Bangladesh's stellar role in UN peacekeeping must not be undermined

Bangladesh's journey in UN peacekeeping stands as a testament to unwavering dedication, professionalism, and sacrifice. The nation's commitment to global peace and security is evident in its consistent troop deployments and active participation in the international discourse on peacekeeping.

Shabnam Sultana Jun 05, 2024
Representational Photo

Bangladesh has a distinguished history in United Nations peacekeeping missions dating back to 1988 when it first deployed uniformed personnel to serve with the UN Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG). Over the past three decades, the contributions of these brave men and women have been immense, with Bangladesh emerging as one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations globally.

Bangladesh's commitment to global peace and security is deeply rooted in its constitution, reflecting the nation's hard-won freedom and its dedication to global peace. This commitment is not merely a duty but a moral responsibility, driven by empathy for those suffering from conflict. Bangladesh’s history of struggle fuels its dedication to international peace efforts, a genuine desire to contribute to a more peaceful world. Since its first mission, Bangladesh has successfully completed 54 peacekeeping missions in 40 countries worldwide. More than 175,000 Bangladeshi peacekeepers, including over 1,800 female personnel, have served in UN missions across five continents. Currently, around 7,000 military and police personnel from Bangladesh are engaged in 10 missions.

Bangladeshi peacekeepers, admired for their professionalism, dedication, and bravery, go beyond peacekeeping. They provide vital post-conflict support through humanitarian assistance, medical aid, engineering, and civil affairs, contributing to peace and security efforts in countries like Sierra Leone, East Timor, and beyond.

Establishment of BIPSOT

Further demonstrating its commitment to excellence, Bangladesh established the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT) in 2002. BIPSOT provides specialized training tailored to various peacekeeping tasks, ensuring Bangladeshi peacekeepers are well-prepared to handle complex situations.
However, this commitment is not without sacrifice. Bangladesh has mourned the loss of over 144 peacekeepers, and 247 have sustained major injuries in the line of duty. The international community has honored these sacrifices, with 128 peacekeepers receiving the prestigious Dag Hammarskjöld Medal posthumously. These brave individuals exemplify Bangladesh’s unwavering dedication to global peace and security, serving as a poignant reminder of the dangers peacekeepers face daily.

Despite facing overwhelming odds, Bangladeshi peacekeepers have consistently demonstrated remarkable bravery and determination. Their discipline and humanity earned them high praise in Cambodia (1992-1993). In Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995), they showed remarkable resilience despite being under-equipped. Their unwavering commitment has often transcended the bare maintenance of peace and security, significantly contributing to the rebuilding of war-torn communities.

Recognition for Bangladesh

Bangladesh's contributions have not gone unrecognized. In 2018, the nation was awarded the UN Peacekeeping Prize for its outstanding service in South Sudan. Additionally, high-ranking UN officials, host governments, and military experts have lauded Bangladeshi peacekeepers for their contributions. Sierra Leone, for instance, pledged to declare Bangla an honorary language, and several schools were named Sierra Leone–Bangladesh Friendship School. Similarly, a street in the Ivorian city of Danané was named Bangladesh Road.

Bangladesh has played a critical role in some of the most challenging UN peacekeeping missions. From 2013 to 2017, It was the largest troop contributor to the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In 2015, Bangladesh made history by assembling the world’s first all-female Muslim peacekeeping unit which served in the Republic of Haiti. This pioneering initiative shattered gender barriers and showcased the exceptional capabilities and determination of Bangladeshi women in peacekeeping.

Disservice to peacekeepers

While Bangladesh boasts a remarkable record, unsubstantiated claims of human rights violations have recently surfaced. Bangladesh vehemently rejects these claims, confident in the UN's vetting procedures that ensure the professionalism and ethical conduct of its peacekeepers. Notably, Deutsche Welle (DW) did not seek comments from the Bangladesh Army regarding the allegations presented in its documentary. This lack of balanced reporting raises concerns about the aim and objective of the documentary. It appears that the documentary was focused on defaming a law-enforcing agency in Bangladesh by showing irrelevant video footage. Such biased media projections compromise the credibility of the documentary and raise questions about the motives behind it.

Bangladesh remains steadfast in its commitment to enhancing its involvement in UN peacekeeping missions. This commitment was reaffirmed during the visit of the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations at the United Nations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, to Bangladesh on June 25, 2023. This visit is expected to strengthen the partnership between Bangladesh and the UN, opening new opportunities for Bangladeshi peacekeepers to serve in more diverse and complex missions.

Bangladesh's journey in UN peacekeeping stands as a testament to unwavering dedication, professionalism, and sacrifice. The nation's commitment to global peace and security is evident in its consistent troop deployments and active participation in the international discourse on peacekeeping. Recent attempts to discredit this legacy are unsubstantiated and do a disservice to the peacekeepers who risk their lives for global stability. By rejecting baseless accusations and honoring the sacrifices made by Bangladeshi peacekeepers, we reaffirm our shared commitment to a more peaceful and stable world.

(The author is a graduate student at Bangladesh University of Professionals. Views are personal. She can be contacted at

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