UN honours martyred Pakistani peacekeepers

May 27, 2022: According to a report by APP, the United Nations honoured on Thursday 117 military, police and civilian personnel from 42 countries, including six Pakistani peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the UN flag last year, at a solemn ceremony at the UN headquarters.

The ceremony, presided over by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, marked the annual International Day of UN Peacekeepers in 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 Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, accepted the awards on behalf of the families of the fallen Pakistani peacekeepers—Police Lance Corporal Tahir Ikram, Police Lance Corporal Adil Jan, Havildar Muhammad Nil Naeem, Havildar Muhammad Shafeeq, NCE Tahir Mehmood and Abrar Sayed.

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UN Peacekeeping Missions are driven by a shared commitment to peace through true professionalism and courage. Pakistan’s commitment over last 60 years has been manifested by contribution of 200,000 troops in 46 missions across 28 countries. 169 Pakistani Peacekeepers have laid their lives to date for the global cause and resolve towards peace.

“I feel deeply honoured and proud on receiving these awards on behalf of six fallen Pakistani peacekeepers,” Ambassador Akram told APP after the ceremony. “There is a steadfast resolve on Pakistan’s part to build upon the glorious past to achieve shared goals of peace and security,” he added.

In his message on the occasion, the UN chief pointed out that the world body was honouring more than one million women and men, who had served as UN peacekeepers since 1948. “We pay tribute to the nearly 4,200 heroes and heroines, who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace,” he said.

“And we are reminded an age-old truth: Peace can never be taken for granted. Peace is the prize,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to the 87,000 civilian, police and military personnel now serving under the UN flag, who are helping to realise the prize of peace worldwide.”

The theme for this year’s observance of the day is “People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships”.  Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said the UN peacekeepers worked on a daily basis to protect vulnerable people in the world’s most fragile political and security situations.

“The dangers they face are greater than ever, with increasing global tensions, ever-more complex threats from terrorist attacks to organised crime and the use of improvised explosive devices as well as a surge in mis- and disinformation targeting our missions and the communities we serve,” he said.

Peacekeeping has helped save countless lives and brought peace and stability to many countries over the decades. But UN peacekeeping cannot fully succeed on its own in creating the necessary conditions to end conflict and secure lasting political solutions.

It’s partnerships with Member States, civil society, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and other parties are fundamental to bringing tangible improvements in the lives of ordinary people, in areas such as economic development, the rule of law, women’s rights, human rights, health and education.

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization UNTSO to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping nations directly impacting the lives of millions of people and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 87,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 12 operations.

To mark the Day at the UN Headquarters in New York on 26 May, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag over the past seven decades. And a virtual ceremony will be held at which the Dag Hammarskjold medal will be awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2021.

The Military Gender Advocate of the Year award will also be presented at the virtual ceremony.

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