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May 27, 11

NEWS / On UN Peacekeepers Day, Ban honours those serving and fallen heroes


27 May 2011 –
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to the more than 120,000 military, police and civilian personnel serving in the various United Nations peacekeeping missions across the world and honoured those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

“Their deployment is a manifestation of our collective conviction that people who have survived a war should not have to suffer again through a period of insecurity, injustice and fear – and that only by removing these conditions can we engender lasting peace,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, observed on 29 May every year.

The 9th observance of the Day highlights the important work that peacekeepers are doing to strengthen the rule of law in many of the post-conflict countries where they serve.

The marking of the Day this year is a particularly sombre occasion. In early April, seven personnel were murdered in an attack on a UN compound in Afghanistan, and a few days later, 32 lives, many of them UN staff, were lost in the crash of a plane serving the UN peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Those incidents followed others involving fatalities around the world, including last year’s loss of a total of 173 peacekeepers to natural disasters, violence, accidents and disease, including the more than 100 who died in a single catastrophic event – the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“As we remember the heavy sacrifices of our staff, we also hail their accomplishments,” said Mr. Ban.

“From supporting the Southern Sudan referendum to helping resolve the post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, from supporting training, capacity-building and institutional development of police in Timor-Leste to patrolling the hills of southern Lebanon, United Nations blue helmets have represented the Organization at its best – restoring stability; fostering reconciliation; and nurturing hope for a better future,” he said.

He stressed that the upholding of the rule of law is essential to successful peacekeeping and that it required strengthening confidence in police, justice systems and correctional services.

“That is why the United Nations trains police to never abuse their power, supports the proper functioning of courts to serve justice, and works for humane conditions of detention,” said Mr. Ban.

“On this day of United Nations Peacekeepers, focused on the rule of law, we thank the countries that contribute troops, police and civilian personnel to our operations, and we honour those individuals who serve the United Nations with such distinction and dedication,” he added.

Echoing the Secretary-General’s sentiment, Alain Le Roy, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations said: “Developing fully functioning and unbiased police and judicial court systems is fundamental to building sustainable peace. Without law and order, there can be no peace. And without peace, there can be no law and order.”

There are nearly 85,000 military personnel, more than 14,000 police officers, 5,700 international civilian and 13,700 national staff serving in 15 operations on four continents, according to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).

The 73 peacekeepers who lost their lives between 1 March and 31 December last year as a result of hostilities, accidents and diseases will posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal at a ceremony at UN Headquarters presided over by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro. Twenty-six peacekeepers who died between 1 January and 10 April this year will also be recognized at the ceremony.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38523&Cr=peacekeep&Cr1=

 




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