Dhaka reiterates its commitment to civilians’ protection

Dhaka reiterates its commitment to civilians’ protection

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Dhaka-State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Saturday reaffirmed that Bangladesh is committed to protecting civilians as an integral part of her contribution to UN peacekeeping operations.He made the remark at the UN Security Council, according to a message received here from New York.
The State Minister was taking part at an open debate on “Protecting Civilians in the context of UN Peacekeeping Operations” at the invitation of Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development of France and President of the Council for the month.
Alam said Bangladesh considered protection of civilians to be something more fundamental to peacekeeping than mere mandate implementation. “For us, it is unacceptable that civilians would come under armed attacks where our peacekeepers are deployed.”
He reiterated Bangladesh’s wish to remain one of the first responders to the UN’s call for troop and police. “We believe that as a leading troop contributing country, we should lead by example and at times venture into untested territories in the interest of maintaining international peace and security”.
The open debate at the Security Council Chamber was presided over by the French Foreign Minister and was briefed, among others, by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadera and ICRC President Peter Maurer.
As many as 24 Ministerial delegations, including from Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Senegal, Ukraine, Nepal, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, Cyprus, Argentina and Rwanda took part in the Open Debate.
Later, State Minister Alam attended a Ministerial Meeting on “Peacekeeping in Africa” convened by the French Foreign Minister at the International Peace Institute (IPI).
In his remarks, the State Minister highlighted Bangladesh’s role in African peacekeeping missions as well as the possible new areas where Bangladesh could work in closer partnership with the African Union and other sub-regional organisations.
Alam mentioned that till date 1,23,960 Bangladeshi peacekeepers served in various peacekeeping missions in Africa, while 112 lost their lives. Currently, there are around 6,500 Bangladeshi peacekeepers deployed in Africa, including 798 police.
The State Minister said Bangladesh would continue to prepare its troop and police to face the emerging, multi-dimensional challenges of peacekeeping in Africa, as witnessed in Mali and Central African Republic.
The UN Secretary General and other Ministers speaking at the event discussed various aspects of UN’s contribution to peacekeeping and peace building in Africa.
Concerns were raised by the growing threats posed by certain terrorist groups and the attacks against peacekeepers launched by different non-state parties to conflicts.
On the sidelines of the meetings, State Minister Alam exchanged views on issues of common interest with the Ministers from Japan and the Netherlands.

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