21 MAY 2019
UN Headquarters Observes International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 24 May
Eight fallen Malawian peacekeepers to be honoured at ceremony
New York: UN Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Friday, 24 May 2019. Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to honour all UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948 and will preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 119 military, police and civilian peacekeepers, who lost their lives in 2018 and early 2019.
The Secretary-General will award the “Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage” posthumously to Private Chancy Chitete of Malawi. Private Chitete will also be awarded the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal. Seven other fallen Malawian peacekeepers will also be awarded the Hammarskjöld Medal: PTE Songera Benjamin, PTE Simplex Taferakaso, PTE Steve Kambalame, LT Aubrey Kachemwe, and CPL Jonathan Kapichira who served in the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); Mr. Joseph Mwamadi, who was an international staff member in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and Mr. Kondwani John Gopani who was a UN Volunteer in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
In a video message to mark Peacekeepers Day, the Secretary-General said: “Today we honour the more than one million men and women who have served as UN peacekeepers since our first mission in 1948. We remember the more than 3,800 personnel who paid the ultimate price. And we express our deepest gratitude to the 100,000 civilian, police and military peacekeepers deployed around the world today and to the countries that contribute these brave and dedicated women and men.”
Malawi is the 25th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping. It currently contributes nearly 915 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
The global theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace’. In his message, the Secretary-General said: “This year, the United Nations marks 20 years since the Security Council first mandated a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians. Peacekeepers protect men, women and children from violence every day, often at great personal risk.”
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said: “UN Peacekeeping deploys to some of the most complex and difficult places, protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable. We are working in partnership with Member States to implement the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative to strengthen peacekeeping, including to improve how we protect civilians, which is at the heart of our work. For hundreds of millions, peacekeeping is the last best hope and it needs all our support.”
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the 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. The General Assembly designated 29 May as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.
While the Day will be marked at UNHQ on the 24th, UN missions and offices around the world will commemorate the Day on 29 May.
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For further information, please contact Aditya Mehta of the Department of Peace Operations, at tel.: +1 (917) 367-5378 or e-mail: email@example.com