16 May 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11574
OBV/699
PKO/179

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

ON SIXTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF PEACEKEEPING, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS WORLD MUST ENSURE


SACRIFICES OF BLUE HELMETS NEVER FORGOTTEN, VITAL WORK CONTINUES


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message on the sixtieth anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping, observed 29 May 2008:


Dear friends,


Six decades ago today, the United Nations Security Council established the first United Nations peacekeeping mission.  Since then, peacekeeping has developed into a flagship enterprise of our Organization.  Today, we have more than 110,000 men and women from nearly 120 countries deployed around the world.


In the past year, I have visited peacekeepers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean.  In States emerging from conflict, I have seen refugees returning home, children heading back to school, citizens once again secure under the rule of law.  I have seen whole societies moving, with the help of the peacekeepers, from devastation to rejuvenation.


We could not do this job without our partners in regional organizations.  The African Union and the United Nations are deploying our first hybrid force in Darfur.  The European Union is taking the lead in neighbouring Chad and the Central African Republic.


More than half of all our Member States contribute troops and police to peacekeeping operations.  We are grateful to every one of them.  Our special thanks go to the top contributors:  Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Nepal.


This anniversary is an occasion to celebrate, but also to mourn our fallen colleagues.  Over these six decades, more than 2,400 men and women have died serving the cause of peace.  Just last year alone, we lost 87 brave individuals.


Each one is a hero. Today, we recommit ourselves to ensuring that their sacrifices are never forgotten, and the vital work of the blue helmets continues as long as they are needed.


Thank you very much.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record