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Dhaka Tribune

FS: Zero tolerance for discrimination, sexual abuse in Bangladesh peacekeeping missions

Bangladesh has been at the forefront of the UN’s peace endeavours including peacekeeping, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen says

Update : 25 Jun 2023, 10:39 AM

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Sunday said discrimination and sexual abuse had no place in Bangladesh's peacekeeping missions, urging all UN member states to work together “to eradicate such occurrences.”

“We must collectively strive to eradicate such occurrences,” he said while speaking at the inaugural session of the preparatory meeting of the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial 2023, in Dhaka.

Bangladesh is cohosting this meeting with Canada and Uruguay.

The foreign secretary said the meeting marked the first milestone on the journey towards the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting to be held in Ghana in December.

“The theme of this preparatory meeting, ‘Women in UN Peacekeeping,' resonates deeply with the values and principles that Bangladesh holds dear.”

Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping missions.

The foreign secretary said guided by the peace-centric foreign policy dictum of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ‘friendship to all and malice towards none,' Bangladesh had been at the forefront of the UN's peace endeavours including peacekeeping.

“As a leading troop and police contributing country to UN peacekeeping missions, Bangladesh remains firmly committed to the principles and objectives of the United Nations in promoting peace, security and gender equality. We believe gender equality and empowerment of women are crucial for sustainable peace and development,” he said.

“Recognizing the invaluable contributions of women peacekeepers, we are committed to promoting their meaningful participation in peacekeeping operations at all levels.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a global champion of women's empowerment. At the same time, she is an ardent proponent of increasing the number of women peacekeepers in various UN peacekeeping missions.

“The all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingents were the result of her active encouragement and support. Aligning with the UN's Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy, we have taken initiatives to increase the number of women peacekeepers.

“In addition to troops and police, our female judges and correction officers have also been serving in peacekeeping operations and contributing to security sector reforms,” the foreign secretary said.

He recalled Bangladesh's pioneering role as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in October 2000, making a clarion call for women's equal participation in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

“We have been also implementing a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security involving all stakeholders,” he said.

He also emphasized that the “meaningful” participation of women in peacekeeping was not only a matter of gender equality but also a fundamental factor in enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions.

“Their active involvement in peacekeeping brings added value and contributes to sustainable peace. Therefore, it is essential to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of women peacekeepers and the vital role they play in building trust, protecting civilians and fostering gender-responsive approaches to peacekeeping.” 

The preparatory meeting provides the member states with an opportunity to engage in a comprehensive dialogue, learn from each other's experiences and exchange views on the contemporary opportunities and challenges related to gender parity in peacekeeping.

“It is through such discussions that we can collectively shape commitments from member states and strengthen our collective resolve to advance the cause of women in UN peacekeeping, as well as peacebuilding efforts,” the foreign secretary said.

“We look forward to exploring effective strategies to ensure that all peacekeepers, irrespective of gender, can thrive in a safe and supportive environment.”

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