20 May 2010

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

Past 14 Months Especially Deadly for United Nations Peacekeeping, Says


Secretary-General in Message, Calling for Support it Needs to Succeed


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, observed on 29 May:

On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we honour the sacrifices of the men and women who lost their lives while serving under the United Nations flag.

This year’s commemoration is a sombre one.  The past 14 months have been especially deadly for United Nations peacekeeping.

Ambushes in Darfur, terrorism in Kabul and a plane crash in Haiti.  These were among the tragedies that struck peacekeeping last year, killing 121 people.  That toll was nearly matched in a few seconds with the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti last January.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) lost 96 peacekeepers — the biggest single loss of life in peacekeeping history.  But that dark day also became one of our finest hours, as the men and women of MINUSTAH set aside their own trauma, got the Mission quickly back on its feet and helped the people of Haiti cope with the horrific aftermath.

As we honour such moving displays of courage and dedication, we also pay tribute to the more than 122,000 military, police and civilian personnel who serve with distinction in our operations across the world.

Their efforts directly help millions of people, by providing security and promoting reconciliation, by clearing landmines and demobilizing combatants, by strengthening institutions and the rule of law, by delivering aid and repatriating refugees and displaced persons, by supporting democratic elections, reforming the security sector and so much more.

Peacekeeping is an indispensable part of the United Nations work for a better world.  Let us give it the support it needs to succeed.

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For information media • not an official record