• Thursday, Nov 15, 2018
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Countries must respect responsibilities to protect civilians, Bangladesh diplomat tells UN

  • Published at 12:38 am June 28th, 2018
Permanent Representative (PR) of Bangladesh to the UN, Ambassador Masud Bin Momen
Permanent Representative (PR) of Bangladesh to the UN, Ambassador Masud Bin Momen File Photo

Masud Bin Momen, the country’s permanent representative to the UN, told a General Assembly debate in New York that the issue of upholding relevant international humanitarian and human rights law ‘need not be over-emphasized’

Bangladesh on Tuesday urged the United Nations to ensure countries do not forgo their responsibilities to protect civilians in the name of counter-terrorism operations.

Masud Bin Momen, the country’s permanent representative to the UN, told a General Assembly debate in New York that the issue of upholding relevant international humanitarian and human rights law “need not be over-emphasized”.

“It is critical that double standards in combating terrorism be discarded,” he said. “No member state can forego its primary responsibility to protect the civilian population in its territory in the name of counter-terrorism operations.”

The top Bangladeshi diplomat urged Myanmar, and countries with influence on it, not to use counter-terrorism as a pretext to refuse or hinder the return and rehabilitation of the Rohingya refugees now camped in Bangladesh and along the porous border between the two neighbours.

“In Bangladesh, we are struggling with the Rohingya humanitarian crisis that has been an egregious and disproportionate fall-out of a so-called counter terrorism drive that amounted to nothing short of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar authorities,” Momen said.

“On our part, Bangladesh remains committed to deny sanctuary to any terrorist elements from our neighbouring countries in adherence to our government’s vision for regional security.”

On Tuesday, the Un General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a strong coordinated action by countries. By adopting the resolution, the world body stressed the significance of a “sustained and comprehensive approach to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism”.

Terrorism, it noted, could not be defeated by military force, law enforcement and intelligence operations alone.  The UN resolution stressed that when counter‑terrorism efforts neglected rule of law, they “not only betrayed the values that they sought to uphold, they also further fuelled violent extremism”.

India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Tanmaya Lal, told Tuesday’s debate that the resolution reflected only a “technical update” to the previous text adopted two years ago, and was inadequate.

“Terrorist networks are continuing to terrorize peoples all over the world, propagating their ideologies of hate, recruiting across borders, and improving their use of modern technologies,” he said.

“For that reason, it was deeply disappointing and worrying to see the lack of meaningful progress in the resolution’s language, reflecting an inability of member states to act collectively to tackle the threats from non‑state actors.” 

In his address, Hau Do Suan of Myanmar said that terrorism “remained one of the most serious threats to peace and security in the world today”. 

“In that connection, the return and relocation of foreign terrorist fighters was one of the most serious threats to countries,” he said.

The permanent representative of Myanmar to the UN said his country was concerned about regional and international terrorist organizations providing support to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

“Concerted multilateral efforts must be undertaken to respond effectively against the emerging transnational and multifaceted nature of terrorism,” he said.