Yemeni Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman attended a day-long symposium at the Raddison Blu Chittagong Bay View Hotel in Chattogram.
On its 10th anniversary, the Asian University for Women (AUW) organized the symposium titled “From Survival to Sustainable Development: Overcoming Challenges for Achieving a Just World” on Friday.
She said: “I was here two months ago with my fellow Nobel laureates Mairead Maguire and Shirin Ebadi. What we witnessed at the refugee camps is much grim than what the media tells us.
“Over 100 women told us how their parents or children were slaughtered in front of their eyes. Since last year, over 800,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar to take shelter in Bangladesh. The past decade has seen over three million people displaced by the genocide and threat of it.”
The symposium was jointly chaired by Kamal Ahmed and Prof Nirmala Rao, founder and vice-chancellor respectively of the AUW.
Tawakkol stressed that war, genocide, racism, hatred are a result of international institutions not acting accordingly in time.
Referring to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), she said: “These great 17 goals should be implemented. The international organizations should put in a great effort to make it happen, to force the rich countries to finance it.
“It is a duty both for the rich and the poor countries to make a good partnership to make it happen. This will make the planet a better place to live for everyone,” she added.
Narrating the bleak scenario of her country, the Nobel laureate said that the people of Yemen suffered, sacrificed and struggled for peace, democracy and justice.
“In Syria, more than 500000 people were killed just because they craved for freedom. In Yemen, the people are paying a great price for freedom, justice and democracy.
“We know that millions of people have been rendered refugees and they are under fire of tyranny and terrorism. Tyranny and terrorism are two sides of the same coin and both are our enemies. Every dictator is a terrorist and every terrorist is a dictator. Both of them feed and protect each other,” she said.
Referring to the alumni of the AUW, she said: “The future is for the women present here.”
She called upon the students to be first in line to help people and fight corruption, tyranny, and poverty.