• Wednesday, Jul 08, 2020
  • Last Update : 08:23 pm

Bangladesh continues leading the way

  • Published at 10:37 pm May 28th, 2020
Bangladeshi Peacekeepers
Members of the Bangladeshi peacekeepers patrol where they operate and support humanitatrian assistance by delivering food to communities United Nations

In terms of numbers, Bangladesh, which accounts for 7.8% of total 82,445 personnel, and Ethiopia are followed by Rwanda, Nepal, India and Pakistan

As the world observes 70th anniversary of the United Nations peacekeeping operations on Friday, Bangladesh continues to lead the efforts of the global body to maintain peace and stability in different troubled parts of the world.

As of April 30, Bangladesh is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping operations out of about 120 participating countries. With 6,434 personnel, including some females, it is slightly behind Ethiopia that has contributed 6,656 personnel. These numbers include military troops, police, UN military experts on missions and staff officers.

In terms of numbers, Bangladesh, which accounts for 7.8% of total 82,445 personnel, and Ethiopia are followed by Rwanda, Nepal, India and Pakistan

For the last decade, Bangladesh was the largest contributor in 2011, 2014 and 2015, second largest in 2012, 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2018, third in 2019 while fourth largest in 2016. This very statistics reflects Bangladesh’s leading role in bringing about and maintaining peace in the war-torn countries.

The Bangladeshi peacekeepers are currently involved in 8 out of 13 UN peacekeeping operations across the globe. These operations are in Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Western Sahara, Mali, Central African Republic, Yemen and Lebanon.  

Although the peacekeeping operations began in 1948 after the Security Council authorised the deployment of UN military observers to monitor and maintain the ceasefire during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Bangladeshi peacekeepers started attiring blue helmets in 1988 by sending 15 observers to UN Iraq-Iran military observer group mission (UNIIMOG). Bangladesh Police joined in the next year (1989). Subsequently, Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Air Force joined peacekeeping operations in 1993.

One of the major reasons behind Bangladesh’s willingness to contribute to the world peace is the War of Independence when the nation experienced genocide, persecution, suffering, displacement, torture and horror of humanitarian crisis. The suffering of 1971 made Bangladesh understand the plight of a distressed population better.

Bangladeshi peacekeepers provided medical services to the refugee camps | ISPRThe Constitutional obligation was another factor. The vow for establishing peace and security that emanates from the principles enshrined in the Constitution. The Preamble to the Constitution reads “We may prosper in freedom and may make our full contribution towards international peace and co-operation in keeping with the progressive aspirations of mankind.”

Besides, the national intent is clearly pronounced through the foreign policy of Bangladesh. One of the basic principles of the foreign policy is “Friendship to all, malice towards none.”

Bangladesh believes in ‘culture of cooperation’ over ‘culture of conflict’, peaceful settlement of disputes and peaceful changes in international arena.

Protection of civilians is the most important mandate of UN peace operations these days. Culturally, Bangladesh Armed Forces’ ‘Social Face’ is predominant over ‘Warrior Face’; ‘Protecting People’ is predominant over ‘Fighting Enemy’. Therefore, Bangladesh considers UN mission as probing grounds for the Armed Forces as ‘Protector of People’.

Over the last 32 years, the peacekeepers from Bangladesh have successfully completed 54 operations in around 40 countries. A total of 146,095 personnel participated in those missions.

In bringing about and maintaining peace, Bangladeshis peacekeepers made supreme sacrifices. As of March 31, one hundred and fifty Bangladeshis laid down their lives in different missions. Twenty five Bangladeshis sacrificed their lives in the Sierra Leone operation. This is the highest number of deaths of Bangladeshis in a mission followed by 22 in Ivory Coast and 20 in Liberia.

With respect to losing peacekeepers, Bangladesh stands at the fourth place after India (170), Nigeria (155) and Pakistan (151).

Aside from the deaths, well over 200 Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been injured in different missions.

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