Celebrating International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers today


The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 in tribute to all the men and women serving in peace operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, as well as to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

The Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), the world body’s first peacekeeping mission, began operations.

The 2016 observance of the Day marks the eighth successive year in which the Organisation has honoured more than 100 “Blue Helmets” who lost their lives in the previous year while serving the cause of peace.

UN Headquarters in New York this year celebrated on 19 May, under the theme Honouring Our Heroes.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message to mark the day said:  “They manifest the best attributes of global solidarity, courageously serving in dangerous environments to provide security to some of the world’s most vulnerable.”

The UN peacekeepers often known as the Blue Helmets, monitor and observe peace in conflict areas and assist in implementing peace agreements. This includes confidence building measures, power-sharing agreements, election support and strengthening the rule of law in the country.

However, every peacekeeping mission is authorised by the United Nations Security Council. The United Nations Charter gives the  Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. The forces are contributed voluntarily by member states.

Pakistan is one of the largest contributors of manpower to the UN peacekeeper forces. Along with India and Bangladesh, it contributes almost 8,000 units each.

Since 1948 more than 3400 peacekeepers have lost their lives serving in conflict regions around the world. Today, there are more than 124,000 military, police and civilian personnel deployed in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents. More than one million people either from the military, police or even civilians have served in the force till today.

The peacekeeping force has now evolved as one of the most effective tools to manage crises which threaten international peace and has helped to protect people at risk from conflict and war.