I am delighted to see you at the helm of this important Committee. I am confident that under your able stewardship, we will have a productive session. I also congratulate warmly the other members of the bureau on their election.
Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Allow me to share our national position.
Bangladesh’s commitment to general and complete disarmament is total and unwavering. It is our constitutional obligation and remains a fundamental tenet of our peace-centric foreign policy objectives. Guided by this principle, Bangladesh continues to remain at the forefront in assuming higher obligations under all major multilateral disarmament treaties.
We believe that the ultimate guarantee of international peace and security lies in the total elimination of nuclear weapons. It was from that conviction that we ratified the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). We welcome the coming into force of the Treaty; and would like to see as a matter of priority, its full implementation by all, including the Nuclear-Weapon-Possessing States.
We call upon the Nuclear Weapons States to demonstrate genuine political will to enable the convening of the 10th NPT Review Conference in early 2022, to produce a meaningful, tangible and sustainable outcome to further strengthen the NPT regime.
We reiterate our concerns over the protracted impasse in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) due to the lack of consensus on a programme of work over the past two decades. This situation must be addressed carefully and urgently.
Efforts must also be scaled up for the rapid entry into force of the CTBT and commencing negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
Bangladesh recognizes the inalienable rights of all States to develop, research, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including in power generation, healthcare and agriculture. We believe that such rights come with certain responsibilities. [And] On that premise, we are constructing the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, in Rooppur to support our development efforts. We are deeply conscious of our responsibilities and proceeding in line with the highest IAEA standards.
We reiterate our support to the Chemical Weapons Convention and underscore that there can be no impunity for the use of chemical weapons. Bangladesh believes in the importance of upholding the credibility and integrity of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
We also reaffirm our full support to the Biological Weapons Convention and look forward to working together with the international community to strengthen the Convention to face future challenges.
Bangladesh fully shares the concerns of the international community that the illicit transfer, accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW) poses serious threat to security and stability in the world. We have consistently supported the adoption of the Programme of Action on SALW and called for the speedy and effective implementation of the POA.
We also reaffirm our commitment to fulfill the obligations under the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCW) and its Protocols, which we are party to.
The disarmament discourse continues to be redefined by rapid technological advancements, including artificial intelligence and biotechnology. Bangladesh strongly rejects the illegal or malicious use of ICTs that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international peace and security.
With the launch of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite, Bangladesh now has an enhanced stake in ensuring the safe, secure and sustainable use of the outer space. We reiterate our call to have a legally binding international instrument for preventing the weaponization of outer space.
The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us of the long-established truth, in a more glaring way perhaps, that stockpiles of weapons fail to save human lives. Investment in armament therefore, cannot guarantee peace and security. We remain concerned at the rise in global military expenditure even in this pandemic, sadly, that could otherwise be better used to protect our planet and people, guarantee peace, and prevent future pandemics.
Achieving the UN disarmament agenda requires strong political will and genuine commitment. As we meet amidst the pandemic, it is time to show that we genuinely mean business by breaking deadlocks to start with, in our discourses. Only then can we show real progress in moving closer towards the goal of a peaceful and more secure world. Bangladesh stands ready to work together with the international community towards that goal. [And] I assure you, Mr. Chairman, of my delegation’s full support to you in all your efforts to make this a successful session.
I thank you.