KitoOnlus Blog

The international Day of UN Peacekeepers

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A teaspoon of history

On the 29th May 1948 the first UN peacekeeping mission named the “United Nations Truce Supervision Organization”, or UNTSO, began operations in Palestine to observe and maintain the ceasefire, which marked the end of the hostilities between Israel and the Arab League forces.

For this reason, in 2002, the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, to tribute the UN peacekeepers who are working today and to honour the ones who had lost their lives serving the UN flag.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet” (W. Shakespeare)

As Shakespeare taught us, the names of things do not affect what they really are, but at his time United Nations had not been founded yet! Only from the name of Peace-keepers you can understand their main mission: the maintenance of peace and security! They are men and women like you and me that have invested their life to create the conditions for a lasting peace.

Beneath the helmet

** FILE ** In this Friday, March 14, 2008 file photo released by Albany Associates, a Nigerian soldier with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) stands guard at a checkpoint to the Mission's Western Sector headquarters, on the outskirts of the state capital of West Darfur, El Geneina, Sudan. Security was hiked around many embassies in Sudan, and some diplomats and aid workers stayed home amid fears of retaliation after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Wednesday, March 4, 2009 for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. (AP Photo/Albany Associates, Stuart Price, File) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES **

Today, the Blue Helmets or the Blue Berets refer to 113,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents. Beneath the Blue Helmets there is professionalism, dedication, courage and strong commitment to protect populations against threats and contribute to a secure environment. But these virtues are not always enough, more than 3,500 peacekeepers have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 117 last year.

It’s for the UN peacekeepers,

for the victims of war and human rights violations,

and for those who live in a peaceful and democratic environment and don’t want to lose it,

that we have to remember that all the efforts done by peacekeeping missions over time are fundamental investments in building peace and that the UN flag is much more than a symbol. United Nations have been built on globally important purposes, such as international cooperation, non-violence, equality and self-determination of peoples.