Bhutan to start participating in UN Peacekeeping Missions
As a long standing and responsible member of the United Nations, the Royal Government of Bhutan attaches high importance to the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter. Bhutan has always worked constructively with other member states to realize the noble objectives of the UN since its membership in 1971. Among others, Bhutan remains fully committed to the maintenance of international peace and security, which is one of the key mandate and objectives of the UN. Towards this end the Royal Government has taken a decision to participate in UN Peacekeeping missions.
Bhutan will have to gradually build its national capacity to contribute and participate effectively in UN peacekeeping missions. The Royal Government has, therefore, taken an incremental approach by first offering to contribute Military Observers, Staff Officers and Individual Police Officers.
Bhutan’s participation in peacekeeping missions will begin with three Officers from the Armed Forces being assigned to the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) mission in the Middle East and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Lt. Col. Ngawang Jigme will take up his assignment in UNTSO as a Military Observer and Lt. Col. Kinley Wangdi and Major Ugyen Wangchuk will take up their assignment in MINUSCA as Staff Officers. The assignments at UNSTO and MINUSCA will mark the first and historic participation of Bhutanese Armed Force officers as UN peacekeepers, who will serve as a “Blue Beret” under the UN flag.
Granting an Audience to the Officers prior to their departure, His Majesty the King said that they must represent the country well by discharging their duties professionally and with the highest standards of excellence.
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay also met with the Officers and said that Bhutan’s participation in UN peacekeeping missions is a proud moment for the country, and reflects its long-standing support and commitment for the UN and its obligation as member of the international community to respond to crisis and humanitarian disasters. Most importantly Lyonchhen said that the ability and willingness to contribute tangibly to international peace and security represents the coming of age and growth of our nation. As the first Bhutanese UN peacekeepers, Lyonchhen said that there are high expectations from their participation.
The Armed Forces held a departure ceremony for the Officers where the Chief of Army, Lt. Gen. Batoo Tshering presented the Officers with Tashi Khadhar and, said that as the pioneers to UN peacekeeping missions from Bhutan the Officers must set a good example in inspiring universal respect and admiration for the country.
UN peacekeeping operation which began in 1948 has become a cornerstone of the international response to conflict resolution. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has highlighted UN peacekeeping as a “flagship of UN activity”. UN peacekeepers are at the heart of international efforts to address some of the world’s most intractable problems. The scope of UN peacekeeping has also continually evolved to address issues of war, conflict, peace and security. Today, more than 118,000 field personnel involving military, police and civilians from 122 countries are deployed in 17 missions around the world.