STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. MASUD BIN MOMEN, AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF BANGLAESH TO THE UN ON AGENDA ITEM 110: INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL, 4 OCTOBER 2018
Mr. Chair, Drug problem is a transnational and multi-dimensional phenomenon. It’s experience may vary from country to country but at the end the suffering is local which effects our own people. As the 2018 World Drug Report alarmingly highlights, globally we are seeing trends of increased addiction and significant loss of life due to use of deadly drugs mainly the synthetic ones. No country, developed or developing, is immune from this scourge. We therefore, need to move together in our collective fight against drugs.
Drug problem is a threat to our society; it impedes our developmental trajectory towards a sustainable future; it undermines our efforts to build a heathy and productive society particularly by affecting our children and youth. Since Bangladesh is on track of utilizing the demographic dividends of its huge youth population, our stakes are even higher. We simply cannot allow the drugs and related crimes take away our hard-earned developmental gains. We shall not allow drugs to spoil the future of our young generation.
While Bangladesh has all along been fighting to contain the drug problem, we have further strengthened our resolve and initiatives in the recent times. The Government of Bangladesh is on high alert and showing ‘zero tolerance’ to the menace. Those involved in this crime are dealt with severely. The message is clear- as our Hon’ble Prime Minister said, “We’ve contained (Islamist) militancy, now we’ve taken an initiative to save the country from this drug menace.” Addressing drug problem is getting particularly difficult due to the continuously changing nature of drugs and ingenuity of smuggling tactics. In addition to the traditional narcotic substances, the huge quantity of Ya Ba pills, containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine, entering the country from Myanmar and other South East Asian sources are creating great concern for the government, law enforcers and healthcare providers alike as it is taking heavy toll over the young generation. We, therefore, continue to remain vigil and fight against drug and other narcotic substances and their smugglers in a sustained manner till they are eradicated. We have also embarked on a ‘whole-of-society approach; continuously devising new strategies and responses such as anti-drug awareness campaigns, arranging treatment, rehabilitation and extending other assistance to the victims in our efforts to counter the menace.
Mr. Chair, There are trans-national organized groups behind the illicit and inhumane trade of drugs. Due to its cross-border nature, we need to address the drug problem with the help of other countries and hence have adopted multi-pronged approaches. Bangladesh has bilateral instruments and border cooperation with neighbouring countries. Joint border patrol, coordination meetings, information and intelligence sharing take place regularly between the border guard forces which are producing good results. In addition to these, we maintain close liaison with INTERPOL. On the regional plane, we cooperate with member states under sub-regional and regional initiatives on drug control measures such as under the SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. We are also relying on international cooperation, particularly at the United Nations. On September 24th at the UNHQ, we joined the US-led Global Call to Action on World Drug Problem. In the meeting chaired by the President of the United States, our Prime Minister joined the world leaders underscoring the global unity needed to combat the scourge of illicit drugs. We also support the outcome of the UN General Assembly’s 2016 Special Session on the World Drug Problem and the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action. We appreciate the role of UNODC as the leading entity in the United Nations system for addressing the world drug problem and coordinating with other UN entities on the matter leading upto the ministerial segment of the Commission in 2019.
Our pledge to make this world a beautiful and livable place for our future generations will remain a far cry unless we are able to effectively fight, control and move towards eliminating the scourge of drugs. With concerted efforts, strong political commitment and effective partnership, this is very much achievable. Let us make that happen.
I thank you.