Mrs. Taylor Roberts
Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica
to the United Nations
to the 2006 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission
New York, 11 April 2006
My delegation congratulates you and the other members of the Bureau on your election to guide the deliberations of this Committee. You can be assured of the cooperation of the delegation of Jamaica in the discharge of your duties. We welcome the new Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs, Ambassador Nobuaki Tanaka, and wish him well in his new assignment. We also thank the immediate past Chairman of the Commission, Ambassador Sylvester Rowe of Sierra Leone for his contribution to reviving the work of the UNDC.
Jamaica fully supports the statement made earlier by the Permanent Representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) but wishes to make the following additional remarks from a national perspective.
The challenges we have faced, particularly in recent times, towards achieving the objectives of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, the increased anxiety about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the possibility that these weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists and other persons, make the deliberations of this Commission of keen importance and relevance to the disarmament agenda. The general international unease and insecurity now existing is further reinforced by a prevailing sense that the principles of multilateralism are under threat coupled with the evident retreat from previously agreed international commitments and obligations. Rather than seeking to adhere to international obligations to curtail the spread of nuclear weapons, there are instead, new justifications and rationales for the maintenance and development of nuclear weapons. This is disturbing.
As a state dependent on the effective role of the multilateral system in securing a stable and peaceful environment through the removal of threats to international peace and the full implementation of multilateral agreements and commitments on disarmament and non-proliferation, we welcome the opportunity provided by the resumption of the substantive session of this Commission to engage in meaningful deliberation on the way forward and in establishing, promoting and elaborating global norms on disarmament through discussions on the two main items on this agenda namely, Recommendations for achieving the objective on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and, Practical confidence-Building measures in the field of conventional weapons.
Recent setbacks may prompt us to agree that there is need to be forward looking and open to innovative ideas in effecting change in the disarmament agenda. Such a quest however should not be at the expense of previously agreed instruments and disarmament obligations. Our approach needs to be based on a firm commitment to multilateralism underpinned by strong political will. In this case, rather than ambition being tempered by realism, there is need to be cognizant of the grim reality facing all of us with the continued existence of nuclear weapons.
It is critical that there be fulfilment by the nuclear-weapon states of their obligations under the multilateral instruments in particular under Article VI of the NPT and adherence to previously agreed commitments including the 13 practical steps and the early entry into force of the CTBT. Unless commitments are fully respected and honoured, there will be no progress in reaching non-proliferation goals.
It is also clear that the strengthening of confidence in international security will be dependent on the absence of discriminatory or selective application of the norms and regulations governing arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. The careful balance of rights and obligations enshrined in the NPT also needs to be respected and adhered to, including the rights of NPT States parties under Article IV.
Practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons is of interest to Jamaica particularly due to the undisputed role of these weapons in creating the conditions for and in worsening conflicts and instability and the consequent effect on international peace and security. The relative ease of access and portability of conventional weapons have posed security dilemmas for many states and has had to be juxtaposed against the relative right of states to defend themselves. Unfortunately, such considerations have come at the expense of human life and have led to untold suffering. This underscores the importance of confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons as an integral component in furthering disarmament and in the prevention of war. The increased security which is obtained through transparency, openness and accountability in military matters does much to enhance international stability and reduce unwanted military tensions. We can support the proposal that we should use the Chairmanís consolidated working paper as contained in the 2003 UNDC report as a basis for further deliberation on these matters while taking into account those new developments, including other multilateral and regional initiatives, which will add value to our work.
In conclusion, allow me to state that Jamaica remains committed to the aims and objectives of this Commission as the universal, specialised, deliberative body within the United Nations mandated to undertake detailed examination on specific disarmament issues for consideration by the General Assembly. We hope that this yearís substantive session will allow for constructive engagement on the issues, build on consensus and begin the process of developing guidelines and formulating concrete recommendations on the two main agenda items which will be the focus of our attention for the next three years. We are open to discussion on measures for improving the effectiveness of our methods of work and consider that such discussions should not be merely procedural in nature but involve other ideas including an assessment of the processes of decision-making. In any event, the overall objective of this exercise should be the strengthening of the work of this Commission so as to further the goal of disarmament.