Is there a new plot against Bangladeshi peacekeepers?

Is there a new plot against Bangladeshi peacekeepers?
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News Desk

Bangladesh is an important partner in UN peacekeeping operations around the world. For 37 years, the Bangladeshi blue helmets have been working together with the United Nations to establish peace and security in various conflict-ridden countries around the world.

Experts believe that a group has recently started efforts to exclude Bangladeshi members from the UN peacekeeping missions. The recent sanctions against a former army chief and a campaign in foreign media questioning the peacekeepers could be part of this, they say.

Security analysts, however, assert that while there may be allegations against one or two, the legal process will need to prove them. Raising such allegations cannot exclude Bangladeshi peacekeepers from UN operations. This process is not so simple, but very complicated.

Currently, more than 6,000 Bangladeshi peacekeepers are participating in several missions to promote world peace.

Since 1988, about 200,000 Bangladeshi peacekeepers have completed their missions in 43 countries around the world.

Furthermore, in the mission area, 168 Bangladeshi peacekeepers lost their lives in conflict and hostile situations, while 266 sustained injuries.

According to 2023 data from the Public Relations Department of the Armed Forces, more than 87,000 peacekeepers from 125 countries are serving in 12 UN peacekeeping operations. Among these, Bangladesh is the country that sends the highest number of peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping operations.

In 1988, an observation team of 15 members of the Bangladesh Army joined the Iraq-Iran peacekeeping operation. As a result, Bangladesh began working on the peacekeeping mission under the United Nations flag.

A year later, in 1989, Bangladesh Police joined the UN peacekeeping operation in Namibia. In 1993, the Bangladesh Navy began UN peacekeeping operations in Mozambique, and the Bangladesh Air Force began operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Since then, the Armed Forces and Bangladesh Police have established a solid reputation in peacekeeping missions for 37 years. Due to its professional attitude, contribution, and sacrifice, Bangladesh has also consolidated its position as the top peacekeeping sending country in UN peacekeeping missions.

A day after US sanctions against former army chief General Aziz Ahmed and his family, a German-based media outlet published a report on the Bangladesh Army and RAB.

The report alleged that Bangladesh, like Sri Lanka, sent human rights violators involved in torture and killings to the UN peacekeeping missions. In that report, the producer added the statements of some unidentified law enforcement officers.

General Aziz has described the US sanctions as unfortunate and stated that they will have no impact. He believes the US has taken action in response to the Al-Jazeera documentary “All the Prime Minister’s Men”. It was aired on February 1, 2021, when General Aziz was the sitting chief of army staff.

On February 17 of the same year, the High Court ordered the government to remove the documentary from all online and communication media. The order came following a hearing on a writ petition. General Aziz retired after four months on June 24.

Security analyst Major General (Retd) Mohammad Ali Shikder told that there could be allegations against anyone. Everywhere, there could be one or two criminals, or there may be none. “But just because there is a complaint against someone does not mean that it is right. That may not be correct.”

He said that if there are any criminals among the Bangladeshi peacekeepers, it may be a handful. Unless proven by a legal process, a charge against someone does not necessarily imply an accusation or guilt. As per international law, a complaint against someone does not necessarily mean that the person is guilty.

“Those who are raising the questions are not giving any source. This is a purely speculative allegation,” he added.

These vested quarters do not seem to have an idea of how the UN peacekeepers are deployed, what the process is, or who works here. If they are aware of these things, they are purposefully raising the issue to degrade Bangladesh.

Major General Shikder also said that Bangladesh is a member state of the United Nations. Bangladesh, as a member state, sends members of its security forces to peacekeeping missions.

There is a process for excluding a country. The aggrieved persons must go to the UN Security Council. A member state of the Security Council should then table the proposal to exclude a country. Subsequently, analysis and discussions will take place prior to the vote. Yet, if there is even one veto, the proposal will not pass.

“Bangladesh is not a friendless country. Bangladesh, too, has close ties with some countries that have veto power. So, we are sure that such a proposal will not be passed,” he told.

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