How Bangladesh is Playing significant role in UN peace keeping mission

Mutual hostility can never be advantageous. War must be avoided if we want peace. In order to bring about peace in areas of the world that were in conflict, the United Nations launched its peacekeeping mission in 1948. The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is observed on May 29. Since 2003, this day has been commemorated to honor the tremendous sacrifices made by peacekeepers in various nations. Following an official appeal to the UN General Assembly from the Ukrainian Peacekeepers Association and the Government of Ukraine, it was declared as such by Resolution 57/129 on December 11, 2002. mission.

After the destruction of World War II, the United Nations was established in 1945 with the primary goal of sustaining global peace and security. Since then, the UN has worked to promote disarmament, counterterrorism, peace-building, peacekeeping (now known as peace operations), and preventative diplomacy. Peace operations have proven to be one of the most efficient ways to help troubled nations shift from conflict to peace, despite the fact that these efforts frequently overlap and reinforce one another. However, while peace operations aid in the process of resolving disputes, they are not the sole option.

When UN Security Council meetings were frequently stalled by Cold War rivalries, UN peacekeeping operations were used. The UN has launched 71 peace operations, deploying more than one million women and men from 125 member states, since its first deployment in the Middle East in 1948. The long history of UN peacekeeping operations has seen a number of phases, including the early years (1948–1963), the Cold War era (1964–1991), the post–Cold War era (1992–2000), and the twenty-first century peacekeeping (from the year 2000 till today). UN peacekeeping missions were frequently divided into four types based on the pattern of deployment, such as the deployment of observers, the interposition of troops between warring factions, the deployment of multi-dimensional forces, and the establishment of transitional administrations.

In theory, UN peacekeeping missions were started to lessen interstate hostilities. Later, they were frequently used in civil wars and intrastate conflicts.

During the Cold War, the major objectives of UN peacekeeping missions were to uphold the cease-fire and stabilize the situation on the ground. The strategic environment saw considerable changes with the conclusion of the Cold War due to an increase in UN peacekeeping operations deployments (a total of 36 from 1991 to 2000), which greatly increased the number of peacekeepers. However, in the middle of the 1990s, some of the missions’ failures, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Somalia, prompted an evaluation and regrouping period through the Brahimi Report 2000.

May 29th is the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the first-ever UN peacekeeping mission, which was established in 1948 to oversee the post-Arab-Israeli War ceasefire.

As a result, the 1948-founded United Nations peacekeeping force celebrates its 74th birthday this year. The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers honors those who are currently serving in or have previously participated in UN peacekeeping missions. The peacekeepers are commended for their extreme professionalism, commitment, and bravery. Also recognized are those who gave their lives for peace. The United Nations gave women’s contributions and roles in peacekeeping extra attention in 2009.

This action was done primarily to promote women’s participation in peacekeeping and the eradication of gender inequalities. Every nation in the globe observes this day with the appropriate reverence. The awarding of the honorary “Dag Hammarskjöld” medal at the UN Headquarters in New York City was the day’s high point.

Bangladesh has a long history of participation in UN peacekeeping operations. With the deployment of only 15 military observers to the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) operation in 1988, Bangladesh’s road to the UN peacekeeping mission got underway.

From then, Bangladesh begins its illustrious journey. Bangladesh’s peacekeeping force has performed admirably and successfully in UN peacekeeping deployments during the following few years.

The bravery and talent of the Bangladeshi soldiers astounded everyone. The American troops insisted that the Bangladeshi troops stay with them until their last soldier left Somalia when the peacekeeping mission withdrew from the country. The Bangladeshis improved their standing in Somalia by capturing the hearts of the populace. The Bangladesh Army’s greatest asset in the UN mission is the respect and love of the local populace.

The UN authorities have been captivated by Bangladeshis’ expertise in every task. For personal responsibility, organizational effectiveness, and military effectiveness, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have become indispensable to any military commander. The skill and bravery of the Bangladeshi military leaders particularly captivate and inspire confidence in the European-American generals. When the French Battalion left Bosnia in 1995, the only peacekeeping operation in Europe, Bangladeshi troops took over. The Bangladesh Battalion had to demonstrate its ability in peacekeeping while competing against the military of 34 different nations. Everyone believed that soldiers from a developing nation like Bangladesh would not be able to do the same duties as those performed by the French army.

However, it was later discovered that the Bangladeshi army, which had considerably lighter weapons than the Dutch and Ukrainian forces, had been just as brave, skilled, and strong and had been able to save the inhabitants of the significant large city “Bihac” while the Dutch and Ukrainian forces had completely failed to stop the genocide in the two Bosnian cities of “Srebrenica” and “Zepa.”

The UN peacekeeping force as a whole turn 74 this year (1948-2022). On the other side, the Bangladesh Peacekeeping Force is part of the UN peacekeeping mission for 34 years (1988-2022). Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been able to gain everyone’s respect and love when they first joined the UN peacekeeping mission by demonstrating their effectiveness.

In April 2018, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, noted that Bangladesh had participated in the UN peacekeeping mission for thirty years “I am impressed by Bangladesh’s military’s efforts to uphold human rights and bring about long-lasting peace in dangerous regions. The Bangladeshi women’s police force is active in promoting social peace. Every time I go on a mission, I use the Bangladeshi army as an illustration.”

Bangladesh is happy to be a member of the UN peacekeeping force. Retaining first place among nations providing peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping missions is one of Bangladesh’s greatest achievements in its 50 years of independence.

Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been referred to as the “marrow” of the UN peacekeeping mission in a variety of foreign media outlets. Bangladeshi troops have replaced respect and love in the hearts of people in all warring zones of the world, from Haiti to East Timor, from Lebanon to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bangladesh has transformed into a nation of great affection in places where the general populace once did not know the name “Bangladesh,” and the red-green flag has become a symbol of fervor and respect.

The international acceptance of Bengali and the Bangla language has grown as a result of Bangladeshi troops’ participation in UN peacekeeping missions.

The Bangladeshi peacekeeping force has been serving in the UN peacekeeping mission for 34 years and has a solid reputation for accomplishment, success, and love for its work. Bangladeshi peacekeepers risk their lives every day to spread the gospel of peace to the world in the face of harm, conflicts, anxiety, natural catastrophes, and difficult circumstances. The world appreciates Bangladesh and the Bangla language as a result of their tremendous sacrifice. One of Bangladesh’s greatest accomplishments during its 50 years of independence is that it continues to hold the top spot among nations participating in UN peacekeeping missions. I think back on the Bangladeshi peacekeepers who helped maintain world peace on the 34th with thanks, love, and modest respect.

As a result, the UN’s conventional missions of only military activities were changed and expanded to include complicated multi-dimensional responsibilities encompassing peacekeeping, peace enforcement, peacebuilding, etc. 2010 saw the start of a phase of consolidation for UN peacekeeping operations, and the number of missions started to fall.

When we look at all of the UN missions, we can see that, geographically, 31 missions (or 44 percent) were launched in Africa, 20 in Asia (10 of which were in the Middle East), and the remaining 20 in Europe and South America. 59 of the 71 missions were successfully completed (as per UN data).

Out of the 12 missions still in existence, five have been ongoing for decades with no end in sight. The High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO), established in 2015, was one of the most recent efforts by the UN to assess its peace operations in order to meet the expanding needs.

In spite of its 1988 soldier contribution, Bangladesh joined the UN late but has now established itself as a reliable member. Since 1988, Bangladesh has sent approximately 175,000 uniformed people, including more than 1,800 female peacekeepers, on 54 peacekeeping operations to 40 different nations across 5 continents.

Over 7,000 soldiers and police are now serving in 10 operations (as per data from the Armed Forces Division). The majority of Bangladesh’s peacekeepers were stationed in Africa. In many UN peacekeeping missions, including those in Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, etc., Bangladeshi peacekeepers have endured a variety of challenging circumstances while steadfastly upholding the UN flag. Bangladesh constantly evaluates the effectiveness of its peacekeepers and takes action to address upcoming difficulties as the UN peacekeeping missions continue to evolve.

From the lessons learned, services and the police have created the best practices. To promote peace operations training, Bangladesh founded the Bangladesh Peace-building Centre (BPC) in 2016 and the Institute of Peace Support Operations Training (BIPSOT) in 1999.

Through their outstanding participation in UN peacekeeping missions, the Armed Forces of Bangladesh and our police force have raised the profile of Bangladesh on the international scene. In 2002, Sierra Leone made Bengali its official language in appreciation for the knowledge and professionalism Bangladeshi personnel brought to the country’s peacekeeping mission.

Experts and academics have debated Bangladesh’s ranking as one of the top soldier contributors to UN peacekeeping missions. Some claim that Bangladesh gains diplomatic and political prestige as well as economic and institutional advantages from participating in UN peacekeeping operations. Several people feel that Bangladesh’s participation has improved civil-military ties in the nation. However, Bangladesh’s participation in UN peacekeeping is a continuation of its international responsibilities. Along with its military successes, Bangladesh has gained international recognition for its proactive and constructive participation, which has benefited its political and diplomatic standing with the UN and other international actors.

It is appreciable that the nation will maintain giving as long as UN peacekeeping missions are in place. However, it’s important to enhance and consolidate the improvements made.

Numerous suggestions had been made in numerous articles, both at the macro and micro levels. Let’s concentrate on four areas (a few may be repetitive in different forms). First, we need a clear national policy on UN peacekeeping deployments that outlines strategic goals and coordinates the involvement of diverse parties. Two professors thoroughly discussed this in 2017 (Prof. Rashed Uz Zaman, Dhaka University and Prof. Niloy Ranjan Biswas, Dhaka University).

Second, it is necessary to redefine and coordinate the duties of numerous stakeholders, including ministries, the military, the police, think tanks, and training facilities. It seems sense that when national policy is created, this would be included, but it needs to be addressed right away. There is little engagement with police at home, notwithstanding the Armed Forces Division’s coordination of service roles. However, all deployments are supervised and coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Defence Wing of Bangladesh’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Internationally renowned BIPSOT does a great job of providing operational training to the peacekeepers.

To achieve national goals in UN peacekeeping deployments, the roles of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Bangladesh Peace-Building Center (BPC) need to be clarified and ramped up.

Thirdly, as was previously mentioned, the modern period of peacekeeping includes a variety of players and civilian faces in addition to the military and police. They include administrators, economists, lawyers, election observers, human rights monitors, experts in civil affairs and government, aid workers, experts in communication and public information, and more. According to reports, Bangladesh’s involvement in these fields is minimal. We have capable individuals, but we require governmental or diplomatic backing. Additionally, there is still a need for equitable representation at the leadership level.

Last but not least, it is imperative to document Bangladesh’s outstanding performance in UN peacekeeping missions because if it is not, historical events like the 1971 Liberation War and the counterinsurgency operations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts will be forgotten. The academic conversation about Bangladesh’s role in UN peacekeeping operations is seldom audible. It is encouraging to note that numerous peacekeepers have begun to write about their experiences, and a few of them are even conducting studies. Organizations occasionally host seminars and symposiums while also producing periodicals. The involvement of Bangladesh in UN peacekeeping operations is being studied by scholars. It makes sense that these efforts ought to be organized and publicly stated. This should be funded by more academics and professionals.

Defense soldiers from Bangladesh have recently completed some crucial tasks, notably when a group of militants captured the Holey Artisan eatery in Gulshan, Dhaka. With extraordinary bravery and competence, Bangladeshi army commandos took control of the situation, killed all the insurgents, and freed the prisoners who had survived the seizure. This incident has once again shown how important our armed forces are to maintaining domestic order and peace as well as protecting our nation from both internal and external opponents’ subversive operations. Without the active involvement of our capable military services and other law and order forces, we cannot achieve our development goals.

Schools, colleges, and universities are only a few of the educational institutions that are managed by Bangladesh’s military forces throughout the nation. Through various training programs, all of these institutions give their students up-to-date education that enhances their knowledge and abilities. These schools operate according to stringent disciplinary rules to guarantee openness and efficiency at all levels for the intellectual development of its pupils. Many students who graduated from institutions under the authority of the military today enjoy successful professional jobs in both the public and commercial sectors.

We take great pride in the fact that our independent nation is always protected by the hardworking members of our armed forces. The recognition that members of our armed services have earned on a global scale also makes us happy and proud. We would like to end by sending our sincere best wishes to Bangladesh’s police and armed personnel.

A quote from former US President Lyndon B. Johnson that goes, “Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time,” seems fitting to use as a closing statement.

Samina Akhter
Samina Akhter
Samina Akhter is a Dhaka, Bangladesh based activist, analyst, writer and columnist.