Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, observed on 29 May:
On 29 May 1948, the United Nations Security Council authorized the first United Nations peacekeeping operation — the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East.
On this seventieth anniversary, we express our gratitude to the more than 1 million men and women who have served under the United Nations flag, saving countless lives.
We honour the more than 3,700 blue helmets who paid the ultimate price. And we pay tribute to the 14 missions working around the clock today to protect people and advance the cause of peace.
This year, I will spend the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in Mali to express my solidarity with colleagues facing high casualties and enormous volatility.
As we recognize a legacy of service and sacrifice around the world, I am also committed to taking action for peacekeeping — action to make our operations safer and more effective in today’s challenging environments. We also are committed to reinforcing the important role our forces must play in promoting human rights and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.
United Nations peacekeeping is a proven investment in global peace, security and prosperity. Together, let us pledge to do all we can to enable that mission to succeed. Thank you.