To honour the more than 3,900 women and men who have lost their lives under the UN flag since 1948, Secretary-General António Guterres laid a wreath at the Peacekeepers’ memorial on Friday, International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
At a related event, he upheld that while the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost everything the Organization does, it has not inhibited the powerful sense of “service, sacrifice and selflessness”, of the more than 95,000 women and men serving in 13 peacekeeping operations worldwide.
“Every day, our peacekeepers continue to protect vulnerable local populations, support dialogue and implement their mandates while fighting COVID-19”, said the UN chief. “They are doing everything they can to be an integral part of the solution to this crisis while keeping themselves – and the communities they serve – safe”.
Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix noted their “tremendous contributions towards peace”, and paid tribute to “the service of those peacekeepers who paid the ultimate sacrifice”, saying in a tweet that it was “their memory that we continue to carry our work forward”.
Saluting women in blue helmets
Under this year’s theme, “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace”, Mr. Guterres emphasized how women help improve all aspects of UN peacekeeping, saying it is “more effective for everyone when we have more women peacekeepers at all levels, including in decision-making”.