Statement by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima at the UN Security Council Open Debate on “Upholding the United Nations Charter to maintain International Peace and Security”, 10 January 2020

Mr. President,

I congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council. I also congratulate the new members of the Council and express our deep appreciation to the outgoing members for their commendable work.

[Mr. President] Our Constitution mirrors the UN Charter in its unwavering commitment to international peace and security based on the principles of “respect for national sovereignty and equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, peaceful settlement of international disputes, and respect for international law”. In the words of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his maiden address to the UN: “The noble ideals enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations are the very ideals for which millions of our people have made the supreme sacrifice.”

It is from this steadfast commitment that Bangladesh continues to be a leading contributor to UN peacekeeping. The humanity and courageous leadership shown by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in hosting more than a million persecuted Rohingyas, which saved the region from potential destabilization, also stems from that abiding commitment.

[Mr. President] Rising from the devastation of the Second World War, the UN, guided by its Charter, was at the forefront of multilateral efforts leveraging global socio-economic development and promotion of human rights for achieving sustainable peace and addressing conflicts and violence. We have since moved on to a more complex world with new and unprecedented challenges endangering international peace and security.

The nature of conflicts and their consequences are far more unpredictable and colossal, compounded by asymmetric security threats coming from non-state actors and a new generation of threats in cyber space. Other emerging challenges, such as climate change, poverty and inequality, terrorism and violent extremism and human displacements, have also added new dimensions to traditional global threats.

Yet, [Mr. President] the Charter has withstood the test of time and shaped the rules-based international order we live in today. It remains the most powerful and only universally acceptable instrument before us. There is an urgency however, to move from words to an era of action. The ongoing system-wide UN reforms can be catalytic in ensuring more effective and result-driven actions. Greater involvement of the wider membership, especially the developing countries can also provide the much-needed impetus.

To that end, Bangladesh supports the UN’s renewed focus on prevention for ending and resolving conflicts. A culture of peace and non-violence can be an all-embracing driver. We must also leverage the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for addressing the drivers of conflict. The International Court of Justice, and other international legal bodies and tribunals can certainly play a more pivotal role in ensuring justice and ending the culture of impunity. There is an urgent need to bring to an end crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. We call upon the Security Council for a more decisive approach in this regard.

Mr. President, as the women, peace and security agenda turns twenty this year, we must ensure justice and gender equality through its implementation. To tap into the enormous strength of our young generation, the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda has to be pursued in a more effective way. We also need to build on the regional models of peacekeeping and peace-building.

[Mr. President] We are passing through a critical time when the very notion of multilateralism is in question. It is imperative now, perhaps more than ever before, for the entire UN membership to unite and engage to use the Charter in its true spirit, to address global realities, and the aspirations of current and future generations. We have to go for more innovative application of the Charter principles. And the Security Council has the primary responsibility in this regard safeguarding the interests of the greater humanity in peace and security. Bangladesh stands ready to do its part.

I thank you all.