UN increases Bangladeshi peacekeepers

At least an additional contingent of 600 Bangladesh troops will join the United Nations peacekeeping operations soon.

Lovlu Ansar New Yorkbdnews24.com
Published : 10 May 2013, 10:26 PM
Updated : 11 May 2013, 09:23 AM

That will take the total strength of the Bangladesh troops in the UN peace-keeping operations close to 9,500.

At the moment, there are 8,826 Bangladesh soldiers and officers serving the UN in various conflict zones of the world.

The salaries of the peacekeepers have also been hiked by 6.75 percent, according to a UN communication.

So, Bangladesh will directly benefit from both these decisions since it is the single largest contributor of peacekeepers in UN missions.

Bangladesh’s Permanent Envoy to the UN, AKA Momen informed bdnews24.com of the decisions on Friday night.

Momen, presiding over the current session, said a new UN mission will be introduced in Mali under resolution number 2100 of the Security Council. A total 12,640 peacekeepers will be needed there -- 11,200 troops and 1,440 policemen.

“Already 7,500 have been recruited from various African nations and at least 600 troops will be taken from Bangladesh,” Momen said.

Bangladeshi peacekeepers have always been highly praised in UN missions for their sense of duty and tact. Prime minister had urged for the deployment of more peacekeepers from Bangladesh and a hike in their salaries.

Dr Momen said this is why the UN is keen to take more and more peacekeepers from Bangladesh.

He said a proposal to hike the peacekeepers’ salaries and allowances by 6.75 percent has also been accepted in the General Assembly. The decision is being implemented from last April.

A total 112,776 peacekeepers from 116 countries are currently working in the UN’s 16 missions in four continents. Bangladesh has the highest number of 8,826 peacekeepers.

He said the salaries of other UN officials had increased by 57 percent since 1991. Momen said no one had paid attention to increasing the salaries of those who endanger their lives to secure peace.

According the decision, those working in ‘most dangerous’ places would get 10 percent extra payment.

In 2010, a proposal was given to hike the salaries and perks of the Bangladeshi peacekeepers. Pakistan, Nigeria and Uruguay endorsed the proposal.

The following year, permanent envoys to five countries put forth the proposal in the G-77 summit and got support. However, it was cancelled on June 30 the same year as the proposal to hike the peacekeepers’ payments was not accepted.

Afterwards, $85 million was raised on an ad-hoc basis for the peacekeepers the same year. In 2012, $60 million was raised on an ad-hoc basis.

United Nation’s Secretary General formed a high-level committee when he was requested to permanently hike the salaries. The committee had members from countries who contribute most to peacekeeping manpower -- Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Uruguay.

The committee proposed a hike in payment which was passed in the General Assembly on May 10.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher