UN honours peacekeepers who ‘paid the ultimate price’, for the sake of others

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Wreath Laying Ceremony on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Ever since the UN deployed the first of its 72 peacekeeping missions back in 1948, more than 3,800 peacekeepers have lost their lives, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday, at a wreath laying ceremony in honour of those “brave men and women” who serve.

Speaking of “the true cost of peacekeeping”, the UN chief called for a moment of silence for those who “paid the ultimate price” to protect others and “to give war-torn countries a chance for peace and hope”.

“Today, in 14 missions around the world, our peacekeepers serve heroically to preserve peace and stability”, he said, adding that they also “face grave threats”.

He noted that UN missions in Mali, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo “are among the most dangerous that we have ever undertaken”, saying that “last year we lost 98 military, police and civilian peacekeepers from 36 countries”.

“We ask much of our peacekeepers”, Mr. Guterres said. “In return, we must continue to do all we can to ensure they are as safe as possible”.

“Today, we honour the memory” of the peacekeepers who did not return home, and “recommit ourselves to carrying forward their mission for a better future”.

Honouring 119 fallen heroes

Following the wreath laying, the UN chief honoured 119 brave men and women with the Dag Hammarskjold medal.

“Fifty-eight years ago, Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash in the Congo while trying to broker a peace agreement to end the conflict in the country”, said Mr. Guterres, calling the former UN chief “a tireless and fearless champion of peace” who took “robust action when needed”.

Today’s honourees were military and police personnel, international civil servants, national staff and UN Volunteers from 38 countries who served in 12 different UN peace operations around the world.

“Hailing from different backgrounds, our fallen heroes were united in their efforts to help the UN attain its most important objective – to save further generations from the scourge of war”, said Mr. Guterres. “The medal we posthumously honour them with, bears the name of Secretary-General Hammarskjöld”.

It is also inscribed with the fallen hero’s name, “forever linking them in our hearts and in our memories”, said the UN chief.

Mr. Guterres quoted Secretary-General Hammarskjöld in saying: “The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.”

“Today, as we honour our fallen colleagues with the Dag Hammarskjöld medal, let us also honour them by living up to his call to never abandon the pursuit of peace”, he stressed.

“I offer my highest tribute to those we remember here today, and my sincerest condolences to their loved ones left behind”, he concluded, asking for a moment of silence.

A ‘true’ hero lost

In a special event as part of the commemorations, the UN chief paid tribute to the late Private Chancy Chitete of Malawi, who was hit by enemy fire while protecting and administering lifesaving first aid to his wounded Tanzanian comrade, Corporal Omary.

Private Chitete became only the second winner of the UN’s highest peacekeeping award, the “Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage” which was established in 2014 for uniformed and civilian personnel who meet the criteria, and named after the late UN peacekeeper Captain Diagne – the first posthumous recipient of the award – who saved hundreds of lives in Rwanda in 1994, before being killed.

“The world does not have many true heroes”, said the UN chief, but Private Chitete, who was serving with the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), was “indeed one of them”.

In November last year, while conducting an operation to stop armed attacks which were disrupting the Ebola response in local towns, peacekeepers came under heavy fire. As bullets were flying, Private Chitete dragged Corporal Omary back to an area “of greater safety”, Mr. Guterres recounted. “Both were evacuated for medical treatment. Corporal Omary survived.  Private Chitete did not”.

“Private Chitete’s selfless heroism and sacrifice helped the peacekeepers achieve their objective and dislodge the militia from its stronghold and that was vital for the Ebola response to go on”, he commended. “He personally made a difference. A profound one”.

The ceremony marked the first time the award has been conferred since its initial presentation to the family of Captain Diagne in 2016, said the Secretary-General, adding: “We could not have found a more deserving recipient”.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Syria’s groundbreaking constitutional talks: ‘a clear success of mediation’ says Guterres in Turkey

10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, UN food relief agency calls for ‘unhindered access’ to frontline regions

“911, What’s your emergency?”

Nearly a third of the globe is now on Facebook – chart of the day

Climate change is forcing 20 million people a year from their homes, Oxfam says

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

Alcohol abuse kills three million people a year, most of them men – WHO report

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

This is why mental health should be a political priority

Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption of EU4Health programme

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

Thomas Cook bankruptcy: Better consumer and employee protection needed

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Greener tourism: Greater collaboration needed to tackle rising emissions

How digital entrepreneurs will help shape the world after the COVID-19 pandemic

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Working fewer hours makes you more efficient. Here’s the proof

COVID-19: A coordinated EU health strategy needed, say MEPs

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

EU leaders agree to delay Brexit until 31 October

Yemen war ‘a test of our humanity’, and we’re ‘badly failing’ warns UN Children’s Fund chief

German Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

EU, Latin America and the Caribbean: Partnering for prosperity, democracy, resilience and global governance

Collective action to enable sustainable growth will be critical to end tropical deforestation

Adoption of new rules to better protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes

Arrest of three Libyans wanted for grave crimes ‘would send strong and necessary message’ to victims, urges top Prosecutor

State aid: Commission approves around €36 million Romanian rescue aid to state-owned flag carrier TAROM

COVID-19: from the chaos of the pandemic to the difficulties in vaccination

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Haiti cholera outbreak ‘stopped in its tracks’

The UK option: An overarching alternative for the whole Brexit options

Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

Here’s how to achieve growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Commission welcomes political agreement on strategy for 2021-2027

The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

The challenge of palliative care in universal health coverage

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Facts, not fear, will stop COVID-19 – so how should we talk about it?

Concorde is a reminder that the only way for innovation is up

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

Implementation of tax transparency initiative delivering concrete and impressive results

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

EU guidance on the handling of visa applications from residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions

MEPs to prioritise environment and climate action in next long-term budget

GDP growth slows in most G20 economies in third quarter of 2019

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

UN chief seeking ‘renewed commitment’ to global rules and values, as world leaders head to New York

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

A reality check on inclusive innovation

Austerity lovers to put a break on Renzi’s growth vision for Europe? the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

4 key trends on how COVID has impacted women in business

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s