Message by the President of the General Assembly
The General Assembly established the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in 2003. Today, we commemorate this by mourning those who lost their lives in the cause of peace and through expressing our appreciation to those now helping to bring stability to war-ravaged societies on behalf of the United Nations and its Member States.
UN military, police and civilian personnel across the world are engaged in a broad range of activities, from disarmament to human rights monitoring. Accomplishments last year – from helping organize the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first elections in four decades to taking Haiti’s streets back from the gangs – are milestones of success.
The overarching objective is to create space for individuals to resume a normal life, so that children can return to school, ex-fighters can join the workforce, and farmers can use fields once infested with mines to plant crops.
Peacekeepers not only carry out their mandated tasks; they create a lasting legacy by exemplifying how military and police can engage in humanitarian work while interacting respectfully with civil society.
A shining example of this is the first-ever all-female contingent of UN Police sent from India to Liberia. These blue berets are not only helping to restore the rule of law, they are also serving as role models for Liberian women. And in fact, since the contingent’s arrival, the number of Liberian women taking steps to join the national police force has increased.
UN operations do more than just silence the guns; they help to foster a culture of sustainable peace in countries that had been devastated by conflict, some for decades. On this International Day of Peacekeepers, let us pledge to continue our work to achieve lasting security and live up to the goal set by the United Nations Charter: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”