UN Peacekeepers: 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Worldwide | iSeek

On 29 May, we commemorate the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to pay tribute to the contributions of uniformed and civilian personnel to the work of the Organization and to honour those who have lost their lives.

This year, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping. Over the past seven decades, more than 1 million men and women have served under the UN flag in more than 70 UN peacekeeping operations. More than 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel from 125 countries currently serve in 14 peacekeeping operations.

In his message to mark the day (watch video below), Secretary‑General António Guterres announced that he will spend the day with United Nations peacekeepers in Mali to express his "solidarity with colleagues facing high casualties and enormous volatility”.

Upon his return, he will preside over a wreath-laying ceremony at the UNHQ in New York on 1 June, in honour of all peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. On the same day, the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who died in 2017 while serving in the cause of peace.(see full schedule of events at Headquarters on 1 June).

“Our peacekeepers — civilian, police, men and women, military personnel — save lives every day. Today, we honour those who have sacrificed their lives in service to peace. Their service and sacrifice inspires us to work harder to support a sustainable peace in some of the world’s most complex and challenging places,” said Jean‑Pierre Lacroix, Under‑Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations.

With its expanded role and operations in some of the world’s most challenging environments, peacekeepers face considerable risks. Since 1948, more than 3,500 personnel have lost their lives serving in UN peace operations, including 943 killed by violence. Since 2013, casualties have spiked, with 195 deaths in violent attacks, more than during any other five-year period in the UN’s history.