On Peacekeepers Day, UN to spotlight vital role of women peace operations

In observance of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, on Friday, Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to pay tribute to all the UN blue helmets who have lost their lives since 1948.

“[We] honour more than one million men and women who have served as United Nations peacekeepers and the more than 3,900 who have lost their lives in the line of duty”, he said in a video message for the occasion. 

The UN chief will also award, posthumously, the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to the 83 military, police and civilian peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2019.  

The Secretary-General’s message also expresses gratitude to the 95,000 civilian, police and military personnel currently deployed around the world, saying, “they are facing one of the greatest challenges ever: delivering on their peace and security mandates while helping countries to address the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Honouring women

Women in Peacekeeping, this year’s theme, highlights their central role in UN operations. 

“Women often have greater access in the communities we serve, enabling us to improve the protection of civilians, promote human rights and enhance overall performance” observed the UN chief, adding that “yet, women continue to represent only six per cent of uniformed military, police, justice and corrections personnel in field missions”.

The Secretary-General will also bestow the ‘2019 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award’, for the first time, to two peacekeepers.

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