Thursday, 3 December 2020

Bangladesh and the United Nations


Bangladesh and the United Nations have a deep relationship. Bangladesh is one of the largest military donors in the world.

Diplomatic representation 

Bangladesh is represented by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. which is headed by the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations. Rabab Fatima is the current Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations. Bangladesh's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva represents matters of interest to the organs of the Geneva-based United Nations. Bangladesh is represented by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Vienna.


During the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971, the United Nations and its agencies brought relief to Bangladesh. The United Nations provided assistance to Bangladeshi refugees in the war of liberation. During the 26th session of the UN General Assembly, the provincial government of Bangladesh sent an ambassador to the UN on 21 September 1971. In October 1971, a Bangladeshi envoy addressed the UN plaza and announced that the "liberation war had reached a point of no return". On 4 December 1971, Bangladesh was the first official representative to the United Nations. The World Health Organization , UNICEF and the World Food Program provided assistance to the refugees.  

On 16 July 1971, the United Nations established the East Pakistan Relief Program (UNEPRO). The operation was initially led by John R. Kelly and was later replaced by Paul Mackie Henry. On 16 November 1971, due to mismanagement, the operation was completely taken over by the United Nations from the civil administration of East Pakistan. This damaged the morale of government employees in the East Pakistan administration. After the independence of Bangladesh on 16 December 1971, the United Nations established the United Nations Relief Operations (UNRD) in Dhaka on 21 December. Which was directed by Robert Jackson. Which was upgraded to UN Relief Operations in Bangladesh (UNROB). The operation ended on December 31, 1983. 

UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim visited Bangladesh on 9 January 1973. The United Nations provided assistance for the reconstruction of Chalna Port (now Mongla Port ) after it was damaged in the liberation war of Bangladesh . The United Nations assisted in the repatriation of Bengalis detained in Pakistan in 1973 to Bangladesh. In 1972 and 1973, Bangladesh failed to become a member of the United Nations because China used its veto to prevent Pakistan from gaining full membership in Bangladesh. On September 1, 1974, Bangladesh became a full member of the United Nations. The President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered a speech in Bengali at the General Assembly on 24 September 1974. 

In 1975, Bangladesh was elected Vice-President of the UN General Assembly. From 1976 to 1978, he was an elected member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC). In 1979, Bangladesh joined the UN Security Council. As a member of the Security Council, Bangladesh voted against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, criticized Israeli settlements, and called for the return of American hostages from Iran. In 1970, Bangladesh acted as the coordinator of the Least Developed Countries. From 1971 to 1973, Bangladesh served Iscos for another term. From 1972 to 1973, he was the Chairman of Bangladesh Group of Seven. In 1975, Bangladesh was elected for the first time the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. From 1973 to 2000, he was a member of the Bangladesh Human Rights Commission. In 1975, former President of Bangladesh Abu Saeed Chowdhury was made the head of the UN Human Rights Commission.

Humayun Rashid Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, was the Acting President of the 41st Session of the UN General Assembly in 1978. Bangladesh was re-elected to the Security Council in 2000 and served as President of the Security Council from March 2000 to June 2001. During the tenure of the Security Council, Bangladesh chaired the Committee on Sierra Leone. At the same time, he was also the chairman of the executive committee on the role of Bangladesh sanctions. From 2006 to 2008, Bangladesh served on the UN Human Rights Commission. Bangladesh joined the Peace Building Commission as a founding member.

Bangladesh was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on 13 October 2016. He was elected for three years from 2019 to 2021. Bangladesh got 16 votes in the council elections. Bangladesh has previously served three terms in the UN Human Rights Council.


Bangladesh UN peacekeeping force is one of the largest command forces of the United Nations and in December 2016 it had 6247 personnel deployed in peacekeeping operations. In 1976, Bangladesh was the first to send troops to peacekeeping operations. Bangladesh peacekeepers have been deployed in several countries including East TimorLebanonSouth SudanNamibiaHaiti and Liberia. From 1976 to 2017, more than one and a half thousand Bangladeshi soldiers took part in UN peacekeeping. From 1986 to 2017, 135 soldiers were killed in peacekeeping operations. In 2016, Bangladesh provided the third largest number of people to the United Nations.

The initiative 

Mother Language Day 

In 1999, Bangladesh successfully campaigned for the establishment of International Mother Language Day by UNESCO. International Mother Language Day was declared as 21st February, the day when Bengalis were shot dead by police in East Pakistan (today's Bangladesh) in 1952 as part of the Bengali language movement in protest of making Bengalis the state language of Pakistan.

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