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‘Can you give an example of a mission where we violated human rights?’: Army chief

Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed has dismissed the allegations against several army officers, calling them baseless and driven by ulterior motives.

His comments came on Monday at a press conference after the inauguration of the 12th annual general meeting and workshop of the Association of Asia-Pacific Peace Operations Training Centers (AAPTC) at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operations Training (BIPSOT) in Rajendrapur, Gazipur. .

General Shafiuddin criticized the publication of the report and suggested that it was issued with malicious intent. He claimed that the military would eventually refute these allegations, citing a similar incident in 2013 that also aimed to tarnish the military’s reputation. “With our professionalism and especially our responsibility in the UN arena, we will be able to give a good answer to all these conspiracies in Sha Allah,” he stated.

Speaking at the AAPTC event, the Army Chief emphasized the importance of organizing the meet for the first time in Bangladesh. He called it a recognition of the country’s contributions to global peacekeeping efforts. Highlighting Bangladesh’s leadership in both diplomatic and military spheres, he mentioned the peace-oriented development model presented by the Prime Minister at the UN General Assembly in 2023, highlighting its relevance in the current global security context.

The Army Chief hailed the exemplary professionalism and success of the Bangladesh Armed Forces in UN peacekeeping missions and lauded the role of BIPSOT in providing quality training for peacekeepers. He expressed optimism that the four-day conference would yield fruitful discussions and decisions, promoting greater involvement of the countries of Asia and the Pacific in global peace efforts.

“Not only Bangladesh Army, our armed forces have performed duties in many missions around the world, in 43 missions. There are still more than 6,000 peacekeepers in service. Can you give an example of a mission where we violated human rights or deteriorated our discipline? In many parts of the world; not only in Africa, but also outside Africa we have also served in Asia and Europe. Have you ever been accused of this human rights violation? he asked.

The AAPTC serves as a crucial platform for policymakers, researchers, peacekeepers, trainers and other stakeholders involved in peacekeeping operations. The organization includes 24 Member States and 2 observer countries. During the previous annual conference in 2023, Major General M. Nazim Parvez, Commander of BIPSOT, was appointed President of AAPTC for one year.

The event was attended by senior UN officials, ambassadors, UN resident representatives, defense and military Attachés, senior military and civilian officials, and approximately 50 foreign representatives of AAPTC member states. The organizers underlined the importance of the meeting in the context of an increasingly complex global security environment, influenced by technological advances and asymmetric threats.

The main objectives of this year’s AAPTC meeting were to assess the evolving security landscape and outline future training frameworks to address emerging challenges. So far, 168 Bangladeshi army officers have been tortured during UN peacekeeping missions in 19 countries.

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