The posthumous award of Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to 12 Bangladeshi peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO) abroad is a great honour for the country and for the family of those soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for establishing peace in the world. Bangladesh has been playing a significant role in international peacekeeping of the UN in different countries since 1988. Bangladesh’s first deployments came in 1988, when it participated in two operations - UNIIMOG in Iraq and UNTAG in Namibia.
Since then, the Bangladesh Army has been involved in over thirty different UNPKO's covering as many as twenty-five countries. This has included activities in Namibia, Cambodia, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Haiti, Tajikistan, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Congo, and Côte d'Ivoire. Bangladesh has sent personnel to at least 45 UNPKO and more than 83,000 Bangladeshis served in those missions. The country has earned remarkable fame in all the countries where they served as UN Peacekeepers. So far, 146 peacekeepers from Bangladesh have lost their lives on duty while serving UN Peace Operations in various parts of the world.The UN Secretary-General established the Dag Hammarskjöld medal in December 2000 as a posthumous award to members of peacekeeping operations. Each year on Peacekeeper's Day, this medal is awarded at a ceremony at UN HQ to the Member State who has lost one or more military or police peacekeepers.
Every soldier makes a pledge to make the supreme sacrifice if necessary for the sake of the Motherland when he enters military service. But in today’s strife-filled world it is unique to give up life for peace in another part of the world. Though these soldiers died in far off lands but the cause was greater than the individual; it was for the sake of the country and for world peace.
According to Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN Secretary-General in whose memorial the Medal is named, “The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.” Likewise, we must never forget those who laid down their lives for the sake of peace in the world.