Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Peacekeepers, observed on 29 May:
Today, we honour the more than 1 million women and men who have served as United Nations peacekeepers since 1948. We pay tribute to the nearly 4,200 heroes and heroines who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace. And we are reminded of an age-old truth: peace can never be taken for granted. Peace is the prize.
We are deeply grateful to the 87,000 civilian, police and military personnel now serving under the United Nations flag who are helping to realize the prize of peace worldwide.
They face enormous challenges. Rising violence against peacekeepers has made their work even more dangerous. Restrictions due to the pandemic have made it more difficult. But, United Nations peacekeepers continue to serve with distinction as partners for peace.
This year, we focus on the power of partnerships. We know that peace is won when Governments and societies join forces to resolve differences through dialogue, build a culture of nonviolence and protect the most vulnerable.
Around the globe, United Nations peacekeepers work with Member States, civil society, humanitarians, the media, the communities they serve and many others, to foster peace, protect civilians, promote human rights and the rule of law and improve the lives of millions of people.
Today and every day, we salute their dedication in helping societies turn away from conflict, towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for all. We are forever in their debt.