Thank you, Ambassador Zhang Jun. I commend you and all co-chairs, my good friends, Amb. Ronaldo, Valentine and Koba, for your leadership and timely initiative to form this Group of Friends on Safety and Security of the Peacekeepers. Bangladesh is very pleased to join this group.
It is also good to have USG Lacroix, USG Michaud and ASG Buttenheim with us today, and I thank them for their comprehensive briefings.
With around 7000 of our men and women in blue helmets deployed in various complex conflict zones, we cannot stress more the importance of this issue. Many of our peacekeepers lost their lives in the course of their duties, while many others continue to suffer from trauma and injury caused by attacks.
We therefore, greatly welcome this initiative, which we hope can serve as a platform to facilitate and complement efforts to ensure the safety and security of our peacekeepers in mission.
We welcome the increased attention to this issue among relevant stakeholders. We thank you, Amb. Jun for your leadership leading to the adoption of a Security Council resolution on the subject last year. That was an important advancement. We are also happy to see constructive recommendations in this year’s C 34 report. This issue needs to be on the table at all times.
Peacekeeping personnel are increasingly facing attacks from non-state actors, many of whom possess modern and sophisticated technology, and can easily outsmart the peacekeepers. And they are increasingly facing many other non-traditional threats. The COVID 19 pandemic has also impacted the wellbeing and safety of the peacekeepers.
We cannot expect quality performance from our peacekeepers without addressing the fundamental issue of their safety.
Much of what I had to say has been covered by previous speakers. But allow me to reiterate some of our priorities:
First: Given the complex political and security environments, it is important that the peacekeeping missions remain agile and effective in implementing their mandates, for which they must be provided with critical capabilities.
Secondly: [Linked to that is] Situational awareness. Measures need to be taken to strengthen and improve information acquisition and analysis capacities, including surveillance and monitoring capacities, within the limits of the mandate and area of operation.
Thirdly: The UN needs to enhance support to improved training and capacity building activities among member states, including TPCCs. Peacekeepers need specialized training to face the emerging threats such as the use of IEDs. I thank USG Lacroix for giving us an update on the plans and measures being taken in this regard.
Fourth: Operational health support needs is an area that must be further augmented. Taking lessons from the pandemic, we need to incorporate in the peacekeeping mandates better preparedness to tackle health emergencies. Adequate medical facilities should be provided and qualified personnel should be deployed in the field.
We cannot anymore ignore the issue of mental health, particularly PTSD faced by many peacekeepers, including women who are involved in handling victims of sexual violence in conflict. We need to develop a comprehensive strategy to address this growing phenomenon.
Finally: the attacks against the peacekeepers must be accounted for. We are happy to see this element being reflected in SG’s Action for Peacekeeping Plus as one of the seven priorities. Accountability is key, as Amb. Valentine also underlined. Engagement with host states is critical in this regard. Efforts should be taken to facilitate safe access and freedom of movement for UN peacekeepers and their equipment, including for casualty and medical evacuation.
Excellencies, Bangladesh shall constructively engage, and support the Group in every possible way, in all its endeavors.
I thank you.