countries immediately.

Referring to the pandemic situation in his country, Turkey – now developing local vaccines – as “also difficult,” he promised to work on all platforms, including the UN, to ensure that people all over the world can be inoculated without any discrimination.

Citing to a speech by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bozkir added: “Vaccines should be the property of the people.”

“We’ll make every effort. We’ll push all countries,” he said, urging the international community to work together to combat the virus.

Rohingya

Momen praised Bozkir’s role in the UN against the recent aggression and attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israeli occupying forces.

Makati City Pabakuna

Momen also sought his cooperation in solving the Rohingya crisis and making arrangements for a peaceful and dignified repatriation of the persecuted people to their homeland of Rakhine state in western Myanmar.

Bangladesh is currently the home to 1.2 million Rohingya, most of whom fled a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine State in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces while more than 34,000 were thrown into fires, over 114,000 others beaten, as many as 18,000 women and girls raped, and over 115,000 homes burned down, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

Bozkir applauded Bangladesh for its hospitality and sheltering of more than 1 million Rohingya for years.

He also said that on Wednesday he will meet the refugees at their camps in the southern district of Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, before traveling to Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, Bozkir called on Hasina, who expressed concern about the Rohingya’s peaceful repatriation to Myanmar amid a wave of violence after the Feb. 1 military coup there.

Hasina urged the international community, including the UN, to play a more effective and conducive role in resolving the Rohingya crisis by allowing the persecuted people to return to their original place of birth. (Anadolu)