The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is observed annually on May 29th. It is a day dedicated to honoring and paying tribute to the men and women who have served as peacekeepers under the United Nations flag. This day provides an opportunity to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by peacekeepers worldwide.
The theme of International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2023
The 75th anniversary of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers carries the theme “Peace begins with me.” This theme acknowledges and honors the service and sacrifice of both current and past peacekeepers, including over 4,200 individuals who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. It also recognizes the remarkable resilience of the communities we support, who persistently strive for peace despite numerous challenges.
Furthermore, this campaign urges each of us to join the worldwide movement for peace. It emphasizes that we cannot achieve peace alone, but by uniting together, we can become a powerful force capable of driving meaningful change.
History of International Day of UN Peacekeepers
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was first established by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2002. It commemorates the date when the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), was deployed in 1948 to monitor the ceasefire during the Arab-Israeli War.
Significance of International Day of UN Peacekeepers
The day holds great significance as it acknowledges the dedication, professionalism, and bravery demonstrated by peacekeepers in their efforts to maintain peace, protect civilians, and rebuild war-torn societies. It serves as a reminder of the crucial role played by UN peacekeeping missions in preventing conflicts, facilitating dialogue, and promoting stability in various regions across the globe.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers allows the international community to express gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by peacekeepers, including those who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of peacekeeping and the challenges faced by peacekeepers in their mission to create a more peaceful and secure world.
Additionally, the day serves as a platform to advocate for continued support and resources for UN peacekeeping operations, emphasizing the need for international cooperation and collective action in maintaining global peace and security. Various commemorative events, ceremonies, and activities take place on this day to honor peacekeepers and raise public awareness about their invaluable contributions.
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.
Contribution of India to UN Peacekeeping Missions
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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