Statement by H.E. Dr. A K Abdul Momen
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the
Plenary of the Sixth Committee of the 67th UNGA on “Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission” [agenda item 76]
New York, October 15, 2012
My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Iran on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement. We thank the Secretary General for his annual report on Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (A/67/213).
The agenda item, entitled, Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission is increasingly gaining importance in the plenary of 6th committee because of changed world scenario-increase of conflict and enhanced engagement of the United Nations in peacekeeping operations and peace building activities. In this regard we hope that the full implementation of GA resolutions, i.e 62/63, 63/119, 64/110, 65/20 and 66/93 by all the UN member states would contribute in ensuring criminal accountability of UN officials.
We welcome the decision to form a working group of the Sixth Committee following the report of the Group of Legal Experts, in particular its legal aspects, in light of resolutions 62/63 and 63/119.
It is our belief that training, awareness-raising activities and preventive measures at the mission level are critically important in all UN field missions to prevent misconduct and sexual exploitation and abuse. We hope that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support would continue to implement the three-pronged strategy of the United Nations to address misconduct, in particular sexual exploitation and abuse, through preventive measures, the enforcement of United Nations standards of conduct and remedial action.
We are pleased at the activities of the sixth committee under this agenda item. The GA resolution 62/214 which provides a comprehensive strategy on assistance and support to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by the UN officials and related personnel could guide us positively in those endeavors. This strategy, inter alia, is expected not only to alleviate the suffering of the victims of abuse and sexual exploitation but also to offer medical and social support and legal services.
Bangladesh greatly values the contributions and sacrifices made by the UN peacekeepers. Being one of the top troop contributors to UN Peacekeeping operations, the government of Bangladesh always maintains a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in addressing all cases of abuse and sexual exploitation committed by peacekeeping personnel. This is in line with her general commitment to ensure a better universe for the mankind. We firmly believe that all UN peacekeeping personnel should perform their duties in a manner that preserves the integrity, the image, the trust and credibility of the United Nations.
According to domestic law of Bangladesh, where Bangladesh Defence Force and Police personnel serve as United Nations officials or experts on mission, they are subject to a system of military or Police discipline, thereby ensuring accountability at all times. In fact, the members of defence force in Bangladesh are governed by two sets of law, one is ‘the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898’ and the other is, ‘Manual of Bangladesh Military Law (MBML)’. Apart from the above, all crimes under Bangladesh law committed by Bangladesh civil servants and Bangladesh Police Force in foreign countries are also punishable. Therefore, all military or civilian UN peacekeeping personnel involved in suspected sexual exploitation and abuse cases are to be reported to the competent authorities and investigated in accordance with Bangladesh law.
Finally, Bangladesh is committed to take all appropriate measures to ensure that crimes by United Nations officials and experts on mission do not go unpunished and that the perpetrators of such crimes are brought to justice, without prejudice to the privileges and immunities of such persons and the United Nations under international law, and in accordance with international human rights standards, including due process.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.