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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record

International Day of UN Peacekeepers will honour fallen blue helmets

Posted: Tuesday, 28 May 2013, New York | Author: Department of Public Information, Department of Peacekeeping Operations

The eleventh annual International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers will be observed on 29 May 2013.  This marks the fifth year in a row the United Nations will honour more than 100 Blue Helmets who lost their lives the previous year while serving the cause of peace. This sombre milestone is a stark reminder of the risks incurred by individuals who put their lives on the line when they deploy to UN missions around the world.

On 29 May, as part of the commemorative events, the Dag Hammarskjöld medal will be awarded posthumously to 103 peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2012 while serving under the blue flag.
This year the United Nations is highlighting that UN Peacekeeping is adapting to new challenges   .

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message for the Day that “To meet emerging threats and rise to new challenges, United Nations peacekeeping is adapting its policies to better perform its life-saving work… 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". 

S
peaking on the same theme, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said, “UN Peacekeeping is constantly adapting to new challenges. We are expanding not only in size but in the range of environments we are asked to deploy to, in the tasks demanded of us and in the tools we are using. Peacekeeping has never been more dynamic or more flexible than today."

Background
There are more than 111,000 peacekeepers, including nearly 100,000 military and police personnel from 116 countries, serving in 15 peacekeeping operations on four continents.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established on 29 May by the General Assembly in 2002 as a reference to the day in 1948 when the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.