International UN Peacekeeper Day is held annually on May 29. When the day comes, the scene of Bangladesh’s pride, contribution and bravery in world peacekeeping comes to the fore. Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been playing an important role in UN peacekeeping operations for more than three decades. Currently, 6,802 members of the armed and police forces are engaged in peacekeeping operations in nine missions around the world.
One of the success stories of Bangladesh in the golden jubilee of independence is its retention of the top position as the country that sends peacekeepers to the United Nations peacekeeping missions. Various international media call Bangladeshi peacekeepers as the core or equivalent of the UN peacekeeping force.
War and conflict can never bring benefits to any country. War and conflict must be abandoned to maintain peace. The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission was born in 1948 with the aim of establishing peace in conflict zones of the world. International United Nations Day of Peacekeepers is celebrated on May 29 every year around the world. The day has been observed globally since 2003 to commemorate the great sacrifices made by peacekeepers of different countries. Before this, the outline of this day was formulated according to the resolution 57/129 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2002, at the joint proposal of the peacekeeping organization of Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine. The date was set on May 29 in reference to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, which was formed to monitor the 1948 Arab-Israeli War-era ceasefire.
Note that the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) is the first UN peacekeeping force. Thus (since 1948) UN peacekeeping force completed 74 years. On this day, all the men and women participating in the activities of the peacekeeping forces in various countries including the United Nations are remembered with deep gratitude for their self-sacrifice while maintaining the best professional attitude, dutifulness, and devotion to maintain peace. In 2009, the United Nations placed special emphasis on the contribution and role of women in peacekeeping. The United Nations took that step-in order to eliminate the role of women in peacekeeping and gender inequality.
This day is celebrated with due significance in almost all the countries of the world. On this day, the honorary ‘Dag Hammerschold’ medal was distributed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Bangladesh Peacekeeping Force completed 34 years under UN this year (1988-2022). However, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sent a medical team to the warring Syria in 1973 after independence and set a precedent for the Bangladesh government to establish friendship with Muslim countries in peacekeeping. In 1974, the United Nations recognized Bangladesh’s peacekeeping operations. Bangladeshi peacekeepers have already been praised at home and abroad through their work.
Bangladesh has a glorious history in UN peacekeeping missions. Bangladesh’s journey into UN peacekeeping mission began in 1988 by sending only 15 military observers to the UN Iran-Iraq Military Observation Group (UNIMOG) mission. Since then, the glorious journey of Bangladesh began. In the next few years, the Bangladeshi peacekeeping force has worked in the United Nations peacekeeping mission with great reputation and achievement. In 1993-94, the most talked about peace missions in Rwanda, Somalia and Bosnia, the Bangladesh Army came to the center of discussion by demonstrating their capabilities and skills.
At that time, the officials of the concerned countries, including the United Nations, did not think that the Bangladesh army could surpass the Belgian army in Rwanda, the American army in Somalia, and the French army in Bosnia in terms of skill and military knowledge. Since then, Bangladesh’s position in the United Nations peacekeeping mission has been getting stronger.
During the 1994 genocide in the African country of Rwanda, a brigade group of the Bangladesh Army was deployed there. More than 8 lakh people were killed in the civil war of about 100 days. When the civil war started in that mission, the Afro-European battalions including the Belgians quickly withdrew and suspended their mission, but the Bangladeshi soldiers bravely remained in the mission area. As a result, the death rate in genocide was much lower. In the end Bangladesh also had to withdraw from the UN decision. Everyone was surprised to see such courage and skill of Bangladeshi soldiers. When the United Nations peacekeeping mission was withdrawn from Somalia, the American troops demanded that the Bangladeshi troops should stay with them until the last of their soldiers left Somalia.
Bangladeshi peacekeepers have strengthened their position by mixing with the people of that country at various times in the mission area. The trust and love of the local people is the main strength of the Bangladeshi troops in the UN mission. The skills of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in every mission have impressed UN officials. Bangladeshi peacekeepers have become indispensable to any military commander for their discipline, integrity, diligence and military skills.
In 1995, when the French peacekeeping battalions were withdrawn from Bosnia, Bangladeshi troops started working in their place. Working together with the troops of 34 countries, the Bangladesh battalion proved its mettle in peacekeeping operations.
Everyone thought that the Bangladesh army could not replace the French army. But, while the Dutch and Ukrainian troops have completely failed to prevent the massacre in the two towns of Bosnia called ‘Sabranica’ and ‘Japa’, the Bangladeshi troops are able to protect the people of the town of Bihac in Bosnia with courage, honesty, skill and determination, even with much lighter weapons than them. was done.
Bangladesh is a well-known trusted name in establishing peace and order in Congo, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Sahara, Lebanon, Haiti, East Timor etc. Peacekeepers of Bangladesh have completed 55 peacekeeping missions of the United Nations in 40 countries of the world by serving humanity at the risk of their lives. Bangladesh Army peacekeepers are playing an active role in disarmament of conflicting armed groups in the mission area, removal of landmines, assistance in elections, contribution to education and construction of roads and highways. According to the information, about 161 peacekeepers of this country have sacrificed their lives in the last 34 years to establish peace in the world.
As a peace-loving nation, our foreign policy is ‘friendship with all, enmity with none.’ It has become an urgent responsibility of our armed forces to establish peace at the call of the United Nations in conflict areas of the world. Good relations with neighboring countries have to be maintained. Having a well-educated and professional armed force is one of the prerequisites for the United Nations to assist in peace-building, as well as to protect independence and sovereignty. In the current century, third-generation peacekeeping operations have become multidimensional and risky. For this reason, the thinking and thinking of the three forces have to be modernized in keeping with today’s changing world.
Besides playing an important role in the UN peacekeeping mission, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have joined the hearts of the people of the respective countries. Appreciating the role of Bangladeshi peacekeepers, Sierra Leone wanted to make Bengali the main language of their country. But because they could not do it according to the constitution, Bengali is now the second language of the country. Since 1988, participating in UN peacekeeping operations, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been showing the highest professional attitude, honesty, loyalty and bravery. Their unique contribution has enhanced the country’s image in the international arena and our peacekeepers have been able to secure a prestigious position in peace-keeping missions.
Apart from sacrificing their lives while performing their duties in the mission, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have earned the respect and love of the people in the conflict areas of many countries in the world. Bangladesh has become an integral part of the people of countries where the common people were once not very familiar with ‘Bangladesh’, the peacekeepers of Bangladesh in the mission have become an integral part of great emotion and respect for the people of those countries due to their integrity and conduct.
After all, after participating in the United Nations peacekeeping mission, the recognition of Bengali and Bengali language in the world has increased several times due to the professional skills, neutrality, honesty and humanitarian behavior of the Bangladeshi soldiers. Bangladeshi peacekeepers have devoted themselves to the great service of world humanity in the establishment of world peace by transforming ethnic identity, religious practice, physical caste, communal discrimination into love. Because of which Bangladeshi peacekeepers have become role models for the people of war-torn regions. Bangladeshi peacekeepers assigned to the United Nations are making a significant contribution to the economy of Bangladesh. Currently, the remittance income of the country is more than 2000 crore rupees through the peacekeeping mission under the United Nations.
According to the UN equation, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been participating in UN peacekeeping operations since 1988 and have shown the highest level of professionalism, loyalty and bravery. Due to their unique contribution, the image of the country has been brightened in the international arena. The peacekeepers of this country have been able to ensure a dignified contribution to the peacekeeping mission. Bangladeshi peacekeepers are working with professionalism, skill and dedication to establish peace in different parts of the world even in the midst of the global deadlock. He gained the trust of the people of those countries by restoring peace to the war-torn countries. The unique contribution of Bangladesh’s peacekeepers in UN missions and multinational forces has brightened the country’s image in the world.
Like every year, this year too, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres awarded the ‘Daghammerskold’ medal to peacekeepers for their heroic contribution to peacekeeping. This year, 117 men and women from 42 countries received this medal in an event organized at the United Nations Headquarters on Friday, May 27, 2022. Of which 55
In the reception organized on this day, besides the Honorable Prime Minister of the country, among others, members of the Cabinet, Ambassadors and High Commissioners of various countries assigned to Bangladesh, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations assigned to Bangladesh, Chiefs of three forces, Military Advisors of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission, Members of Parliament, Principal Staff Officer (PSO) of the Armed Forces Department, The Inspector General of Police, senior military and civilian officials were present and paid tribute to the peacekeepers.
‘Training for the defense of the country and love for the people’ – our armed forces have been built around these two things and have been able to win the love of the unknown people of the unknown country by imposing punishment in the war-torn and calamitous environment of the world. Armed forces of Bangladesh are now known to the world as a trusted institution by joining peacekeeping missions under the United Nations and showing their capabilities.
For 34 years of joining the United Nations peacekeeping mission, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been working with reputation, love, achievement and success in the service of world humanity with the message of peace, facing trauma, conflict, fear, natural disasters, adverse environment and risking their lives.
On this commemoration of the International UN Peacekeepers Day and the 34th anniversary of Bangladesh’s peacekeeping mission, we remember with gratitude, love and humility the Bangladeshi peacekeepers who have made a strong contribution to the establishment of global peace. May the fragrance of peace spread worldwide.