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United Nations and Bangladesh : 40 Years of Partnership

The UN Partnership with Bangladesh: An Enduring Commitment

The relationship between Bangladesh and the United Nations has its roots in the Bangladesh War of Independence. On 26 March, 1971 Bangladesh declared its independence from Pakistan and began an armed struggle for independence. As a result of the fighting, millions of people sought refuge in neighbouring India, and on 23 April the Government of India formally requested the United Nations to provide humanitarian assistance to the refugees.

UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, gravely concerned with the situation in the region, initiated a UNHCR-led humanitarian response, with assistance from WFP, UNICEF and FAO. It was agreed that the UN would oversee the administration of aid to the people of East Pakistan and in India. Between 1971 and 1973, the United Nations East Pakistan Relief Operation (UNEPRO), and the Relief Operations in Dacca (UNROD), (later renamed as Relief Operations in Bangladesh [UNROB]) shaped the relief effort, providing much-needed humanitarian assistance that saved many lives during and following the conflict.

Following a meeting of the Security Council on 21 December 1971, the fighting in Bangladesh ceased permanently. Security Council Resolution 307 (1971) called for a ceasefire, the repatriation of refugees, and relief operations in the region that continued to assist the most vulnerable.

The United Nations has been a reliable and trusted partner to the people of Bangladesh ever since. Please click on a year below to read more about the milestones that have shaped the UN-Bangladesh relationship: