Peacekeepers this year have to deal with the danger of the Covid-19 pandemic, from which even the toughest soldier is not immune
The job of a UN peacekeeper is not easy. Every day, these men and women in uniform put themselves in the path of physical danger to provide an invaluable service to the global community. Over the years, thousands of peacekeepers have lost their lives in the line of duty. 2019 alone saw 102 deaths.
We must, then, give our peacekeepers the credit, and the honour, that they are due. It is a matter of great national pride that at present, according to the Inter Services Public Relations Office, Bangladesh is the largest contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions, with 6,731 personnel stationed worldwide. This number includes armed forces, police, UN military experts on missions, and staff officers. In second position is Ethiopia, while third place is taken by Rwanda.
Our peacekeepers are sent out into countries ravaged by war, internal strife, and political turmoil. Very few want to go to those zones, and the brave men and women of Bangladesh are the ones stepping up, out of their comfort zones and into countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, the Central African Republic, Yemen, and Lebanon.
We must not forget that in addition, peacekeepers this year have to deal with the danger of the Covid-19 pandemic, from which even the toughest soldier is not immune. Countries with high amounts of poverty and political instability are naturally hit harder by effects of the pandemic, and when violence and hunger are such an immediate concern, preventive measures like social distancing and hand sanitizers seem like a far cry.
We salute the men and women who go out into such daunting environments, all for the sake of the greater good.