UN to honour 12 Bangladeshi peacekeepers

Staff Correspondent

23 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

The United Nations (UN) will honour 12 fallen peacekeepers from Bangladesh during observance of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers on Friday.

Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to honour all UN peacekeepers who lost their lives since 1948.

He will preside over a ceremony at which Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 119 military, police and civilian peacekeepers, who lost their lives in 2018 and early 2019.

Twelve fallen peacekeepers from Bangladesh are among those who will  be honoured posthumously this year for their supreme sacrifice to the cause of world peace. All of them will be awarded Dag Hammarskjold Medal.  The 12 Bangladeshi heroes are SNK Arzan Howlader and SNK Md Ripul Miah of UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic; SNK Mohammad Jamal Uddin, WO Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, SNK Mohammad Rayhan Ali, LCPL Mohammad Akter Hossain, and SNK Mohammad Rasheduzzaman of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali; SNK Md Zane Alam of UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo,  SNK Md Motiar Rahman, SNK Md Monjur Ali, LCPL Md Mizanur Rahaman and LCDR Md Ashraf Siddiqui of the UN Mission in South Sudan.

During a special ceremony, the UN Secretary-General will posthumously award “Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage” to Private Chancy Chitete of Malawi. The medal is named after a Senegalese peacekeeper who was killed in Rwanda in 1994 after saving countless civilian lives.

This is for the first time the medal will be awarded since the inaugural medal was presented to Captain Diagne’s family in his honour in 2016.

Private Chitete served with the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was killed last year while saving life of a fellow peacekeeper from Tanzania who was badly wounded during an operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which was aimed to stop attacks on local towns and to prevent the disruption of the Ebola response.

His comrade survived and Private Chitete’s heroism and sacrifice helped the peacekeepers achieve their objective in protecting civilians and forcing the ADF to withdraw from the area, said a press release issued by the UN.

Private Chitete’s family will receive the medal on his behalf during the Peacekeepers’ Day commemorations in New York.

In a video message to mark the UN Peacekeepers Day, the UN Secretary-General said: “Today we honour more than one million men and women who served as UN peacekeepers since launching of our first mission in 1948. We remember more than 3,800 personnel who paid the ultimate price. And we express our deepest gratitude to 1,00,000 civilians, police and military peacekeepers deployed around the world today and to the countries that contribute these brave and dedicated women and men.” 

Bangladesh is the second largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping.  It currently deploys more than 6,600 military and police personnel to nine peacekeeping missions in Abyei, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.

The global theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace’. In his message, the Secretary-General’s said: “This year, the United Nations marks 20 years since the UN Security Council first mandated a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians. Peacekeepers protect men, women and children from violence every day, often at great personal risk.”

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said: “UN Peacekeeping deploys to some of the most complex and difficult places, protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable. We are working in partnership with member states to implement the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative to strengthen peacekeeping, including to improve how we protect civilians, which is at the heart of our work. For hundreds of millions, peacekeeping is the last best hope and it needs all our support.”

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 to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

The UN 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 Organisation (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.