Bangladesh Urges Global Action on Culture of Peace in Digital Era
The Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith, has highlighted the significance of nurturing a culture of peace amidst the challenges faced in today’s digital era. Speaking at the High-Level Forum on Culture of Peace held at the UN Headquarters, Ambassador Muhith emphasized that peace is vital for the survival of humanity, as stated by the country’s founding father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in his maiden speech at the UN in 1974.
The forum also featured a panel discussion chaired by Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani of Qatar. The discussion, themed Promoting Culture of Peace in the Digital Era, witnessed the participation of member states, observers, and representatives from civil society. Expert speakers, including the Secretary General’s Tech Envoy, the Rector of the University for Peace, and a representative from Google, shared their insights during the panel discussion.
Applauding Bangladesh’s leadership in the promotion of a culture of peace, the President of the UN General Assembly emphasized the need to foster an inclusive online space that encourages respect and tolerance. This involves combating online hate speech and discrimination while addressing the risks associated with the misuse of new technologies. The President stressed that achieving success in nurturing a culture of peace in the digital age relies on robust multilateral cooperation.
Ambassador Muhith, in his opening session statement, expressed his belief in leveraging the power of digital media to raise global awareness about peace by disseminating factual information and encouraging healthy debates on contemporary issues. He acknowledged the benefits and challenges posed by digital technologies. While they have provided unprecedented access to knowledge and opportunities, they have also amplified mis and disinformation, hate speech, and divisive narratives, including the emergence of deep-fakes.
The Ambassador highlighted the Rohingya exodus from Myanmar in 2017 as a tragic example of how communal and xenophobic hatred against a particular population can be exacerbated through digital platforms. He emphasized the importance of careful navigation in the digital landscape, especially for young individuals, to avoid jeopardizing the harmony we strive to achieve.
Addressing the digital divide and its detrimental impact on peace efforts, Ambassador Muhith stressed the need to ensure equitable access to technology and promote digital literacy. He called for the empowerment of individuals and communities to utilize digital platforms and technologies such as Artificial Intelligence for sustainable development and peace. Furthermore, he raised concerns about the unique challenges faced by women and girls online, urging the establishment of a safe and accessible digital platform for all to rectify the gender digital divide.
Ambassador Muhith concluded his remarks by urging the international community to harness technological advancements for peace-building while remaining vigilant against potential misuse in the digital realm. The forum witnessed the participation of numerous member states, UN representatives, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society members, with all participants commending Bangladesh’s enduring leadership in promoting a Culture of Peace.
In a world where digital platforms play a crucial role in shaping global conversations, it is essential to prioritize the cultivation of a culture of peace online. Bangladesh’s call for global action resonates with the need to counter hate speech, discrimination, and divisive narratives while promoting respect, tolerance, and inclusivity. By leveraging digital media’s power responsibly, raising awareness, and advocating for equitable access to technology, we can stride towards a more peaceful and harmonious digital era.