On June twenty five, 2023, Under-Secretary-Normal of the United Nations (UN) for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix arrived in Bangladesh and heartily praised the overall performance of Bangladeshi peacekeepers during his meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Just two weeks in the past, the New York-primarily based INGO Human Rights Watch experienced termed upon the UN in normal and Below-Secretary-Basic Lacroix in particular to enhance the screening of Bangladeshi peacekeepers, which would in essence limit the deployment of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in UN peace functions. However, in this context, far more than a few a long time of professional and dutiful provider of Bangladesh peacekeepers to the UN and the worldwide local community must not be forgotten.
According to Article twenty five of the Constitution of Bangladesh, the region is committed to the marketing of international peace, safety and solidarity in accordance with the rules enunciated in the UN Constitution. So, Bangladesh is lawfully and morally responsibility-bound to guide the UN in its endeavours to build and sustain peace and safety throughout the world. By its active participation in the UN Iran–Iraq Armed service Observer Team (UNIIMOG) in 1988–1991, Bangladesh began getting component in UN peace operations. Given that then, 188,558 Bangladeshi peacekeepers, together with 2,728 woman peacekeepers, have served in 63 UN operations in forty distinctive states across five continents. At this time, seven,436 Bangladeshi peacekeepers, which includes 572 woman peacekeepers, are deployed in UN functions in thirteen states. At current, Bangladesh is the topmost contributor of personnel to UN functions. So significantly, 167 Bangladeshi peacekeepers have sacrificed their life even though fulfilling their intercontinental duties.
Explained by the international media as the ‘cream of UN peacekeepers,’ Bangladeshi peacekeepers have continually demonstrated their professionalism, braveness and perseverance in the course of complicated and unsafe UN operations, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Lebanon, Mali and the Central African Republic (Automobile). Bangladeshi peacekeepers have played outstanding roles in creating peace and stability in several Asian and African states, and executed their obligations to the global community with efficiency and dignity.
As a consequence, best UN officials, as nicely as various host governments and army specialists, have very commended the part of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in defending worldwide peace and security, fostering democracy, fulfilling the humanitarian wants of susceptible folks, and selling human legal rights in host countries. Bangladeshi peacekeepers have gained significant numbers of decorations for their provider. Owing to the contribution of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in establishing peace and safety in Sierra Leone after the Sierra Leonean Civil War (1991–2002), the federal government of that nation declared Bengali to be an honorary language as a indicator of regard and a number of schools have been named ‘Sierra Leone-Bangladesh Friendship College.’ Similarly, in recognition of the job played by Bangladeshi peacekeepers in ensuring peace in Côte d’Ivoire, a avenue in the Ivorian metropolis of Danané was named the ‘Bangladesh Road.’ These signify that Bangladeshi peacekeepers have designed considerable contributions to the UN’s efforts of upholding peace and protection across the environment and have proved on their own to be one of the most successful peacekeeping contingents below UN auspices.
It must be mentioned that whilst the states of the International North offer close to 84% of the cash expected for UN peace operations, Bangladesh and some other states of the Global South give the the greater part of troops who have to maintain peace and deliver stability on the floor. Northern states, and lots of Southern states as very well, are normally unwilling to deliver peacekeepers to UN operations, while Bangladesh and a handful of other Southern states have been ardent participants in UN functions. Even though most states desire the risk-free route of non-involvement, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been dutifully serving the UN for additional than three many years, generally risking their lives and health and fitness. In addition to fulfilling their constitutional and global obligations, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have enhanced the image of their country throughout the planet, enhanced its politico-diplomatic posture and aided its finances by serving in UN functions.
Bangladeshi peacekeepers have acquired acclaim and acceptability owing to a range of components, including their professionalism, humanism and absence of any hegemonic agenda. These characteristics have differentiated Bangladeshi peacekeepers from the peacekeepers of many other states.
In point, participation in UN operations has a transformative and stabilizing outcome on the Bangladesh Armed Forces. In the quick years following independence, Bangladesh witnessed a lot of armed service coups d’état and revolts. However, considerable participation in UN functions has contributed to their professionalization, redirecting their energies to a far better and higher lead to, that is, the protection of international peace and security. Soon after the beginning of Bangladeshi participation in UN functions, armed forces intervention in Bangladeshi politics has sharply declined, helping the procedure of democratization. Moreover, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have assisted in the processes of democratization in several nations, like Namibia, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
So, rising participation in UN functions has contributed to the de-politicization and professionalization of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. In contrast, some other states have been getting aspect in UN functions for a extensive time, nevertheless their armed forces stay engrossed in unprofessional and non-democratic activities. For instance, Pakistan has been a critical troop-contributing nation for UN operations considering the fact that 1960, nonetheless the Pakistan Armed Forces go on to be the ‘kingmaker’ in Pakistani politics and so far four military dictators have dominated the country. Egypt is an additional crucial contributor of staff for UN operations, and the place is continue to below a armed forces-managed government. Similarly, Chad is an essential troop-contributing region for UN functions, and the nation is at present dominated by a armed forces regime. So, the Bangladesh Armed Forces are comparatively significantly much more depoliticized and professionally-oriented amongst the states which give staff for UN peace functions.
What’s more, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have usually effectively applied ‘hearts and minds’ campaigns in their sites of deployment. These strategies involve establishing great rapport with the neighborhood inhabitants, offering them with humanitarian support and professional medical aid, initiating little-scale development systems for them, and guarding them from predatory groups. As a consequence, Bangladeshi peacekeepers became preferred amongst the community populace in many host international locations, including Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and the DRC. Also, there have been extremely several allegations of misconduct and human rights violations versus Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers. In distinction, peacekeepers from many nations, together with France, Pakistan, Morocco, Benin, Burundi and Gabon, have been accused of committing many crimes in host nations, such as sexual assault and smuggling.
In addition, a number of states, specially terrific and regional powers, have been accused of working with UN functions as a resource of exerting neo-colonial and imperial domination about host international locations. For occasion, the Malian govt has accused French and Ivorian UN peacekeepers of attempting to topple the country’s federal government. Chad has been accused of utilizing its UN peacekeeping contingent in the Car or truck to affect that country’s internal politics. On the other hand, Bangladesh does not have any colonial past with regard to any country, and Bangladeshi peacekeepers have in no way been accused of pursuing any imperialist or hegemonic agenda.
On a final notice, most of the armed forces that lead troops to UN functions, together with Pakistani, Indonesian, Egyptian, Chadian and Ethiopian armed forces, have been accused of critical human legal rights violations in their property international locations. In contrast, the human rights file of the Bangladesh Armed Forces is comparatively clean up. So, singling out Bangladeshi peacekeepers for screening is not only an affront to the devoted services of Bangladeshi peacekeepers but also an unfair stage directed to Bangladesh.
So significantly, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have served the UN professionally, dutifully and honourably. They have continually risked their lives in purchase to fulfil their constitutional and global duties of defending international peace and safety. Their participation in UN peace operations have contributed to the process of democratization in each their destinations of deployment and in their house countries. Therefore, their contributions to entire world peace need to be acknowledged and honoured.
[Photo by Bangladesh Air Force, via Wikimedia Commons]
*Md. Himel Rahman is a put up-graduate pupil of Safety Scientific tests at the Office of International Relations, College of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and a freelance analyst on international and strategic affairs. His posts have been published in the South Asian Voices, The Geopolitics, the International Affairs Insights & Evaluation, the Every day Star, the Dhaka Tribune and other platforms. The views and viewpoints expressed in this report are those of the creator.