Under-Secretary-General's Remarks at Wreath-Laying Ceremony on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, New York, 29 May 2013
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am honoured to be here with you today, and join the Secretary-General as we pay tribute to our peacekeeping colleagues who have shown the last full measure of devotion in the service of peace.
In 2012, 111 UN peacekeepers from 40 countries lost their lives in the cause of peace, serving as UN peacekeepers. Military, police and civilian colleagues. Since January of this year, a further 25 have been taken from us. Many died as a result of acts of violence. Others were victims of accidents or illness.
On this day, 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. To each member of these families and to their loved ones, allow me to express the deepest admiration and pride we feel for each and every colleague we have lost.
Today, we remember and honour our five peacekeepers from India, killed in an attack in April, in Jonglei, South Sudan, as they were playing a vital role supporting the protection of civilians in this vast region.
We mourn and honour the seven peacekeepers from Niger we lost in western Cote d’Ivoire, last June, as they provided security to civilian populations who have seen too many suffering.
We pay tribute to our military colleague from Pakistan, killed in an attack some three weeks ago on the road to Bukavu, in South Kivu province, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In 2012, we lost colleagues in 13 out of 16 operations.
On this day, let us reaffirm one essential principle: attacks against United Nations peacekeepers are totally unacceptable.
Today, our peacekeepers operate in increasingly high-risk environments. They face new risks and unusual threats, including improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers. We must ensure that our peacekeepers are properly equipped and fully trained to meet these new challenges, that they themselves are protected in the best possible way
As we remember our fallen colleagues, I send a message of solidarity and tribute to all 115 000 peacekeepers — military, police and civilians — currently serving in our 15 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 millions of people.