Bangladesh earns $500M From United Nations Peacekeeping annually

UN peacekeepers from BD

Bangladeshi UN peacekeeping forces engaged at various trouble-torn areas of the world are earning nearly Taka 38 billion (some $500 million) a year as pay and allowances, experts said on Saturday.

"It is not the earning, but the participation in the world peacekeeping through improvement in professionalism is important," a retired senior officer of Bangladesh army told the FE.

"Hard work of course gives some return in the form of cash," said the officer who had participated in such a blue helmet operation of the United Nations few years ago.

The earnings by the peacekeeping forces also supplement the remittances sent by some seven million expatriate workers, which amounts to nearly Taka 912 billion ($12 billion) annually, officials of the ministry of Expatriates'

Welfare and Overseas employment said.

Bangladeshi security forces, equipped with weapons, armoured vehicles, tanks, helicopters and other necessary logistics join the peacekeeping missions on requests from the United Nations.

"The exact figures of earnings or other details of the peacekeeping could be available from the armed forces division," Begum Khaleda Pervin, joint secretary of the ministry of defence told the FE without giving details.

Officials of the armed forces division were not available on the phones immediately.

Bangladesh is contemplating to send more troops to the blue helmet operations of the United Nations as UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon unfurled an $8 billion peacekeeping programme for the next one year at the recent general assembly of the world body.

The UN peacekeeping budget for the past year was $7.2 billion, UN website General Assembly Adopts Peacekeeping Budget of $7.2 Billion for Financial Year 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 said.

Members of army, navy, air force, police and elite force Rapid Action Battalion are generally drawn in to the UN peacekeeping missions of Bangladesh.

"By participating in peacekeeping missions we can contribute to world peace, raise image of the nation and can help earn foreign exchange for the country as well," Nasima Mohsin, another senior official of the defence ministry told the FE.

Bangladeshi participants have already earned laurels as disciplined and hard working troops, for which the United Nations also gives top priority to Bangladesh for hiring peacekeeping troops, officials of the foreign ministry said.

"To attain confidence of the member countries of the United Nations, Bangladeshi peacekeepers had to sacrifice a lot," said an army officer.

More than 100 Bangladeshi soldiers were killed in ambush, encounters and accidents since the country started making contributions to the UN blue helmet operations since 1988, the officials said.

As many as nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed in a single ambush in Congo in February 2005 at Ituri, one of Congo's worst troubles spots, where ethnic militias have killed 50,000 civilians since 1999.

Prime Minister Hasina told the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24 that " Bangladesh is partnered in many of the UN endeavours for peace, democracy and development which demonstrates the country's strong commitment to conflict resolution."

Prime Minister Hasina informed the UN General Assembly that the country so far contributed 102,294 peacekeepers to 52 missions in 36 countries including the UN's first-ever women police unit in Haiti.

"Some 103 Bangladeshi valiant peacekeepers sacrificed their lives for the cause of world peace," she informed the UN general assembly

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