Speech by the UN Resident Coordinator - International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2018

29 May 2018

International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2018

Speech by the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh

Ms. Mia Seppo

Date: 29 May 2018; Time: 1:05 pm-1:10pm

Venue: Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC)

Honorable President, H.E. Mr. Mohammad Abdul Hamid;

Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs;

The Chiefs of Army, Naval and Air Force Staff;

The Inspector General of Police;

Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division;

Excellencies and esteemed guests;

UN Peacekeepers, former UN Peacekeepers;

And families of the UN Peacekeepers who are present here;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

As'salaamu Alaikum, and good afternoon to all,

On behalf of the United Nations in Bangladesh, it is my privilege to be here today to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of UN Peacekeeping. At the same time, we celebrate a national milestone:  30 years of Bangladesh’s journey in UN Peacekeeping.

UN Peacekeeping is the embodiment of UN’s core mandate to relieve human suffering and maintain peace and security and an effective tool to respond to some of today’s most difficult global peace and security challenges.  

Honorable President,

Thirty years back, Bangladesh demonstrated its commitment to global peace and security. It started with 15 peacekeepers in the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) and has grown with Bangladesh today being the second largest troop contributing country which has successfully completed 54 missions in 40 countries including the world’s hotspots, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Darfur region of Sudan.

Women experience a disproportionate impact of any conflict and therefore, it is a must, that women are on equal and full participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. More women in peacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping and therefore we need more female peacekeepers - civilians, police and military.

Bangladesh is leading by example and has pledged to increase female troop participation by 15 percent. The 160 strong all-female police unit in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in 2015 and the country’s first two female combat pilots in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO)- are remarkable achievements.

I must also recognize here the invaluable service of the Bangladesh Army, the Border Guards and the Police in responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis, working closely with the UN and the broader humanitarian community to ensure safety, security and dignity of the refugees. I have met several Bangladeshi officials who have served in peacekeeping operations and I believe their skills and experiences are instrumental in the success of the complex response to the Rohingya crisis.  

Honorable President,

Bangladesh’s 30 years journey in UN Peacekeeping offers a wealth of experience and expertise. Institutions like the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT) are the cornerstones of success as well as a pathway to next generation peacekeeping. BIPSOT is a witness the country’s commitment to creating well-trained and professional peacekeepers, not only Bangladeshis but also peacekeepers from other troop contributing countries.

The world has changed and peacekeeping must change as well. Peacekeeping is improving and modernizing to address complex conflicts and new threats. Efforts are ongoing to improve performance, including through strategic reviews of our operations and special investigations.

As peacekeeping marks its 70th anniversary, the Secretary-General has launched a new initiative called “Action for Peacekeeping” (A4P) aimed at mobilizing all partners and stakeholders to support, improve and strengthen peacekeeping. Bangladesh is contributing to the global dialogue and BIPSOT hosted a workshop in February Changing role of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations – Challenges and Opportunities. The Secretary-General’s reform effort will make peacekeeping more flexible, smarter, nimble, efficient and accountable.

Honorable President,

Peacekeepers make great sacrifices. They serve at great personal risk and under harsh conditions. More than 3,700 have paid with their lives. The families of peacekeepers share that sacrifice. On behalf of the United Nations in Bangladesh, I applaud the blue helmets – women and men, from Bangladesh and everywhere for their service for peace. We remember and pay earnest tribute to the sacrifices and legacy of the fallen and the injured. Since June 2017, Bangladesh lost ten dedicated peacekeepers, and several others were injured in the services of peace.

With this mention, I pay my heartfelt tribute to the fallen heroes:

From the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):

  1. Sergeant Mohammad Altab Hossain
  2. Lance Corporal Jakirul Alam Sarkar
  3. Soldier Mohammad Monowar Hossain
  4. Warrant Officer Mohammad Abul Kalam
  5. Lance Corporal Mohammad Akter Hossain
  6. Soldier Mohammad Rayhan
  7. Soldier Mohammad Jamal Uddin
  8. Soldier Mohammad Rasheduzzaman.

And from The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):

  1. Lance Corporal Mohammad Mizanur Rahman
  2. Soldier Mohammad Monjur

I would like to end with a quote from the Secretary-General’s message on this day:

I quote:

“As we recognize a legacy of service and sacrifice around the world, I am also committed to taking action for peacekeeping — action to make our operations safer and more effective in today’s challenging environments.

We also are committed to reinforcing the important role our forces must play in promoting human rights and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.

United Nations peacekeeping is a proven investment in global peace, security and prosperity.

Together, let us pledge to do all we can to enable that mission to succeed.”

Unquote.

Thank you for listening.


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