The United Nations has honoured at a solemn ceremony 103 military, police and civilian personnel from around the world, including eight Pakistani peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the UN flag last year.The special ceremony, presided over by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, marked the 75th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping at which the Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace, during the preceding year.
Pakistan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Aamir Khan, accepted the awards on behalf of the families of the fallen Pakistani peacekeepers — Havildar Muhammad Ismail, Major Faizan Ali, Lt-Col Asif Ali Awan, Naib Subedar Sami Ullah Khan, Major Muhammad Saad Nomani, and Lance Havildar Muhammad Jamil Khan — the six martyred while serving with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) when their helicopter crashed on March 29, 2022.
In addition, Havildar Babar Siddique lost his life while also serving in MONUSCO and Corporal Rana Muhammad Tahir Islam, who was working with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Pakistan is currently the 5th largest contributor to UN peacekeeping with nearly 4,200 military and police personnel serving in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
At the ceremony held on Thursday at United Nations, the Secretary-General also presented the 2022 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award to Captain Cecilia Erzuah, a military officer from Ghana who served with the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). Created in 2016, the Award “recognizes the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security”.
In 1948 the historic decision was made to deploy military observers to the Middle East to supervise the implementation of Israel-Arab Armistice Agreements, in what became the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. Since that time, more than two million peacekeepers from 125 countries have since served in 71 operations around the world. Today, 87,000 women and men are serving in 12 conflict zones across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In the course of formal ceremonies at UN Headquarters in New York, the UN chief laid a wreath to honour the more than 4,200 UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948.
The Secretary-General said, “United Nations peacekeepers are the beating heart of our commitment to a more peaceful world. For 75 years, they have supported people and communities rocked by conflict and upheaval across the globe. “Today, on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we honour their extraordinary contributions to international peace and security.” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said: “Peacekeeping is a powerful example of how strong partnerships and collective political will can result in meaningful change.
Working together with local communities and other partners, our personnel protect civilians, advance political solutions, and help end conflicts in the pursuit of sustainable peace. “We appreciate the support of all stakeholders to ensure that UN Peacekeeping can continue to work as an effective multilateral tool for global peace and security.” The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the UN General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
Credit: Independent News Pakistan-INP