Brand Bangladesh as powerful peace promoting country: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday asked the Bangladeshi peacekeepers to discharge duties accordingly as establishing peace was a noble task, urging them to brand Bangladesh a powerful peace promoting country.

“We expect you will establish Bangladesh as powerful peace promoting country and uphold the dignity of its flag. You have to discharge duty with professionalism, honesty, sincerity and dedication as promoting global peace is a noble task,” she said.

The prime minister was addressing a function as the chief guest marking the “International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers-2022,” held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here.

She joined the function virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence in city.

The prime minister pledged to play a more effective role in establishing global peace keeping in mind this year’s theme “People Peace Progress: The power of partnerships”.

She said ensuring global peace is now much more challenging than the past considering the world’s contemporary perspective and the fast spreading technology while vested quarters of states and non-states are becoming new threats with advancement.

“For that reason, the peacekeepers in UN peacekeeping missions have to face multifaceted and critical situations. We’re preparing our peacekeepers with appropriate training and equipment to face the new challenges in the peacekeeping missions,” she said.

The prime minister expressed her gratitude to the Bangladeshi peacekeepers as they brightened the country’s image through their humanitarian and social works alongside the peacekeeping tasks.

In this connection, she recalled that every heads of the governments and states have highly praised the works of Bangladeshi peacekeepers, in where they went, for their outstanding contribution to promoting peace.

“You have restored the confidence and trust of the local people by extending your humanitarian and social works while you have freed many critical places. As a nation, we’re proud of you,” Sheikh Hasina said.

The premier also exchanged views remotely with some of the Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers working at different UN peacekeeping missions abroad.

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq, Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed, and Military Adviser to UN Peace Operations Department General Birame Diop, spoke on the occasion while UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis gave the address of welcome.

On behalf of the prime minister, the law minister handed over awards to family members of the two deceased peacekeepers and 14 injured peacekeepers at the function to recognise their noble sacrifice in establishing global peace.

A bravery award was also handed over to a peacekeeper.

At the outset of the programme, a one minute silence was observed to show respect to the peacekeepers who sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of promoting global peace.

A short video documentary was also screened at the function on Bangladesh’s 34 years journey in the UN peacekeeping missions.

Stating that Bangladesh’s effective participation in the UN missions has consolidated its position in establishing world peace, Sheikh Hasina said, “At the same time, it has been playing an important role in development of our diplomatic relations with militarily powerful countries.”

In addition, the premier said that Bangladesh peacekeepers have been earning huge foreign currencies which are contributing to the national economy.

Describing Bangladesh as one of the major troops contributing countries in UN peacekeeping missions, she said currently 75,516 peacekeepers from 121 countries have been deployed in the UN peacekeeping missions.

“Of them, 6,825 peacekeepers including 519 women are from Bangladesh, which is 9.2 percent of the total peacekeepers deployed in the peacekeeping missions. The participation of Bangladeshi women is increasing gradually,” she said.

The prime minister said the UN secretary general personally requested her to increase female troops in the missions.

She said Bangladeshi peacekeepers have successfully completed 55 missions in different countries, adding currently they are engaged in 13 missions.

In this connection, she said, “If required, Bangladesh is ready to send more troops in the UN peacekeeping missions.”

At present, Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Rabab Fatima is the chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, she added.

Recalling with due respect the Bangladeshi peacekeepers who made supreme sacrifice for the noble causes of world peace, she said 161 Bangladeshis lost their lives and 247 others got injured in the UN peacekeeping missions.

Two Bangladeshi peacekeepers received martyrdom in the last one year (till April last), she said and prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members.

The prime minister asked the Bangladeshi peacekeepers that included Bangladesh Army, Navy, Air Force and Police, to discharge duties in the missions accordingly keeping their lives protected.

She added: “Always keep in mind that self-confidence is the most important thing in discharging professional duties. So, you all should carry out your duties with confidence, if doing so, you will be successful.”

Sheikh Hasina mentioned that the world economy has been affected badly due to double blows of the Coronavirus pandemic and the war, saying, “We don’t want any conflict or war. We want peace be established across the globe.”

To this end, she said Bangladesh has always followed the foreign policy of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, “Friendship to all, and malice to none.”

The prime minister said Bangladesh has always been working for establishing peace, adding that the United Nations adopted a resolution titled “Culture of Peace” placed by Bangladesh in 1999.

She said her government had established the Peace Keeping Operation Training Centre in Bangladesh in 1999.

The centre later became a full-fledged institute titled “Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training-BIPSOT” in 2002, which is now considered as one of the world’s best training centers for peacekeepers, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh joined the peacekeeping missions as a member of the “Blue Helmet” family in 1988 and Today, Bangladesh is celebrating 34 years of its glory (membership) as one of the leading troops contributing countries to the UN peacekeeping missions.