Since more than 90% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are linked to human rights, the approach for implementation of the 2030 agenda therefore must be human rights-based according to speakers of a programme in Dhaka.

The declaration of the 2030 agenda recognizes human rights as its foundation and underlines its grounding in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), said Md Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs), Prime Minister’s Office, while presenting the keynote paper. 

The International Conference on “Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights: Role of National Human Rights Institution” was held on 01 November 2018, organised by the National Human Rights Commission with support from the Human Rights Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at a hotel in Dhaka.

“Nine of the goals are directly based on human rights, while all the other eight are indirectly linked,” Azad said, adding that efforts from both the public and private sector need to be put together for achieving SDGs by 2030.

“Government has taken all-out measures to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to deliver desired progress in the field of economy, human rights and gender equality by 2030 and without leaving anyone behind,” he further said. 

Earlier, a message from Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was read out, where she urged all national and international human rights defenders, experts, development partners to work together to protect human rights and achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Speaking at the conference as the chief guest, Advocate Anisul Huq, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, highlighted the achievements made by the Government. “Bangladesh is going to be a middle-income country soon and is also recognized as a developing country by the United Nations. Government is keen to uphold human rights and has already taken several initiatives like the 7th five-year plan, which is in line with the SDGs.”

He further added, “The National Human Rights Commission plays a vital role to promote and protect human rights.”

Kazi Reazul Hoque, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, said, “The primary responsibility of respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights rest with the State. But all others including civil society, media and the business community play a key role both at the grassroots and at the national level in propagating human rights.

“In the recent years, the involvement of the business community in programmes of human rights is also being seen. National Human Rights Institutes are to promote and monitor progress under SDGs and continue advocating for the promotion and protection of human rights for all persons irrespective of their colour, caste, creed, gender or political opinion,” Hoque, who also chaired the conference, said. 

Charlotta Schlyter, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden in her remarks said, “No development is possible without maintaining human rights and sustainable development is only possible if fundamental human rights are respected."

Rene Holenstein, Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland said, "Human rights is an indispensable condition for SDGs."

"Let us stand up for human rights for all so that people are allowed to live with dignity, freedom, equality, justice and peace,” said Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director of UNDP Bangladesh.

Later plenary sessions were held on Sustainable Development Goals & Human Rights, Climate Change & Human Rights, Leveraging SDGs to Prevent & Combat Human Trafficking & Irregular Migration, interlink between SDGs, UPR- Concluding Observations & 7th Five-Year Plan, Role of Public & Private Sector in Promoting Sustainable & Inclusive Growth and Role of NHRIs in the Context of SDGs & Human Rights, where experts from different sectors participated.

Representatives of Human Rights Commission from Nepal, Philippines, and Malaysia were present in the conference.

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