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 Milestone

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

Combatting antisemitism requires ‘solidarity in the face of hatred’, says UN chief

Council’s position on Visa Directive a step back for young people’s mobility

UN health agency to gauge global threat, as China confirms coronavirus transmission between humans

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

“The Belt and Road Initiative should be mutually beneficial for EU and China and every participating country”, Vice-President Papadimoulis of the European Parliament underscores from European Business Summit 2018

We finally have a life-saving vaccine for Ebola

Jellyfish are taking over the world – and climate change could be to blame

A silver bullet won’t solve a green problem

Search Engine neutrality in Europe in danger: Are 160.000 Google filtering requests good enough?

You can live up to 10 years longer by doing these 5 things

Your recycling actually gets recycled, right? Not always, says this report

African cities will double in population by 2050. Here are 4 ways to make sure they thrive

Boosting the EU’s green recovery: Commission invests €1 billion in innovative clean technology projects

Prevent future crises and empower youth – now!

Women Empowering inside Medical Schools

Resettlement needs set to rise to 1.4 million people in 2019, UN refugee agency reports

Why home is the least safe place to be a woman

The art of care goes beyond borders: one has to understand the individual as a whole

South Africa’s economy in 5 charts

Syria: A bloody tracer of Trump – Putin rapprochement

Guterres censures terrorist attacks in Nigeria, pledges UN ‘solidarity’

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

How cities are failing to be inclusive – and what they can do about it

The number of internally displaced people is at a record high. Here’s why

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem. Here’s what to do about it

Paradise islands of Pacific increasingly vulnerable to climate change, as UN boosts resilience

Learning from our past mistakes: the mental health burden of two pandemics

This is Amsterdam’s ambitious plan to turn its transport electric

What slums can teach us about building the cities of the future

EU-Vietnam: Council adopts decisions to sign trade and investment agreements

EU report: Implementation of reforms continues to bring EU and Ukraine closer together

Rule of Law mechanism applies without further delay as of 1 January, MEPs stress

Talent is worldwide. Opportunity is not. How can we redistribute it?

‘Democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people’ must be met urges Guterres, following military removal of al-Bashir from power

In Bahrain, Global Forum for Entrepreneurs and Investment examines empowerment of women, youth through innovation

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

Digital Single Market: Survey shows Europeans are well aware of rules against unjustified geo-blocking

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

Should trade continue to be global after the pandemic?

OECD employment rate increases to 68.2% in the first quarter of 2018

5 ways urban transport could step up a gear for women

6 ways to drive funding to transform the fashion industry

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

Will the outcome of the UK referendum “calm” the financial markets?

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

Health conditions for citizens of Yemen’s key port city ‘remain critical’ says UN agency

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping

The Great Reset requires FinTechs – and FinTechs require a common approach to cybersecurity

South Eurozone countries threatened by rising borrowing cost and expensive euro

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

‘I don’t like to give up’: veteran UN envoy reveals how two decades of quiet diplomacy gave birth to North Macedonia

Three steps we must take to secure the future of our forests

Africa’s Sahel must be a top priority for UN peacebuilding efforts, says commission

Electronic cigarettes – The alternative we’ve been looking for?

Why do humanitarian crises disproportionately affect women?

Banks, insurance giants are free again to abuse the real economy

Breaking news: Juncker’s Commission mutant trojan horse is on the loose in Strasbourg

EU Budget 2019: no deal before the end of the conciliation period

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