5 October 1998

Press Release



The United Nations will observe fifty years of peacekeeping operations on Tuesday 6 October, by paying tribute at Headquarters to all peacekeepers -- military and civilian -- who have served since 1948, and especially those who have died while serving under the United Nations flag. At a special commemorative meeting of the General Assembly, Secretary-General Kofi Annan will present the first Dag Hammarskj÷ld Medals to the families of three United Nations officials who lost their lives while pursuing peace missions. The Dag Hammarskj÷ld Medal is a new honour, established by a resolution of the United Nations Security Council in July 1997.

The first Medal will be presented to the family of Dag Hammarskj÷ld -- the second United Nations Secretary-General, for whom the prize is named -- who lost his life in a plane crash on 18 September 1961 while on a mission to bring an end to the fighting in the Congo. Next to be honoured will be Commandant RenÚ de LabarriŔre, the first peacekeeper to lose his life in a United Nations peacekeeping operation. A French officer serving as a Military Observer in the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine, Commandant de LabarriŔre was killed by a landmine on 6 July 1948. The third Medal will be received by the family of Count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations Mediator in Palestine, who was assassinated on 17 September 1948 in Jerusalem, while seeking a negotiated settlement to the Palestine problem.

A number of former Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, Force Commanders, Chief Military Observers, United Nations Police Commissioners and senior officials of the Secretariat involved in peacekeeping over the last 50 years are expected to take part in the activities at Headquarters.

Correspondents accredited at United Nations Headquarters will be permitted in the areas normally reserved for press in the General Assembly Hall throughout the special commemorative meeting and medal presentations. The opening statement by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Bernard Miyet, at the informal consultation in Conference Room 4 will also be open to representatives of the press. The Department of Public Information will provide live television and audio coverage of the proceedings in the General Assembly Hall.

Programme of activities at United Nations Headquarters

10 a.m. Arrival of Medal Recipients

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Miyet, will greet the families of Secretary-General Hammarskj÷ld, Commandant de LabarriŔre and Count Bernadotte at the Delegates' Entrance.

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Commemorative meeting of the General Assembly (General Assembly Hall)

Statements by the President of the General Assembly; the Secretary-General; the Chairman of the Group of African States(Nigeria); the Chairman of the Group of Asian States (Nepal); the Chairman of the Group of Eastern European States (Poland); the Chairman of the Group of Latin American States (Dominican Republic); the Chairman of the Group of Western European States (Andorra); the Representative of the Host Country (United States). Following adoption of the declaration, the special plenary meeting will adjourn.

11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Dag Hammarskj÷ld Medal Presentation (General Assembly Hall)

The President of the General Assembly will open the proceedings. Statements will be made by the Secretary-General, the President of the Security Council and the President of the Staff Committee.

The Secretary-General will present the Dag Hammarskj÷ld Medal to: Elinor Hammarskj÷ld, grand-niece of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskj÷ld; Jean de LabarriŔre (accompanied by his wife), son of Commandant RenÚ de LabarriŔre; Count Folke Bernadotte Count Bertil Bernadotte, son of Count Folke Bernadotte.

Following the presentations, a representative of each family will make brief remarks.

- 3 - Note No. 5525 5 October 1998

Noon Opening of Peacekeeping Photographic Exhibition (Public Lobby)

The Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kensaku Hogen, will preside over the formal opening of the photographic exhibition on 50 years of United Nations Peacekeeping and the presentation of commemorative stamp albums in the public lobby of the General Assembly building. Statements will be made by the Chairman of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Ibrahim A. Gambari, and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Miyet.

3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Informal Consultation (Conference Room 4)

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations will chair an informal consultation of former senior officials responsible for peacekeeping, as well as former Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, Force Commanders, Chief Military Observers, Civilian Police Commissioners, Military Advisers to the Secretary-General and Directors of the Field and Logistics Division.

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