United Nations, May 25: More than 3,800 peacekeepers have lost their lives ever since the UN deployed the first of its 72 peacekeeping missions back in 1948, Secretary-General António Guterres said at a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of those "brave men and women" who serve.
Speaking of ''the true cost of peacekeeping'', the UN chief called for a moment of silence for those who "paid the ultimate price” to protect others and “to give war-torn countries a chance for peace and hope".
''Today, in 14 missions around the world, our peacekeepers serve heroically to preserve peace and stability”, he said, adding that they also “face grave threats”. He noted that UN missions in Mali, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ''are among the most dangerous that we have ever undertaken'', saying that ''last year we lost 98 military, police and civilian peacekeepers from 36 countries''.
Following the wreath laying, the UN chief honoured 119 brave men and women with the Dag Hammarskjold medal.
“Fifty-eight years ago, Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash in the Congo while trying to broker a peace agreement to end the conflict in the country”, said Guterres, calling the former UN chief “a tireless and fearless champion of peace” who took “robust action when needed”.
Today’s honourees were military and police personnel, international civil servants, national staff and UN Volunteers from 38 countries who served in 12 different UN peace operations around the world. (UNI)