Statement of Ambassador Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the Fourth Committee Joint General Debate, 15 October 2020

Mr. Chair,

I warmly congratulate you and the members of your Bureau on your election.

Bangladesh aligns with the statements of NAM and the Group-77 and China.

Mr. Chair,

I would briefly touch upon the agenda items of our interest. Let me begin with agenda item 51, on the peaceful use of outer space.

I express my sincere appreciation to the Chair of the Committee on Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS) for his statement in this Committee. We take note of the Committee’s ongoing work in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic. We welcome the adoption by the Committee of the preamble and 21 guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including by fostering the safety of space operations.

We also appreciate the Committee’s work in developing “Space 2030” agenda. In this regard we thank the Committee’s special attention to the particular needs of developing countries.

Bangladesh has already launched its first communications satellite Bangabandhu-I into space. In order to further increase our capabilities in space technology and applications, we have recently applied for membership to the COPUOS. We request the members of the COPUOS to support our application.

Mr. Chair

Let me now turn to agenda item 52.

I would like to thank USG Lazzarini for his briefing to the Committee. We deeply appreciate the Agency’s continued work despite the pandemic. Their efforts to reach out the Palestinian refugees with tele-medicine, emergency food & medicine and distant learning have proved critical during the pandemic.

We however, remain extremely concerned with the perennial funding constraint of UNRWA, which has become more acute during this Covid-19 crisis. We fully agree with USG Lazzarini that such an environment of unpredictability and uncertainty leads to despair, and despair is indeed a threat to peace and stability. We call upon the international community to come up with generous and predictable funding, and technical assistance to enable UNRWA continue its work which is a lifeline for the Palestinians.

Mr. Chair

Let me now touch upon briefly on the agenda item 53.

We thank the Chair of the Special Committee and ASG Kehris for their insightful briefing on this agenda item.

We remain deeply troubled by the reports of continued practices of Israel that tantamount to grave violations of human rights of the Palestinian people, and constitute serious breaches of international law, including of Security Council resolutions. The dismal basic services in Gaza are of serious concern, particularly in the context of the pandemic. We appreciate the Committee’s special focus on the gender dimensions of Israeli practices, that continue to disproportionately affect the Palestinian women and girls.

The Secretary General’s reports echo similar concerns, especially in respect of specific human rights violations against the Palestinians. Increased incidents of demolition of Palestinian structures, settlement expansion and settler’s violence in West Bank including in East Jerusalem continue with persistent impunity.

As a clear manifestation of our unwavering support to the people of Palestine, we fully endorse the calls of the Special Committee. We reiterate our support to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people including the rights of self-determination, based on the two-State solution with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mr. Chair

I would like to thank USG LaCroix, USG Khare and ASG Lopez for their briefings on agenda item 54. We share their view that peacekeeping today faces some defining challenges including unforeseen emergencies, like pandemic. This has added to the existing perils, targeting the peacekeepers directly and often resulting in fatalities.

Despite such challenges, peacekeepers continue to safeguard the core agenda of the UN – saving people from the impacts of conflicts. They are also supporting the host authorities in tackling the pandemic, which has exposed them to the risk of infections. In this regard, we deeply regret the death of 16 peacekeepers to Covid-19.

However, overall, the impact of Covid-19 on the peacekeepers has been relatively low. In this regard, we acknowledge with appreciation the measures taken by the UN to ‘adapt and adjust’ and thereby protecting our peacekeepers on the ground. Going forward, we would like to see that adequate preparedness is embedded in the mandates of peacekeeping operations to respond to such health emergencies.

Additionally, we must continue to invest in addressing existing and new challenges, especially those affecting the safety and security of the peacekeepers. In this regard we would remain engaged with our partners in the C-34. We greatly welcome the successful adoption of the C-34 report this year, in a new format corresponding to the A4P priority themes.


On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Women Peace and Security Agenda, we continue to call for increased participation of women, including in senior positions. Participation of women helps in smooth transition to peacebuilding and ensuring sustaining peace.

I would like to take this opportunity to share that Bangladesh, along with Canada and UK, is organizing the First Preparatory Meeting on Sustaining Peace on the 3rd and 10th of November, in the lead up to the 2021 Peacekeeping Ministerial.

Mr. Chair

I would like to thank USG DiCarlo and USG Khare for their briefings under agenda item 55. We acknowledge the continued work of the Special Political Missions despite the pandemic. Some encouraging examples include holding public dialogue in Yemen, and continuation of negotiations among conflicting parties in Syria, Yemen and Sudan.

SPMs can play a unique role in implementing Secretary General’s global ceasefire appeal. Bangladesh has been among the first rank of countries to endorse it; and we also mobilized support for it. Unfortunately, in our neighborhood, Myanmar continues to selectively respond to the call leaving Rakhine State out of its purview. The ongoing conflict in Rakhine is causing renewed fear of large scale forced displacement into Bangladesh.


We would like to stress on the greater importance of sustained and continued efforts of the Special Envoy on Myanmar for implementing her mandate, including in the context of Covid, aiming at addressing the root causes for the persecution of Rohingya; and facilitating their sustainable return to Myanmar. Bangladesh reiterates its support and assistance to her mandate.


Mr. Chair

Let me now speak briefly on the agenda item 56.

At the outset I would like to thank USG Fleming and her team for the development and successful implementation of the 2020 Global Communications Strategy – the first-ever such strategy for the Organization. We appreciate the reports of the Secretary-General on ‘Questions relating to Information’, highlighting the critical work of the Department of Global Communications, during the pandemic. DGC’s strategic communications in response to the COVID-19, especially in combatting misinformation and disinformation, has been very effective.

We would wish to see DGC continue its work and use its influence to forge global opinion in support of international cooperation towards sustainable recovery and help us ‘build back better’. We also call DGC to continue with its innovative strategies to connect the UN with the people it serves.

Mr. Chair

I would now speak on agenda items 56 to 61.

The Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism designated for 2011-2020 reaches its conclusion this year. Yet 17 non-self-governing territories continue to exist. The 1960 Declaration of Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries remains unfulfilled.

We join other delegations in calling for accelerated efforts towards fulfilling the UN’s decolonization commitments including GA resolution 65/119. To this end, we underscore the importance of the work of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization, i.e. C-24.

To achieve the sustainable development goal for “full realization of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development as well as their environment”, we highlight the need for educational and training assistance for the students of non-self-governing territories.

Mr. Chairman, my delegation will fully support your efforts for a productive outcome to the work of this important Committee.

I thank you Mr. Chair.