STATEMENT BY MR TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF BANGLADESH AT THE THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE 74TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 03 October 2019)
Item 106 Crime prevention and criminal justice
Item 107 Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes
Item 108 International drug control
In today’s highly inter-dependent and inter-connected world, no country is immune from the opportunist and scrupulous transnational criminal networks who are apt at manipulating the global crime prevention and justice system. The Member States, therefore, need to remain vigilant in fighting against crimes such as trafficking in persons, money laundering, illegal trade and use of drugs and other psychotropic substances, arms, acts of terrorism and violent extremism. Bangladesh remains committed to making sincere and sustained efforts to combat and prevent these crimes and uphold justice. We are not only bringing our national legislation more in line with international convention and protocol but also strengthening their enforcement. In this context, a quote of our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s statement at the UNGA this year is very relevant: “Our stern actions against extremism, terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption has restored peace in the society and among people. We shall continue our actions”
With rise in conflict and violence worldwide, poor, marginalized and vulnerable people particularly women and children are increasingly falling prey to human traffickers. In view of our situation as a country of origin, transit and destination, our Prime Minister maintains a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to trafficking in persons. We have put in place a comprehensive legal framework and are implementing it strictly. Recently we acceded to the Palermo Protocol. This would further bolster our national efforts.
Bangladesh remains consistently engaged within the UN as well. We wish to strengthen the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT). Bangladesh has been actively supporting the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and has joined the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking meeting held during the recent high-level week. We noted SG’s report on UNODC’s technical cooperation extended to Bangladesh under a new four-year Global Action. We welcome the commendable role played by UNODC not only in trafficking prevention but also in International Drug Control Programs and Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice systems over the years. At the regional level, Bangladesh has been utilizing the SAARC, BIMSTEC platforms and participating regularly in the Bali Process to broaden and institutionalize counter-trafficking cooperation. Our delegation also looks forward to high-level participation at the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held in Kyoto, Japan in April 2020.
Drug trafficking and its related abuse poses significant socio-economic challenges for a country more so for Bangladesh, sitting in the drug production-transit-consumption route. In view of this, we have recently updated our Narcotics Control Act under which a convict could be meted out sentences of the highest order. Steps such as enforcement of such stringent laws, awareness building and youth engagements in productive activities are bearing us good results.
Bangladesh is committed to establish a corruption-free society. Our Prime Minister has taken a very strong stand in this regard. Our independent Anti-Corruption Commission enjoys broad support from the people in prosecuting offenses related to corruption under the law of the land.
The spate of terrorist attacks remains as one of the most difficult challenges of our time. Bangladesh, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been maintaining a “zero tolerance” policy towards all forms of terrorism and extremism. We have taken stern actions to eliminate this threat from our society. Bangladesh also remains deeply engaged with counter-terrorism efforts at the UN.
Successful use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) is spurring our socio-economic development. However, increased connectivity is increasing the risk of cyber-attacks and other related crimes, which have become more sophisticated and pervasive. Bangladesh has put in place a number of acts, law and regulations to address these challenges. We have formed a National Digital Security Council and also a Digital Security Agency to oversee the enactment of the relevant law. We have a fully operational Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CIRT) which is collaborating with other CIRTs across the world.
A combination of strong political leadership, firm commitment, engaging networking and mutual partnership for stern and real time collective measures is the only way to effectively fight the ever-growing web of transnational organized crimes. It’s high time to put our acts together.
I thank you.