On this International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, observed annually on 29 May, the world body honoured 111 peacekeeping personnel who died last year and paid tribute to the some 3,000 others who have fallen in the line of duty since the first peacekeepers deployed 65 years ago.
SECRETARY-GENERAL'S MESSAGE FOR THE 2013 OBSERVANCEThis year’s International Day of Peacekeepers is an opportunity to raise awareness about new developments in the field while honouring those who lost their lives over the past year serving under the blue flag.
United Nations peacekeeping is increasingly called on to deploy multi-dimensional operations to help countries transition from conflict to peace, with a significant focus on protecting civilians, including the most vulnerable among them: women and children.
To meet emerging threats and rise to new challenges, United Nations peacekeeping is adapting its policies to better fulfil its mandates to bring lasting peace to war-torn countries.
We see one example of a new approach in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the Security Council has authorized the deployment of an “Intervention Brigade” as well as unarmed, unmanned aerial vehicles to improve our ability to operate in this vast region.
Peacekeepers in Mali will operate under tough conditions marked by armed groups that threaten national and regional security. The mission will help stabilize the country, foster national reconciliation and protect civilians.
UN peacekeeping is also working to help reform national rule of law institutions. By strengthening the police, courts, and corrections, UN peacekeeping forges trust in local authorities. A fair and predictable rule of law system contributes, in turn, to stability and sustainable development long after our troops leave.
While we welcome these advances, we acknowledge that peacekeeping will always carry risks. Unidentified assailants have recently ambushed and killed peacekeepers in the DRC, Sudan and South Sudan, while blue helmets serving in the Middle East have been detained.
One hundred and eleven peacekeeping personnel died last year, and more than 3,100 have lost their lives during the UN’s 65-year history of peacekeeping. We salute their bravery and mourn their passing.
On this International Day, let us pay solemn tribute to those who have fallen, support the more than 111,000 serving soldiers and police from 116 countries, and continue adapting our operations to better help civilians who need protection and support.
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE 67th SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLYInternational Day of United Nations Peacekeepers recognizes the selfless contribution made by men and women who have served across the world as Blue Helmets under the UN flag.
I join in solemn remembrance of the 101 peacekeepers who died in 2012. They made the ultimate sacrifice in the discharge of their duty. Collectively, we should celebrate the nobility, integrity and courage with which they dedicated their lives to the UN.
I would also like to pay tribute to the over 110,000 military, police and civilians who continue to serve in 15 peacekeeping operations in some of the world’s harshest environments. They are truly in the front-line of the UN’s global operations, never far from harms’ way.
The presence of the United Nations on the ground in troubled areas is an indispensable instrument of peace. For many decades, it has greatly contributed to reducing hostilities between belligerents, while helping create an atmosphere more conducive to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.
The preamble of the UN Charter states that one of the aims of the organization is to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”
Through their dedication and professionalism, the colleagues we are honoring today embody and personify the aims of our august gathering of nations. They have defended the aspirations of the United Nations towards peace and security, development, and human rights, values that we all hold so dearly.
The General Assembly is proud to have established the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers following a resolution adopted in 2002. As President, I remain committed to strengthening the role of UN peacekeeping.
I continue to engage with Member States on how we can more decisively support those who serve under the UN flag in conflict-ridden areas throughout the world.