Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, accepted the Dag Hammarskjold Medals on behalf of Head Constables Shishupal Singh and Sanwala Ram Vishnoi. These medals are the highest recognition given to UN peacekeepers and are awarded posthumously to honor those who have lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations.
The award ceremony, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, was a tribute to the sacrifice made by these brave individuals. The Dag Hammarskjold Medal is named after Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. The event marked the observance of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
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Last year, Head Constables Shishupal Singh and Sanwala Ram Vishnoi, who served with the Border Security Force, tragically lost their lives while carrying out their duties under the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were part of the Organisation Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO) in the country. In recognition of their sacrifice, they were posthumously awarded the prestigious Dag Hammarskjold Medal.
The medal was received by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Similarly, Shaber Taher Ali, who worked in a civilian capacity with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), was also honored with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal. The medal was accepted by Under-Secretary for Field Support, Atul Khare.
Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj stated that these brave individuals will be remembered for their selfless sacrifice, unwavering dedication, and remarkable courage. They will forever serve as an inspiration to others. UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed that the more than 87,000 peacekeepers deployed worldwide are a source of hope and protection for vulnerable civilians in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world.
To pay tribute to the fallen peacekeepers, the Permanent Mission of India to the UN hosted a reception attended by over 200 guests near the Remembrance Board. This gathering allowed people to honor and remember the brave individuals who have given their lives in the pursuit of peace.
About UN Peacekeepers
UN peacekeepers are individuals who serve in United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world. Their primary objective is to maintain peace and security in conflict-affected regions, protect civilians, and support the implementation of peace agreements. Peacekeepers can be military personnel, police officers, and civilian staff from various countries.
These missions are authorized by the UN Security Council and involve deploying peacekeepers to areas where armed conflicts have occurred or are ongoing. The peacekeepers operate under a mandate that outlines their specific tasks and responsibilities, which can include monitoring ceasefires, disarming combatants, facilitating political processes, providing security, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, and assisting in post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
India, as one of the largest contributors of troops, has played a significant role in UN peacekeeping operations since the 1950s. Over the years, India has deployed more than 275,000 troops, including a notable number of women peacekeepers, in over 51 UN peacekeeping missions. Notably, in 2007, India became the first country to send an all-female contingent to a UN peacekeeping operation in Liberia.
About Dag Hammarskjold
Dag Hammarskjold was a prominent Swedish diplomat and the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. He held this position from 1953 until his untimely death in 1961. Hammarskjold is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of the United Nations.
During his tenure as Secretary-General, Hammarskjold worked tirelessly to promote international peace and resolve conflicts through diplomacy and mediation. He advocated for the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence in the UN’s peacekeeping operations. Hammarskjold firmly believed in the United Nations’ role in preventing and resolving conflicts and dedicated himself to advancing its goals and principles.
Tragically, Hammarskjold lost his life in a plane crash on September 18, 1961, while on a peacekeeping mission to the newly independent country of Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). His death was a great loss to the international community, and he is remembered for his dedication, integrity, and unwavering commitment to peace and diplomacy.
In honor of Dag Hammarskjold’s legacy, the United Nations established the Dag Hammarskjold Medal. This prestigious medal is the highest honor awarded to UN peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations. It serves as a tribute to their bravery, selflessness, and commitment to promoting peace and security worldwide.
The Dag Hammarskjold Medal is presented posthumously to the families or representatives of the fallen peacekeepers during a ceremony held annually at the United Nations headquarters in New York. This ceremony takes place on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, observed on May 29th each year, to commemorate and honor the contributions of all peacekeepers who have served under the UN flag.
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How many Indian soldiers are in the UN peacekeeping force?
Which countries were Indian troops deployed on the UN missions?
Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)
South Sudan (UNMISS)
Sudan and South Sudan (UNISFA)
Golan Heights (UNDOF)
Central African Republic (MINUSCA)
Western Sahara (MINURSO)
Haiti (MINUSTAH, now MINUJUSTH)
Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI)
These are just a few examples, and India has contributed troops to numerous other United Nations peacekeeping missions over the years.