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International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May 2012

UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL'S REMARKS AT WREATH-LAYING CEREMONY IN 2012

Excellencies,
Secretary-General,
Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to address you today on this solemn occasion to pay tribute to our colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace while serving as United Nations Peacekeepers.

In 2011, as the Secretary-General said, 112 peacekeepers lost their lives through acts of violence, accidents and illness. This year, from January until today, we have lost 31 of our colleagues.

Let us remember each individual. We feel the loss of each of our Peacekeepers. On behalf of all in the United Nations Peacekeeping family, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of our fallen colleagues. I also assure them that we remember our colleagues with pride and admiration.

In Abyei, in August last year, four peacekeepers were tragically killed by a landmine detonation during a patrol. They were our first casualties in this new mission playing such an important role in the disputed territory between Sudan and South Sudan.

We have lost colleagues to attacks on a number of patrols in Darfur. Peacekeepers were working in dangerous conditions to help bring security and stability to a population which has suffered so much.

And we have lost peacekeepers in DR Congo, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, Timor-Leste and Cyprus.

I echo the view of the Secretary-General that it is completely unacceptable whenever our peacekeepers are targeted. I call on everyone to respect the mandated role of our blue helmets to keep the peace in some of the world’s most troubled places.

United Nations peacekeepers — military, police and civilians — work in some of the most dangerous places on earth. Peacekeepers help to protect millions of vulnerable civilian from violence. This is not easy work. We go in order to give hope to people who have been through the horror of war, and who yearn for a chance to rebuild their lives in peace.

Today, as we remember our fallen colleagues, I send a message of solidarity and tribute to the 120,000 peacekeepers currently serving in our 17 operations around the globe. Each day you honour the memory of our fallen colleagues. Through your dedication and commitment you make peace a reality for the lives of millions of people.

Thank you.

Hervé Ladsous

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