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UN honors five fallen Bangladeshi peacekeepers

Published : 27 May 2023 02:15 AM

The United Nations has awarded 'Dag Hammarskj"ld Medal' to five fallen Bangladeshi peacekeepers for their supreme sacrifice in UN Peacekeeping operations.

The award was handed over on Thursday at the General Assembly Hall by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a ceremony to honor 103 peacekeepers from 39 countries who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty in 2022, according to a press release of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York, received here today.

The respective Permanent Representatives received the awards on behalf of their countries, the release added.

Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York, received the medals on behalf of the fallen peacekeepers of Bangladesh.

The five Bangladeshi fallen peacekeepers are: Sergeant Md Manjur Rahman (was serving in UNISFA, Abyei), Lance Corporal Kafil Majumder (was serving in UNMISS, South Sudan), Sainik Md Sharif Hossain (was serving in MUNISCA, Central African Republic), Sainik Md Jahangir Alam (was serving in MINUSCA, Central African Republic) and Sainik Md Jasim Uddin (was serving in MINUSCA, Central African Republic).

After receiving the Medal, Ambassador Muhith signed the condolence book kept at the General Assembly Hall on this occasion and expressed his deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the fallen peacekeepers.

 According to the release, Bangladesh is currently the top contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping operations.

At present, around 7,500 Bangladeshi peacekeepers are deployed in nine peacekeeping missions. So far, 166 peacekeepers from Bangladesh have lost their lives while serving in UN peacekeeping operations.

Bangladesh is one of the largest Troops and Police Contributing Countries (TPCCs) to the UN Peacekeeping Operations. Over the last three decades, Bangladesh’s partnership with the UN in  peacekeeping  has grown in depth and dimensions. Inspired by the Foreign Policy Doctrine of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, “Friendship to all and malice towards none” and  constitutional obligation, Bangladesh has taken a value-driven approach to contribute to global peace and stability. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has always remained a strong supporter of UN Peacekeeping Operations globally. During the Secretary General’s high-level event on Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative on 26 September 2018, she said, “Many of our peacekeepers have lost their lives on the line of duty. Yet our resolve to serve has not been shaken”. Indeed, despite enormous challenges, Bangladeshi Peacekeepers have never faltered to carry out their responsibilities.

As regards the historic background of Bangladesh’s engagement in peacekeeping, Bangladesh first deployed troops  in UN Peacekeeping operations in 1988 in two separate operations namely UNIMOG in Iraq and UNTAG in Namibia. Since then Bangladesh became an integral part of global efforts to restore peace in the world. In 2018,  the journey reached its 30th year. As part of the celebration, the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN hosted a high-level event at the UN Headquarters.  The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres and the President of UN General Assembly Mr. Miroslav Lajčák  participated in the event along with high level dignitaries from Dhaka. They spoke highly of Bangladesh’s contribution to UN peacekeeping and highlighted Bangladesh’s impressive success stories in various other fields. In July, 2019, the Mission also co-hosted the Ice Breaking Session of the  Chiefs of Defence Meeting  at the UN Headquarters where Defence Chiefs of 64 countries took part.

Performance of the Bangladesh  peacekeepers has been well appreciated  in most difficult places including in Mali, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. Bangladeshi peacekeepers are known for their pro-active operational measures, deep sense of commitment and excellent professionalism. They have also earned great reputation for having no caveats and their adherence to UN chain of command.

Peacekeeping is a dynamic enterprise which has evolved over time both in policy and operational domains. Since 2015, there have been important changes in peacekeeping through structural reforms in the peace and security pillar of the UN. There have been evolutions of important concepts and commitments such as Action for Peacekeeping, Sustaining Peace, growing synergies among various phases of peace keeping—starting from mandate setting down to peacebuilding and exit strategy etc. Essentially, the actors in the policy arena and the field have been bound to adapt to many resultant drivers of change to cope up with the shifting priorities and challenges. 

In the process, as major troops and police contributing country, Bangladesh has essentially shown certain degrees of flexibility, adaptability and resilience. The  focused areas have been on pre-deployment training, building meaningful partnerships, and necessary adaptation with shifting challenges in the areas of primacy of politics, protection of civilians, partnerships, safety and security, performance, accountability, transitions, women peace and security etc. In terms of  preparations for deployment, for example,  in 2019, Bangladesh kept three contingents at readiness level in United Nations peacekeeping readiness system (UNPCRS) to meet the immediate United Nation need at any critical time. An Infantry contingent of 850 personnel in DR Congo- MONUSCO as Readily Deployable Battalion (RDB) has been deployed. For the first-time, Bangladesh started deploying  military observers in United Nations Peacekeeping: Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), South Sudan.