Monday, 29 May 2017 is being celebrated the world over as International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The occasion commemorates the importance to honour and remember personnel who are in the forefront to keep the peace around the world. India today remembers 168 of its soldiers who died in various corners of the world for the cause of peace. India actually contributes around 6,900 military personnel among 115,000 peacekeepers in various missions.
It was on December 11, 2002 that the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. The day was first observed on May 29, 2003. The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is a tribute to people who serve or have served in the UN peacekeeping operations. Since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948 until April 2016, 3,400 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease.
The global theme being celebrated this year is – Investing in Peace around the World. Today the focus is to be on offering tributes the world over to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s whose invaluable contribution results in peacekeeping by the United Nations. UNO therefore honours the peacekeepers that have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948.
“Peacekeeping is an investment in global peace, security, and prosperity. It is a flagship enterprise of the United Nations. Today, it deploys more than 113,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents. It is a flexible, evolving instrument that brings together political, security and technical tools to assist countries make the difficult transition from conflict to peace.”, as per the statement issued by the UN on the occasion.
“Over time, peacekeeping has grown from simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and so much more. They have also work to ensure that women are fully represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government including in uniformed services. All of these efforts are fundamental investments in building lasting peace,” adds the statement.
With time peacekeeping has moved on from just simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and more along these lines. UN has also worked to ensure that women are represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government including in uniformed services. All such efforts assist in being able to make fundamental investments in building lasting peace.
Peacekeeping mission focuses on ensuring rule of law. Currently, UN peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 124 Member States. This impressive number reflects strong global confidence in the value of UN peacekeeping. Despite the breadth of its operations, peacekeeping’s budget is less than one half of one percent of global military spending. Every mission aims to save lives and prevent mass atrocities to set the stage for peace.