Written by Diplomatic Correspondent
The United Nations (UN) has honored 12 fallen Bangladeshi peacekeepers who sacrificed their lives on duty in 2018 in various parts of the world to ensure global peace under the aegis of the UN peace operations.
The UN awarded ‘Dag Hammarskjold Medal’ to 119 fallen peacekeepers from 27 member states to honor their supreme sacrifice, among those fallen heroes, 12 were from Bangladesh... ...
The medals were awarded by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and received by the respective Permanent Representatives of the 27 countries at the special ceremony held in New York on May 24, marking the ‘International Day of the UN Peacekeepers’. The medals bear the name of Secretary General Hammarskjold.
Permanent Representative (PR) of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Masud Bin Momen received the medals on behalf of Bangladesh. Defense Advisor of this Mission Brigadier General Khan Firoz Ahmed, relevant other officers from the Mission and officers from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Police working at the UN Headquarters were also present.
The Permanent Mission made special arrangements to send the medals to the family members of the 12 fallen peacekeepers of Bangladesh.
The fallen peacekeepers of Bangladesh who posthumously received the 'Dag Hammarskjold Medals' are: Private Arzan Howlader, Private Md Ripul Miah, Private Mohammad Jamal Uddin, Warrant Officer Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, Private Mohammad Rayhan Ali, Lance Corporal Mohammad Akter Hossain, Private Mohammad Rasheduzzaman, Private Md Zane Alam, Private Md Motiar Rahman, Private Md Monjur Ali, Lance Corporal Md Mizanur Rahaman and Lieutenant Commander Md Ashraf Siddiqui.
The UN chief laid floral wreath in honor of all fallen peacekeepers at the Peacekeepers Memorial Site in the North Lawn of the UNHQs.
In his speech, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “Today, we honor 119 brave men and women who lost their lives while serving the United Nations. Hailing from different backgrounds, our fallen heroes were united in their efforts to help the UN attain its most important objective – to save future generations from the scourge of war."
"It is inscribed with his name as well their own – forever linking them in our hearts and in our memories," he added.
The Secretary General offered his highest tributes to the fallen peacekeeper and put his sincere condolence to their loved ones left behind.
The UN Under Secretary General of Department of Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Under Secretary General of Department of Operational Support Atul Khare also spoke at the event.
The congregation paid respect to the departed souls by observing one-minute silence.
Permanent Representatives, senior diplomats, officials of the Arms Forces and Police from several member states and high-level UN officials participated the solemn ceremony.
The global theme for this year’s commemoration is: ‘Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace.’
While the day was marked at UNHQ on May 24, UN missions and offices around the world commemorated the Day on May 29.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
The General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.
It is noted that Bangladesh is the second largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping.
It currently deploys more than 6,600 military and police personnel in nine peacekeeping missions in Abyei, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
So far, 146 peacekeepers from Bangladesh have lost their lives on duty while serving UN Peace Operations in various parts of the world.