Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) is about to replace its contingent at the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Air Chief Marshal Shaikh Abdul Hannan, chief of air staff of BAF, gave directives to the new contingent members at Dhaka Cantonment on Wednesday. The chief of air staff advised them to discharge their duties with discipline, honesty, professionalism and sincerity to bring a good reputation for BAF as well as for the country, said the Inter Services Public Relation Directorate. The chief of air staff also advised them to brighten the country's image by performing their duty cordially through respect, compassion and care for all irrespective of religion. Read more: Bangladesh Air Force stands ready for post-Sitrang response He also urged everyone to set an unprecedented example abroad by following various regulations of the UN. One hundred and ten of one contingent (Airfield Services and Management Unit) will go to Mali where BAF deployed necessary airfield and ground support equipment. Read more: BAF helicopters sent to UN peacekeeping mission in CAR
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday underscored empowerment of women saying that they are most vulnerable section of society and suffer most during any conflict and disaster. “It is beyond question that women are the most vulnerable section of the society, especially in the third world countries. They suffer from various forms of violence, malnutrition, illiteracy and other basic needs. Their plights multiply during any conflict and disaster,” she said. The premier said this while speaking at the inaugural session of two-day seminar on International Women Peace and Security. Armed Forces Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bangladesh Police organised the seminar at Army Multipurpose Complex in Dhaka Cantonment. She said that to address the peace and security issues of women, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution number 1,325 which established the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and Bangladesh is proud to be a part in formulating the resolution. Read more: Block militants' access to shelter, finance: PM to secretaries Hasina said that since its independence, Bangladesh has been working on promoting women in all spheres of national life. She said that the constitution of Bangladesh framed under the guidance of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman guarantees equal rights of women. She quoted the Article 28 (1) of the Constitution that says: The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Clause (2) of the same Article stipulates: Women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the State and of public life. The PM said that her government has formulated Women Policy 2011. Under the policy, it has taken measures to ensure women’s overall development and active participation in the mainstream socio-economic activities and remove all the impediments to their empowerment. Their increased participation and contribution in sectors like politics, administration, education, businesses, sports, armed forces have been transforming the socio-economic landscape of Bangladesh, she added. She mentioned that gender parity in Bangladesh has improved across all sectors due to greater participation of women in socio-economic and political activities. “Bangladesh is at the top position in gender equality among South Asian countries," she told the seminar. PM Hasina said that Bangladesh is a role model for women’s participation in peacekeeping, peace-building, disaster management, and preventing violent extremism. In this regard, she said that it was her government which opened the door for women to be recruited in armed forces during her first tenure in 1996. Read more: Complete ongoing prioritised projects: PM directs secretaries At present, she said, Bangladesh is the topmost contributor of female peacekeepers in UN peacekeeping missions. So far, a total of 704 female peacekeepers from Bangladesh Armed Forces have participated in UN peacekeeping operations. Currently 373 female members are deployed in different peacekeeping missions. “On the other hand, a total of 1,624 female police officers from Bangladesh Police have taken part in peacekeeping operations and 150 officers are currently working.” She also said that women in Bangladesh are now serving as government secretaries, judges of Supreme Court, VCs of Universities and top position of many organisations. Sheikh Hasina said that she is glad to know that the participants will interact with the Rohingyas, forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals from Rakhine state. “We have given them shelter on humanitarian grounds. We could understand their plights and miseries as we had to undergo similar experience and shocks during our War of Liberation in 1971. The interactive session, I hope, will be a great experience for the participants to understand the victims of war and conflict.” Read more: After Bangladesh assisted Sri Lanka with $200mn, many countries made similar requests: PM Stop Russia-Ukraine war: The Bangladesh leader made a fervent appeal to world leaders to bring Russia and Ukraine to dialogue to end their conflict. “I called upon the world leaders and also everybody please stop this Russia-Ukraine war," she said. "If there is any conflict between any countries it can be solved through dialogue and political discussion" she suggested. "We do not want any war. We do not want any human to become refugee. Because I have all that experience. Thats why we want peace.” The prime minister said that as the current chair of the Women, Peace and Security Chiefs of Defence Network that was launched by Bangladesh, Canada and the United Kingdom in November 2017, all are pledged bound to carry forward the WPS agenda. “Formulating National Action Plan 2019-2022 on WPS, we have been implementing it. We have decided that implementation of the National Action Plan will continue till 2025," she said. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen also spoke at the programme. Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman gave the welcome address.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep shock at the death of three peacekeepers from Bangladesh following the detonation of an explosive ordnance against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. “The Secretary-General is deeply saddened,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said in a statement on Wednesday. One peacekeeper remains in critical condition. The Secretary-General expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers and to the government and the people of Bangladesh. “He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.” The Secretary-General recalled that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. Read: UN in Bangladesh condoles tragic deaths of peacekeepers in CAR He called on the Central African authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack, so that they can be brought to justice swiftly. The Secretary-General called upon the Central African authorities to lift the restriction on night flights that negatively impacts the safety and security of peacekeepers who take considerable risks daily to support national authorities. The Secretary-General reaffirmed the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and government of the Central African Republic.
The US Embassy in Dhaka has applauded Bangladesh for the sacrifices it has made in being one of the world’s top contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. "It’s an opportunity to honor the thousands of Bangladeshis, who have for more than 30 years,helped maintain global peace," said the Embassy in a message marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Also read:PM: Peacekeepers brighten Bangladesh image abroad, ready to send more The US Embassy also shared a photo of Squadron Leader Nayma Haque who is one of Bangladesh’s first two female military helicopter pilots. She also served in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in DR Congo. The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour nearly 4,200 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 135 last year. Also read:International Day of UN Peacekeepers on Sunday The theme for this year’s Day is "People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships.”
Twelve international human rights organisations have written a letter to the United Nations Department of Peace Operations seeking a ban on Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from UN deployment for its alleged involvement in torture, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations. The letter was sent to UN Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) disclosed it on its website on Thursday. “Human rights organisations have documented widespread RAB abuses. UN human rights experts have also voiced concerns about allegations that members of the unit engaged in torture, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations,“ it said. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations has yet to provide a formal response to the letter which was sent privately over two months ago on November 8, 2021. “If Secretary General Guterres is serious about ending human rights abuses by UN peacekeepers, he will ensure that units with proven records of abuse like the Rapid Action Battalion are excluded from deployment,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “The evidence is clear; now it’s time for the UN to draw a line.” Read: Ensure quick services to expats, FM Momen asks DCs On December 10, the United States government designated RAB as a “foreign entity that is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse,” under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, according to HRW. On December 5, the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances voiced concerns that “members of RAB would be eligible to participate in UN peacekeeping operations, without any previous investigation into their alleged involvement in the commission of human rights abuses or a thorough vetting process.” The Working Group also said that officers involved in, or willing to tolerate, abuses “appear to be promoted and rewarded within the Bangladesh security and law enforcement forces,” it said. In March 2021, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said, “Allegations of torture and ill-treatment by the Rapid Action Battalion have been a long-standing concern.” In its concluding observations during Bangladesh’s 2019 review of its obligations under the Convention against Torture, the Committee against Torture stated that it is “concerned at reports that personnel that have served with the Rapid Action Battalion have frequently been deployed for service with United Nations peace missions.” Read: It’s done to alert, not to punish: US envoy about sanctions “The deployment of members of the RAB in peacekeeping operations reinforces a message that grave human rights abuses will not preclude one from service under the UN flag and increases the chances of human rights abuses being committed in UN missions,” said Louis Charbonneau, United Nations director at Human Rights Watch. “The UN should send a clear signal to host and troop-contributing countries that abusive units will not be part of the UN.” The organizations that signed the letter are-Amnesty International, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD),Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Asian Human Rights Commission, Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)Capital Punishment Justice Project, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, The Advocates for Human Rights and World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).
The two-day World Peace Conference ended in Dhaka on Sunday, emphasizing the importance of democracy, good governance and the rule of law as critical factors for global peace and stability. It underlined the need for social justice and inclusive development as central pillars of a stable, peaceful and equitable society. The conference valued the role played by national parliaments and local government institutions in giving voice to people’s legitimate demands and aspirations. Read:Let’s dream of a better world, FM Momen tells peace conference The representatives of governments, legislatures, academia, civil society and media, gathered here at the World Peace Conference from December 4-5 condemned colonialism, illegal occupation and unauthorized takeover of power under any pretexts. "We recognize the role of peace making, peace building and mediation to prevent and end conflicts," they said in "Dhaka Peace Declaration.” They commended the UN peacekeeping personnel for their dedication and services, and maintain faith in the agency of women and youth in ensuring peace and security.
As many as 140 members of Bangladesh Police working with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have been awarded the UN Medal for their outstanding contribution to the global peacekeeping operations. The medal was presented to the Bangladesh cops at the MINUSMA headquarters on September 21, where the mission's Police Commissioner General Bettina Patricia Bugani was present as the chief guest. Read: Dhaka underscores need for adequate funding of UN peacekeeping missions General Bettina praised the professionalism and dedication of Bangladesh Police in her speech. She said the members of BANFPU-1 have been very active in executing the mission mandate.
With the US and NATO forces almost at the end of their pullout, a Taliban regime seems more and more worrying for many inside particularly women. Many are now asking for a UN Peace Keeping force when the US and its allies leave. Right now, no such proposal apparently exists. Under the Taliban, women were not allowed to go to school, work outside the home or leave their house without a male escort. In the post –Taliban era, things have much improved but a return naturally is scary. The Associated Press reports that , 140 civil society and faith leaders from the U.S, Afghanistan and other countries have requested the U.S. President Joe Biden to call for a U.N. peacekeeping force “to ensure that the cost of U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan is not paid for in the lives of schoolgirls.” On May 8, a bomb in a Hazara school in Kabul on May 8 killed nearly 100 people, mostly young girls. Hazars are Shia minority unlike the Sunni dominated Taliban. READ: Bangladesh observes International Day of UN Peacekeepers The signatories are saying that the US had mentioned protecting women was part of the peace deal but now they are left vulnerable. In some ways, it shows the weakness of social movements across the globe. These Human rights groups are linked mostly to the US so as US declines so do thweir support bases. Sakena Yacoobi, a signatory says, “What the Taliban did in the 1990s was bad enough. What will they do now, with a generation of women taught to expect freedom? Help us save them. “ The Taliban position and the UN In April the Taliban promised that women “can serve their society in the education, business, health and social fields while maintaining correct Islamic hijab.” It promised girls would have the right to choose their own husbands, but offered few other details. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, expressing concern has called for a U.N. peacekeeping mission to deploy to Afghanistan “as soon as practically possible.” The letter to the U.S. ambassador said similar messages were being sent to other U.N. ambassadors from citizens in their countries asking for a peacekeeping operation. READ: Dhaka underscores need for adequate funding of UN peacekeeping missions A U.S. mission spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the call for a U.N. peacekeeping force. Instead, it was said that the Biden administration will continue to support Afghan forces and U.S. “diplomatic, humanitarian and economic engagement in the region.” The United Nations has a political mission in Afghanistan. A U.N. peacekeeping mission would have to be approved by the Security Council, where the five permanent members -- the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France -- have veto power. READ: Bangladesh reaffirms commitment to UN peacekeeping, peacebuilding That means both China and Russia has to agree to a Peacekeeping force so the chances are rather low. The US departure which now increasingly looks “hasty” and that is why the desperate Afghan voices are probably falling on deaf ears.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday said Bangladesh has been promoting a culture of peace following Bangabandhu’s philosophy through its leadership role in UN peacekeeping and peace building for sustainable peace and stability. He made the remarks while addressing the 4th Bangabandhu Lecture Series titled “Bangabandhu: the Soul of Bangladesh” at Foreign Service Academy in the city as the chief guest.
Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Rabab Fatima reiterated Bangladesh’s deep commitment to the peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts of the UN.