UN marks Int’l Day of UN peacekeepers

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Friday led the world body in honoring peacekeepers who died in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, while saluting those who are serving their mandates in the world’s most dangerous places.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a ceremony awarding the Dag Hammarskjold Medal posthumously to the peacekeepers who lost their lives last year, on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, United States, May 29, 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday led the world body in honoring peacekeepers who died in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, while saluting those who are serving their mandates in the world

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a ceremony awarding the Dag Hammarskjold Medal posthumously to the peacekeepers who lost their lives last year, on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, United States, May 29, 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday led the world body in honoring peacekeepers who died in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, while saluting those who are serving their mandates in the world’s most dangerous places. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

On the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, the UN honored the 126 peacekeepers from 38 countries who died while serving under the UN flag in 2014, the seventh year in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives.

At UN headquarters in New York, Ban attended a wreath-laying ceremony in the morning, then presided over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who lost their lives last year.

Among those who received the medal is one from China — Major Zhang Haibo who served with United Nations Mission in Liberia ( UNMIL).

Among the 125,000 peacekeepers serving in 16 missions worldwide, China has deployed more than 2,800 military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations in areas including Cyprus, South Sudan, Lebanon and Liberia.

“China has become a very important contributor in recent years, ” Herve Ladsous, UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations told Xinhua.

“It is the largest contributor among the permanent countries of the Security Council,” he noted.

While hailing Chinese peacekeepers are professional, highly disciplined and perform well, Ladsous said he looks forward to further cooperation with China in peacekeeping operations.

Ladsous attended UN headquarters service medal ceremony in the afternoon at which 44 military and police personnel from 25 countries were awarded UN medals for their contributions to UN peacekeeping operations. Among them is Lt Col Dai Qilin, a Chinese, who is now a planning officer of military planning service in UN department of Peacekeeping Operations.

After receiving the medal, Dai told Xinhua that it is a great honor to be part of the UN peacekeeping operations which has made great contributions to safeguarding the world peace and security.

In a resolution adopted on Dec. 11, 2002, the UN General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers at an official request of the Ukrainian Peacekeepers Association and the government of Ukraine to the UN General Assembly. The Day was first observed in 2003.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Over the past 70 years, the UN has established 71 peacekeeping operations. And more than 1 million people have served as peacekeepers.

In a resolution adopted on Dec. 11, 2002, the UN General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers at an official request of the Ukrainian Peacekeepers Association and the government of Ukraine to the UN General Assembly. The Day was first observed in 2003.

This year, the theme for the day is UN 70 and UN Peacekeeping: Past, Present, and Future.

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