Bangladesh peacekeepers contribute $1 billion in 3 years

Thursday, April 26th 2012

Bangladesh’s 10,000 soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers have sent home close to $1 billion over the past three years. Bangladesh has over seven million oversees workers, who contribute to over 10 percent of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product.

10,000 Bangladeshi soldiers serve in 45 missions across the world

DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images: 10,000 Bangladeshi soldiers serve in 45 missions across the world

Bangladeshi soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers have sent home nearly $1 billion during the past three years, the country’s envoy to the UN said on Thursday.

Bangladesh is the biggest contributor to UN peacekeeping forces with more than 10,000 soldiers serving in 45 out of the global body’s 65 missions across the world. Pakistan and India follow Bangladesh in contribution.

As of March 31, 2012, there were 98,989 personnel working in 15 countries under the UN Peacekeeping operations.

Over the past three years, Bangladeshi peacekeepers sent home 75 billion taka ($917 million) to their families, said the country’s UN representative, Abdul Momen, according to a statement released in Dhaka.

Impoverished Bangladesh relies on remittances to help pay for its surging imports.

In 2010-11, the country’s seven-million-plus overseas workers sent home $11.6 billion — representing over 10 percent of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product.

Lucrative peacekeeping duties are hugely popular with Bangladesh’s armed forces, giving those who take up such jobs a chance to buy homes and save for retirement.

Experts say the possibility of landing UN peacekeeping postings are one of the key reasons why mid-ranking officers in Bangladesh’s powerful armed forces have lost the appetite for staging coups in recent decades.

Bangladesh has been hit by around 20 failed and successful coups since its independence in 1971, but most occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s when local soldiers did not have access to UN peacekeeping jobs.

In 2010, the Muslim-majority nation sent its first female peacekeepers — a 110-strong battalion of policewomen — to Haiti, and the UN envoy said the country could send more women to serve in UN missions.

During Ershad’s tenure as President of Bangladesh elected in 1986, the Bangladesh Army started its participation in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in 1988 for the very first time.

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