Statement by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York on “Mine action and sustaining peace: Stronger partnerships for better delivery.” United Nations Security Council VTC Open Debate, 08 April 2021

Mr. President, Excellencies,

I wish to thank Vietnam Presidency for arranging this important debate on Mine Action and Sustaining Peace. I thank the briefers for their insightful presentations.

Mr. President,

Bangladesh’s commitment to general and complete disarmament is total and unwavering.  In accordance with our constitutional obligation, Bangladesh continues to remain at the forefront in assuming obligations under all major multilateral disarmament treaties. Bangladesh was one of first few countries in South Asia to join the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Treaty, and we completed by treat obligations in full by destroying our stockpiles within the stipulated timeframe.

Landmines are typically listed as part of the security domain. However, considering its cross-sectoral nature, mine action needs to be understood within a more holistic approach and applied in a comprehensive peace-building framework to sustain peace.

The international community has achieved some progress in addressing the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERWs), which has been reflected by the significant reduction in casualties over the last two decades, as well as, by enhanced cooperation amongst mine action actors. Yet, challenges remain. There has been growing concern over the humanitarian consequences of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Further, in post-conflict situations, mines and ERWs continue to kill and maim, often making it impossible for refugees and internally displaced people to return to their homes.

Mr. President,

Bangladesh continues to remain concerned over casualties suffered by our peacekeepers due to indiscriminate use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by non-state actors in certain mission settings. It is critical that further attention be given to UN peacekeeping intelligence, and to enhancing support for mine action by UN peacekeeping missions, including through additional deployment of expertise and equipment.

Mr. President,

We subscribe to the notion that mine action activities need to be integrated into the broader framework of the UN’s three pillars in order to encompass a broader humanitarian and developmental approach and expand the scope of activities.

I would like to offer the following insights in this regard:

First, sustaining peace and the 2030 Agenda are complementary and mutually reinforcing in promoting respect for human rights, inclusion and gender equality. Thousands of victims of mines/ERW incidents are at risk of being left behind in development and humanitarian fields.  Therefore, collaborative and inclusive actions are required while focusing on demining activities.

Second, the international community needs to provide policy makers, at national and international levels, with data and context specific analysis on mine action trends and emerging challenges; and we call for  allocating necessary resources for mine action activities, care and protection services to victims.

Third, international actors should support affected states in developing and implementing national strategies, formulating laws and policies that guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities including survivors. They should also provide technical assistance and capacity building support to national authorities on mine action activities.

Fourth, we need to step up efforts for the universalization and implementation of all mine action conventions and urgently call upon the countries that are yet to sign/accede to the Conventions to do so.

Finally, the Security Council should maintain a clear focus on addressing the impacts of mines and ERW and to further integrate all dimensions of mine action. UN system wide coordination is also required to improve the coherence, effectiveness and impact of collective responses delivered in support of national authorities.

I thank you, Mr. President.